WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET — Burton on replacing Stewart, Logano’s Bristol win, Atlanta look ahead

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On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, we take a final look back at last Saturday night’s race at Bristol and begin our in-depth look ahead to this Sunday night’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Rick Allen and Frank Stoddard anchor things starting at 5 pm ET from our Charlotte studioes, while Jeff Burton will join us from “Burton’s Garage.”

Among the highlights for today’s show:

* For the second straight race, Jeff Burton replaced Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Sprint Cup car last Saturday at Bristol. Jeff gives us his take on how the race went and how difficult it can be to get behind the wheel of someone else’s car.

* Natalie Sather visits the Team Penske shop today in Mooresville, N.C., to talk with the Bristol winner Joey Logano about the win, as well as the team’s goals for the final two regular season races and the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup.

* We start previewing Sunday’s race at Atlanta with track president and general manager Ed Clark, who tells us what to expect this weekend at the ultra-fast 1.5-mile track, as well as AMS’s new spring race date that begins in 2015.

* Parker Kligerman uses the brand new NBC iRacing Simulator to give us a unique perspective on racing at AMS.

* Scan All 43 takes us inside the Bristol night race for an all-access eavesdrop in on team radio communications between drivers, crew chiefs and spotters.

* The Top-5 finishes in Atlanta Motor Speedway history.

If you’re not near a TV, you can CLICK HERE to stream NASCAR AMERICA online and on your mobile device through NBC Sports Live Extra.

If you plan to stream, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified. Once you plug those pieces of information in, you’ll have access to the stream.


And remember, NASCAR America is LIVE tonight on NBCSN at 6:30 pm ET.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski