Photo: Juncos Racing

MRTI: Juncos signs Megennis for Pro Mazda effort

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On the heels of signing Rinus Veekay to a full season effort, Juncos Racing announced earlier today that Robert Megennis, a fellow standout in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, will be joining the team in a second entry for the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season.

Megennis contested the 2017 USF2000 campaign with Team Pelfrey and enjoyed a successful year in which he took his first career win at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. He then entered the Pro Mazda rounds at the season finale weekend at Watkins Glen International with Team Pelfrey, but a crash in Race 1 relegated him to a 12th-place finish and kept him from starting Race 2.

Team owner Ricardo Juncos emphasized Megennis’ performance at October’s Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test as a deciding factor in the team’s decision to sign him.

“After what Rob showed us at the Chris Griffis Test this past October, I am thrilled to add him to our Pro Mazda driver line-up. This test really tests a driver since everyone is watching, unlike most other tests when you are there without the pressure of others. Rob ran into some electrical issues the first day of the test, but that did not stop him from putting up the fastest time in the last session and he came back the next day and did it again. After seeing how he performed under this type of pressure I am very confident he will have a great year in the Pro Mazda series,” Juncos said of Megennis’ outing with them.

Megennis expressed both excitement and optimism about joining the Juncos outfit.

“I’m very excited to be joining Juncos Racing for the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship,” said the 17-year-old Megennis. “We had a great Chris Griffis test, where we led sessions on both days. I have a lot of confidence in Juncos’ ability to not only give me the fastest car on the grid but also to help me become a better all around driver. The team has proven itself in every series it’s contested, and I’m confident that we will perform with the new PM-18.”

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BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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