Photo courtesy Michelin

Michelin starts preparing this weekend for big change in IMSA in 2019

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While the Rolex 24 marks the start of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it also begins a countdown for 2019, as well.

Michelin Tires will continue to outfit several GTLM teams in the Rolex 24, including BMW Team RLL, Chevrolet Corvette, Risi Competizione Ferrari, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing and the Porsche GT team.

But Michelin officials will also be studying and taking notes for all three series in the Rolex 24 – GTLM, Prototype and GTD – for a significant change in the company’s racing portfolio for 2019.

One year from now, Michelin will add GTD and Prototype cars to their GTLM program, becoming the official tire of all three IMSA WeatherTech Championship classes. Michelin will also take over from Continental for the rebranded Michelin SportsCar Challenge and the IMSA Prototype (LMP3) Challenge.

Michelin isn’t wasting time getting ready for next season: it will have a number of engineers on hand this weekend in Daytona to begin training and preparation, which they’ll continue to do at all other IMSA races this season.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.