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Start your engines: What you need to know about the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

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The 56th edition of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona once again promises lots of action and excitement.

The race starts this afternoon and will go 24 hours straight – and unless there is a full-course caution, cars will keep going no matter what, including racing in the rain.

Here’s a quick primer to give you the key details for today’s race:

RACE: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener – the Rolex 24 at Daytona

TIME: Race begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday and concludes 24 hours later at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

WEATHER: The race should be dry until around 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, when the Wunderground.com forecast says precipitation chances will be 25 percent, increasing to 48 percent and chance of scattered thunderstorms at 1 p.m. ET and with a good likelihood the race will finish wet, with rain chances increasing to 63 percent by 2 p.m. ET. The race concludes at 2:30 p.m. ET.

TV BROADCAST SCHEDULE:

SATURDAY

2-5 p.m. ET – FOX (green flag at 2:30 p.m. ET)

5-10 p.m. ET – FS2

10-11 p.m. ET – Fox Sports Go

11 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET – FS1

SUNDAY

12-8 a.m. ET – Fox Sports Go

8-10 a.m. ET – FS2

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET – FS1 (checkered flag at 2:30 p.m. ET)

RADIO:

* IMSA Radio (available online) will broadcast the entire race. Will also be broadcast via SiriusXM (Sirius Channel 138/XM 202/Internet App Channel 972).

TIMING & SCORING:

* Available on IMSA.com

NUMBER OF ENTRIES (50 total):

Prototype (20)

GTLM (9)

GTD (21)

TOP QUALIFIERS

Prototype class:

  1. No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac Dpi-V.R Cadillac Dpi – 1:35.083 — Jordan Taylor, Renger Van Der Zande, Ryan Hunter-Reay
  2. No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura Dpi – 1:36.090 – Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor, Graham Rahal
  3. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi – 1:36.194 – Filipe Albuquerque, Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi

GTLM class:

  1. No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R – 1:42.779 – Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, Mike Rockenfeller
  2. No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford – 1:42.798 – Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller, Sebastien Bourdais
  3. No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR – 1:42.927 – Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber, Gianmaria Bruni

GT Daytona class

  1. No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 – 1:46.049 – Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda, Daniel Serra
  2. No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 – 1:46.502 – Miguel Molina, Ricardo Perez de Lara, Martin Fuentes, Santiago Creel, Matt Griffin
  3. No. 15 Racing Lexus RC F GT3 – 1:46.658 – Jack Hawksworth, David Heinemeier Hansson, Scott Pruett, Dominik Farnbacher

NOTES:

* First Rolex 24 race: 1962

* Most wins (driver): Hurley Haywood (5), Scott Pruett (5)

* Most wins (team): Chip Ganassi Racing (6)

* Most wins (manufacturer): Porsche (18)

* Grand Marshal: Chip Ganassi, who is also seeking his 200th career win as a motorsports team owner across all platforms, including IMSA, WEC, IndyCar and NASCAR

* One of the biggest names taking part in his first Rolex 24 is two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso

* Helio Castroneves makes his debut in IMSA as a full-time driver, moving from his previous career in IndyCar

* Acura Team Penske makes its official debut as a full-time IMSA organization, fielding two cars: No. 6 Prototype – Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud; No. 7 Prototype – Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor, Graham Rahal

* Active Formula 1 Drivers (2):

Fernando Alonso (two-time World Champion, 32 career Grand Prix victories)

Lance Stroll (20 career Grand Prix starts)

* Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Winners (2): Juan Pablo Montoya (2 career victories), A.J. Allmendinger (1 career victory)

* Indianapolis 500 Winners (4): Helio Castroneves (3 victories), Juan Pablo Montoya (2 victories), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1 victory), Scott Dixon (1 victory)

* Verizon IndyCar Series Champions (4): Scott Dixon (4 championships), Juan Pablo Montoya (1 championship), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1 championship), Simon Pagenaud (1 championship)

* The field include 14 drivers who have won at least one IndyCar race, more than 30 drivers who have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and nine drivers who started the 2017 Indianapolis 500.

* Legendary racer Dan Gurney, who passed away on Jan. 14 at the age of 86, will be honored. Cars and drivers throughout the field will have commemorative car and helmet decals, the Fox Sports telecast has been dedicated to Gurney and a Sam Posey written and narrated tribute will close the Fox telecast following the race’s conclusion.

* The No. 30 Lola T70 that Gurney drove to victory in the 1966 Can-Am race at Bridgehampton, New York – the only Ford-powered car to ever win a Can-Am race – will lead the field around on its pre-race parade lap.

* Scott Pruett competes in the last race of his career. He retires after Sunday’s checkered flag. Pruett hopes to win a sixth Rolex 24, which would set a record for most championships by a driver. Pruett and his No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 racing team will start fourth in the GT Daytona (GTD) class.

* In case you’re wondering, yes, Jackie Chan Racing is partly owned by Chinese action movie star Jackie Chan.

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.