Photo: IndyCar

Several teams wrap up testing at Sonoma before this weekend’s two-day open test in Phoenix

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Although the Verizon IndyCar Series fields an open test this weekend at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, a number of teams headed to Sonoma Raceway early in the week for road course testing at the 2.52-mile California layout.

Teams that took part in the Sonoma test included Team Penske, Dale Coyne Racing, A.J. Foyt Racing, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Ed Carpenter Racing and Harding Racing.

A number of teams also debuted new paint schemes to be featured during the 2018 season. First, defending series champion Josef Newgarden debuted Hitachi colors on his No. 1 Team Penske Chevrolet. The Hitachi branding moves over from Helio Castroneves’ former No. 3 entry.

Spencer Pigot also debuted a new look on his No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, featuring a light green paint scheme. Teammate Jordan King debuted a new black livery for the No. 20 entry.

Dale Coyne Racing also sported a new livery and sponsor on Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 18 Honda. A partnership with former KVSH Racing owners Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan sees them join the team in an ownership capacity on the No. 18 entry, with SealMaster on board as a primary sponsor.

All IndyCar teams will now head to ISM Raceway in Phoenix for this weekend’s open test.

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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.