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NHRA star Courtney Force to drive pace car in Saturday’s NASCAR Clash at Daytona

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When she climbs behind the wheel, NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force is used to going straight on a racetrack.

But Force will be doing a lot of turning this Saturday night when she serves as honorary pace car driver for NASCAR’s Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway.

The clash is an annual non-points special event that features the top drivers in NASCAR’s premier Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Saturday night’s field will include 2016 pole winners, past Clash champions, past Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016 and last season’s drivers that qualified for the playoffs.

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(Photo: Gary Nastase Photography)

Force, who drives the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, is the daughter of record 16-time Funny Car champion John Force. Courtney is coming off a strong run in last weekend’s NHRA 2017 season-opening race in Pomona, California, reaching the final round.

She’ll go from a 1,000-foot dragstrip to a 2.5-mile tri-oval on Saturday.

“I’m extremely nervous but honored at the same time to be driving that Chevy pace car before the veterans and young up-and-comers take on the track,” Courtney Force said in a media release. “Being a girl that races the NHRA in a straight line for a living at over 330 mph, I hope I can keep the pace in front of the pack and keep turning left.”

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Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett killed in Pennsylvania race crash

Photo: World of Outlaws
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YORK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) — Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett died after a crash Thursday night at BAPS Motor Speedway.

The 49-year-old Hodnett, from Spring Grove, Pa., was the World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year in 1993 and went on to win 20 World of Outlaws races. He won the opening night this year at the Knoxville Nationals.

“Greg represented the true gentleman competitor in the pit area,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said.

A statement was posted on Hodnett’s racing website, saying: “Please keep (wife) Sherry, the entire Hodnett family, and the Heffner racing team in your thoughts and prayers.

“Greg was a professional in every sense of the word, and will be desperately missed!”

Several NASCAR drivers took to Twitter to express their condolences: