ASHLEY OUSTED IN SEMIFINALS FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK AT MOTORPLEX Starting Line Advantage Can't Overcome National Champion Steve Torrence ENNIS, Texas -- Ashley Force did all she could Sunday to stop the hottest driver in the Lucas Sportsman...
ASHLEY OUSTED IN SEMIFINALS FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK AT MOTORPLEX
Starting Line Advantage Can't Overcome National Champion Steve Torrence
ENNIS, Texas -- Ashley Force did all she could Sunday to stop the hottest driver in the Lucas Sportsman Series, but her .011 of a second reaction time couldn't hold off Steve Torrence in the semifinals of a South Central Division points race at the Texas Motorplex.
Ms. Force, 22-year-old daughter of 13-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force, had .083 of a second in the bank at the start before her Castrol/Hot Wheels dragster began dropping cylinders and slowed from a qualifying best of 5.407 seconds to 5.790 against Torrence, the newly-crowned division and national champion.
The No. 5 qualifier, Ashley took out No. 4 James Thompson of Vernon, Texas in the first round to set up her second semifinal meeting with Torrence in two weekends at the Motorplex. Torrence, from Kilgore, Texas, beat Ashley on the same track in the semifinals of last week's O'Reilly Auto Parts Fall Nationals presented by Castrol SYNTEC.
Despite her early elimination, Ashley locked up second place in the South Central Division point standings, distancing herself from 68-year-old Hall of Fame driver Gene Snow, whose car was destroyed in a testing accident last Monday at the Motorplex.
"I felt really bad for him," Ashley said of Snow, a former NHRA national event winner in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. "We were separated by just two points (in the race for second place in the South Central Division standings) and I know he wanted to decide it on the track. I did, too. The good thing is that he wasn't hurt."
Trying to earn a second straight national Top 10 finish in the NHRA's Top Alcohol division, Ashley will have one more chance to improve her standing when she competes in a Lucas points race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 30.
Then, although she will be ineligible for points, she will try to repeat as Top Alcohol Dragster champion at the Nov. 6 Automobile Club of Southern California Finals, concluding race inan NHRA POWERade Series in which her father is trying to win the Funny Car championship for the 14th time.
The elder Force, along with Next Generation teammates Eric Medlen and Robert Hight, return to competition in this week's fifth annual ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals