Ashley Force Joliet preview

Daughter of Funny Car Champ Seeks Third Straight Win JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 1-3) -- Ashley Force one day would like to race against her famous father, 12-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force. In the meantime, the former high school ...

Daughter of Funny Car Champ Seeks Third Straight Win

JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 1-3) -- Ashley Force one day would like to race against her famous father, 12-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force.

In the meantime, the former high school cheerleader is showing off her pedigree in a Top Alcohol division in which she is driving the Mattel Toy Store dragster owned by Jerry Darien and Ken Meadows.

Winner of the two most recent events in the NHRA national series -- the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis and last week's O'Reilly Fall Nationals at Ennis, Texas, the 21-year-old California girl tries to make it three-in-a-row with this week's fourth annual CARQUEST Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

The latest in a long line of drivers molded by Darien and Meadows, winners of 16 NHRA national events with six different drivers including current Top Fuel standouts Brandon Bernstein and Morgan Lucas, Ms. Force should finish in the Top 10 in Lucas Oil Series points this year and could be a title contender in 2005.

Nevertheless, her dream ultimately is to line up alongside her father in one of his Ford Mustang Funny Cars.

     "I'd just like to mess with him on the starting line," she laughed.  "I'm gaining on
him.  Just 111 more wins and we'll be even."

Although she'll stay in the Top Alcohol class for at least one more season, maybe more, Ashley has no illusions about replacing her father at the wheel of the Castrol GTX® Start Up™ Ford in which he currently leads the Funny Car points.

     "Nobody can replace my dad," she said, "but I think it would be a shame if we
didn't race each other.  That'd be awesome."

A 2003 graduate of California State University-Fullerton, Ashley spent two years dividing time between her education and a Super Comp dragster in which she enjoyed only moderate success.

This year, though, her first as a full-time racer, she has been impressive. In addition to her two national event victories and a Lucas Oil Series triumph at Rusk, Texas, she was runner-up in the Summit Southern Nationals at Atlanta, Ga., and she has started six of the 16 races she's run from the No. 1 spot.

Her father, meanwhile, while reveling in her success, is just a wee bit envious.

"I went to Indy 15 years (actually 14) before I won," said the 113-time tour winner. "My kid goes and wins the first time she races there (in Top Alcohol). I keep telling her how hard it is to win and she keeps making it look easy."

While it took 14 tries for Force to win Indy, it took him 117 races to win back-to- back for the first time. Ashley did it by winning in just the 10th and 11th starts of her career.

- www.johnforceracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Ashley Force , Brandon Bernstein , Morgan Lucas