Ashley Force Sonoma preview

ASHLEY EYES TOP ALCOHOL TITLE AT FRAM/AUTOLITE NATIONALS Castrol Dragster is Track Record Holder at Infineon SONOMA, Calif. -- Ashley Force has her own TV show, Driving Force, which airs Monday nights on A&E Network. She has a...

ASHLEY EYES TOP ALCOHOL TITLE AT FRAM/AUTOLITE NATIONALS

Castrol Dragster is Track Record Holder at Infineon

SONOMA, Calif. -- Ashley Force has her own TV show, Driving Force, which airs Monday nights on A&E Network. She has a collectible doll branded by Mattel. She is featured in national print ads for Oakley sunglasses and in regional television commercials for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Nevertheless, like her father, drag racing icon John Force, the 23-year-old is most content when she is in the cockpit of her race car as she will be this weekend when the NHRA POWERade tour moves to Infineon Raceway at Sears Point for the 19th annual FRAM/Autolite Nationals.

Already licensed to drive the 330 mile-an-hour Funny Cars in which her dad has won a record 120 NHRA tour events, she'll slow down this week to 275 mph in her bid to win the Top Alcohol Dragster title in a car owned by Jerry Darien and Ken Meadows and sponsored by the company whose logo has adorned her father's cars the last 21 years: Castrol motor oil.

"After all the filming (for Driving Force), the media tours, sponsor appearances, interviews and everything else, it was great to get back in my helmet and back in my race car last week (at Seattle, Wash.) and get back to what I know and what I'm at least pretty good at doing, which is racing.

"Even though we lost in the semifinals, it was a great weekend for me because I got back into a driving rhythm and got my reaction times back to where they need to be. Hopefully, that will pay off for us this week."

A two-time Top Alcohol Dragster winner this season (Gainesville, Fla., and Atlanta, Ga.), Ashley spent most of June and July filming away from the track for the A&E series which focuses on her relationship with her famous father and her not-yet-famous younger sisters, Brittany, 20, and Courtney, 18.

The Infineon track record-holder at the aforementioned 275 mph, Ashley is hoping to notch her first home state victory since she won the season-ending 2004 Auto Club Finals at Pomona, sharing the podium with her dad as the first father-and-daughter to win the same NHRA event.

A five-time tour winner since moving up to Top Alcohol in 2004, Ashley is being groomed to eventually join her father in the Funny Car category.

     "It never was about me taking my dad's seat," she said. "I don't want to replace him,
I want to race him.  I think that would be so awesome.

"Knowing how he is, I'm going to mess with him at the starting line. He'll be so concerned about his little girl and whether she's okay that I'll already be gone by the time he figures it out," Ashley said. "At least that's the way it is in my dreams."

A graduate of California State University-Fullerton, where she majored in communications, Ashley always knew she wanted to pursue a career in drag racing. She just didn't know what form it would take.

She took auto shop and welding courses while she was attending Esperanza High School in Yorba Linda, Calif., and briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a mechanic on one of her dad's race cars.

However, when she attended Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School, a 16th birthday present from her proud poppa, she knew that her future lay in driving.

-jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Ashley Force , Frank Hawley