Baytown: Hillary Will preview

While racing with heavy hearts, the KB Racing LLC team looks for breakthrough race at Houston BAYTOWN, Texas (March 28, 2007) - The KB Racing Top Fuel team enters this weekend with mixed emotions, but both driver, Hillary Will, and crew chief,...

While racing with heavy hearts, the KB Racing LLC team looks for breakthrough race at Houston

BAYTOWN, Texas (March 28, 2007) - The KB Racing Top Fuel team enters this weekend with mixed emotions, but both driver, Hillary Will, and crew chief, Jim Oberhofer (Jim O to most) feels the team has progressed enough this season that the NHRA 20th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals could be the event that propels the KB Racing LLC-owned, Kalitta Motorsports-managed dragster to the winner's circle this weekend.

"Our KB Racing team is focused on our breakthrough win this weekend," Will said. "I think we showed a lot of progress at our last race in Gainesville. The beginning of the season has given us all kinds of interesting challenges so our first round victory on Sunday was much needed and very rewarding for our team. All the guys have remained determined and hard working through everything. I was glad to see them smiling after our first round win and I hope they will be doing a lot it of this coming Sunday."

Jim O added, "We have struggled a little in the engine department since the start, so I was pleased with the way the motor responded at Gainesville. The numbers looked good. I think we have turned the corner and look forward to good things at Houston."

While the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will continue at Houston Raceway Park, in Baytown, Texas, near Houston, all of the NHRA drag racing family does so with heavy hearts after the loss of one of their own -- Eric Medlen.

"It is hard to find anything to smile about right now with the loss of our friend, Funny Car driver Eric Medlen," said Will, as she remembered the rising "superstar" in fuel Funny Car, whose life ended way too soon as the result of injuries suffered in a tragic testing accident at Gainesville Raceway following the ACDelco Nationals. "This is a really difficult time right now for everyone. I think I speak for everyone at KB Racing and Kalitta Motorsports when I say that we can't imagine racing without Eric. Although he isn't physically there, Eric will always be in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends, and everyone at John Force Racing.

"My initial thought about Houston was that we should postpone the race. However, I know that Eric would have wanted us to continue on. I think it will be helpful to be with the rest of the racing community so we can all be together during our time of loss. We will all go out and race for Eric."

In Hillary Will's blog on NHRA.com for March 26, Jim Oberhofer took the opportunity to also share many thoughts about Eric, especially the special bond between Eric and his biggest fan, 11-year-old Ashley Oberhofer, Jim O's daughter. He concluded his segment of the blog by saying the following:

"Drag Racing is a tough business in many ways but it is toughest when something like this happens. I know that after watching Hillary's accident during testing in Las Vegas I was devastated to say the least. One of the most amazing things I saw afterwards was Hillary standing there saying she was okay. I know that accident took its toll on (team owner) Ken Black, myself and our team because Hillary is like family to us and we don't ever want to see anything happen to her. Hillary reminded us afterwards that this is what she wants to do. Eric would tell us the same thing.

"Right now our thoughts and prayers are with Eric, his father John and the rest of the Medlen family along with everyone at John Force Racing. I can only imagine how tough the last week has been for them and how the upcoming months will be. I am going to miss a lot about Eric, his goofy text messages, his goofy phone calls, how he would call me "Pop" and I would call him "Son" but most of all I am just going to miss him because of the good person he was. Thanks for being my friend Eric and thanks for making Ashley feel special when ever you talked to her. Rest in peace, Eric."

-credit: kb racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Jim Oberhofer , Eric Medlen , Hillary Will , Ken Black