Brainerd: John Force Racing final summary

Medlen Claims First Career Victory Eric Medlen upset Gary Scelzi in the final round of the 23rd annual Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, earning his first victory at the wheel of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang and, in ...

Medlen Claims First Career Victory

Eric Medlen upset Gary Scelzi in the final round of the 23rd annual Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, earning his first victory at the wheel of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang and, in the process, helping boss and teammate John Force extend his points lead in the race for the 2004 NHRA POWERade Funny Car championship.

Medlen, a former high school rodeo champion who once considered a pro rodeo career, posted his best time of the day, 4.999 seconds, in the final while Scelzi's Dodge was losing traction and falling back.

Force, who lost to Scelzi in the semifinals, increased his lead to 164 points with just seven races remaining. Scelzi moved up to second place ahead of Whit Bazemore and Del Worsham and, while he didn't gain any positions, Medlen moved to within 53 points of second place.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, 55, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car

Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.859 seconds, 319.45 mph.

Race results: Beat Jeff Arend, Tony Pedregon; lost to Gary Scelzi.

Notable: Extended his lead to 164 points in an ongoing bid for an unprecedented 13th NHRA Funny Car Championship; extended qualifying streak to 339 consecutive races dating back to October, 1987.

Quotable: "I really proud of Eric. I always knew he could do the job and now I think he knows it, too. We've still got some work to do to win this championship, but it feel a lot better today. " - JOHN FORCE.

ERIC MEDLEN, 30, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang

Qualifying position and performance: 4th at 4.865 second, 315.93 mph.

Race results: Beat Jim Head, Tommy Johnson Jr., Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi.

Notable: Earned his first career victory and moved to with 53 points (three rounds) of second place.

Quotable: "When I saw my dad (crew chief John Medlen), I thought, 'boy, here come the tears,' because growing up, all I ever wanted to do was to be part of whatever he was doing and now to have this big a part of what he's doing, man, that's unbelievable." - ERIC MEDLEN.

GARY DENSHAM, 57, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang Funny Car

Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.813 seconds, 320.43 mph.

Race results: Lost to Cruz Pedregon.

Notable: Had his streak of consecutive final round appearances at Brainerd ended at two but set the track speed record at 320.43 mph.

Quotable: "Well, it's not how we would have scripted it, that's for sure, but the big deal is that one of these Castrol Fords got to the winners circle. Whenever that happens, it's a good day." - GARY DENSHAM.

-jfr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Cruz Pedregon , Jeff Arend , Eric Medlen , John Medlen , Tommy Johnson Jr.