Las Vegas II: All four Force cars to compete

ALL FOUR FORCE RACING FORDS TO COMPETE IN ACDELCO NATIONALS Hight Will Have Help in Bid for NHRA POWERade Funny Car Championship LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- After being driven Friday from his Yorba Linda, Calif., home to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor ...

ALL FOUR FORCE RACING FORDS TO COMPETE IN ACDELCO NATIONALS
Hight Will Have Help in Bid for NHRA POWERade Funny Car Championship

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- After being driven Friday from his Yorba Linda, Calif., home to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to meet, face-to-face, with his drivers and crew chiefs, injured drag racing champion John Force ended speculation about his team's participation in this week's seventh annual ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals by certifying as race-ready all four of his Ford Mustang Funny Cars.

Before Friday's meeting, only title contender Robert Hight's Automobile Club of Southern California Mustang had received an okay to compete in the season's next-to-last race. The other three Fords were held back while new chassis data was analyzed by crew chiefs Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly, John Medlen, Jimmy Prock and Dean Antonelli.

Hight's car was excepted because it was built by a different chassis manufacturer using a different process. The cars driven by Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Ashley Force, newly-licensed rookie Mike Neff and veteran Phil Burkart Jr., were released to compete after Force received certain re-assurances from his brain trust.

Hight, the only Ford driver qualified for the NHRA's Countdown to One, drove a chassis built originally by Steve Plueger during last week's open test on the same Las Vegas track. Originally built for Force, the car was sold to a third party but never raced in competition.

Nevertheless, it required extensive modification to incorporate safety measures developed in the aftermath of Eric Medlen's fatal crash during testing at Gainesville, Fla., in March and Force's Sept. 23 crash at the Texas Motorplex in Dallas, Texas.

Force, who suffered extensive injuries to his feet, legs and hands when the chassis beneath his Castrol-backed Ford came apart at 320 miles per hour, still is confined to wheelchair because of his foot injuries and next week will undergo additional surgery on broken bones in his right foot.

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Ashley Force , Phil Burkart , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight , Austin Coil , John Medlen