Phoenix: Ashley and John Force Saturday notes

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Veteran John Force continued his amazing comeback from the worst crash of his racing career Saturday by qualifying his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang third in the field for Sunday's 24th annual CSK Nationals at Firebird...

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Veteran John Force continued his amazing comeback from the worst crash of his racing career Saturday by qualifying his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang third in the field for Sunday's 24th annual CSK Nationals at Firebird Raceway.

Force's success counterbalanced daughter Ashley's disappointment at failing to make the 16-car field in her Castrol GTX Mustang. Ashley, who came into the race tied for third place in NHRA POWERade Funny Car points, was victimized by a lack of traction on both of her Saturday qualifying runs.

As a result, the 2007 NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year will be relegated to spectator status for Sunday's eliminations. Her dad, meanwhile, will square off against Scott Kalitta and the DHL Toyota in the first round as a result of a solid 4.808 second qualifying run.

Force, 58, is making just his second start after four months of rehab from injuries suffered in a Sept. 23rd crash at the Texas Motorplex outside Dallas. The 14-time champion has won the CSK Nationals a record eight times.

Force's qualifying success enabled co-crew chief Bernie Fedderly to reach a career milestone. Fedderly, one of only two crew chiefs to have won NHRA series titles in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, will be making his 500th NHRA career start Sunday.

* * * *

THE DRIVERS:

JOHN FORCE, 58, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Saturday qualifying -- No. 3 at 4.808 seconds, 325.06 mph.

First round opponent -- Scott Kalitta (9-0 overall; 5-0 in first rounds).

Notes -- Qualified for the CSK Nationals for the 24th consecutive year.

Quotes --"We only got two runs here so you are playing the odds some. We got in on the first run so we stepped it up in the second session. It was shame that Ashley didn't get in, but she gathered it up really well (after losing traction) and got 'er down the track nice and straight.

Everybody's safe and that's one of my priorities, so I have no complaints."

ASHLEY FORCE, 25, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Saturday qualifying -- DNQ

Notes -- Was victimized by a qualifying session shortened from four runs to two by rain. Her Castrol Ford lost traction on both of its Saturday attempts to make the 16-car lineup. Ironically, Ashley recorded the quickest quarter mile run of her career (4.730 seconds) on the same track just one year ago.

Quotes -- "The first round we had something break (and) of course that's always going to happen when you can't afford it. After that, we smoked the tires. We were all surprised by that especially when dad went right down the track. Sometimes what will work for one car won't work for the other one. We just needed more laps . If we would have had one or two more runs, we probably would have been all right, especially since we tested well here. It just stinks because we went from a high in Pomona (where she reached the semi-finals).

We know we have a car that can go to the semis. We just didn't have the luck here this weekend. We ran out of time and (if you) throw in something weird happening with the car, it just wasn't a very good weekend."

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Scott Kalitta