Phoenix: John Force Racing final summary

Castrol Fords Out Early at Phoenix Records Don't Pay Off For Castrol Fords Highlights: Gary Densham pushed the Team Castrol/Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang to track records of 4.773 seconds and 325.77 miles per hour, but he...

Castrol Fords Out Early at Phoenix
Records Don't Pay Off For Castrol Fords

Highlights: Gary Densham pushed the Team Castrol/Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang to track records of 4.773 seconds and 325.77 miles per hour, but he couldn't transform that performance into a victory in the 20th annual Checker/Schuck's/Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.

Densham, the No. 1 qualifier, was ousted in the second round when a glitch in the clutch timers slowed him to a pedestrian-line 6.022 seconds against former teammate Tony Pedregon.

Rookie Eric Medlen actually was the most productive of the Team Castrol drivers in ust his second professional race. After qualifying fifth in the Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang, the 30-year-old former high school rodeo champion posted the quickest time during eliminations at 4.822 seconds and reached the semifinals before he also fell to Pedregon.

John Force, the 12-time NHRA Funny Car Champion and a Phoenix winner seven times in 10 years, was upset in round one by Phil Burkart Jr.

Densham remained second in points while Medlen and Force swapped positions, Medlen moving into a fifth-place tie with Jerry Toliver and Whit Bazemore; Force falling from fifth to ninth.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, 54, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.808 seconds, 319.82 mph.
Race results: Lost to Phil Burkart Jr.
Notable: Extended qualifying streak to a record 325 consecutive events.

Quotable: "I almost red-lighted (fouled). I caught it, but then I was late (off the starting line) and Burkart was gone on me. My fault." -- JOHN FORCE.

ERIC MEDLEN, 30, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 5th at 4.836 seconds, 316.08 mph.
Race results: Beat Bob Bode, Tommy Johnson Jr.; lost to Tony Pedregon.
Notable: Won first competitive round and posted the event's quickest competitive time at 4.822 seconds.

Quotable: "I feel like I let the guys down and that's what I hate. I had a good race car but I just made a rookie mistake." -- ERIC MEDLEN

GARY DENSHAM, 57, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.773 seconds, 325.77 mph.
Race results: Beat Tony Bartone; lost to Tony Pedregon.

Quotable: "The clutch wore a little more than we expected and that caused a couple of levers to activate prematurely. Otherwise, it was going to run another 4.80." -- Crew Chief JIMMY PROCK.

NEXT EVENTS: Mac Tools Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla., March 19-21; Summitracing.com Nationals, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2-4; O'Reilly Spring Nationals, Houston, Texas, April 16-18; O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn., April 30-May 2.

-jfr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Gary Densham , Phil Burkart , Bob Bode , Jerry Toliver , Eric Medlen , Tommy Johnson Jr.