Phoenix: John Force Racing Sunday report

FORCE REACHES 204TH FINAL AT NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS -Racing Action Postponed Until Monday- PHOENIX --- 14-time Funny Car champion John Force is on the verge of doing something he has only done once before in his illustrious career. By racing to...

FORCE REACHES 204TH FINAL AT NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS
-Racing Action Postponed Until Monday-

PHOENIX --- 14-time Funny Car champion John Force is on the verge of doing something he has only done once before in his illustrious career. By racing to his 204th career final at the 26th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals the No. 1 qualifier has put himself in position to start the 2010 season 2-0 a feat he has not repeated since 1997. Force won the 50th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona last weekend.

"Well it'd be really nice to win it. I don't especially like beating a team car, Robert Hight in the Auto Club Ford Mustang. His car never moved on the starting line, must have been a malfunction, because Jimmy Prock has got that car flying. But Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly and Mike Neff they got my car flying, that 4.04 earlier was pretty impressive and then the 4.08. I'm a nighttime match racer, and Firebird, I grew up on these streets here, at Firebird Raceway, at this drag strip," said Force.

Racing action was postponed immediately after the Top Fuel and Funny Car semifinals after conditions became too cool to run race cars safely. Racing will resume tomorrow at Firebird International Raceway outside of Phoenix at 10 a.m.

The winningest driver in NHRA history defeated two world champions (Cruz Pedregon and Robert Hight) as well as veteran Jim Head to set up his showdown with Don Schumacher's Jack Beckman. Force's Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang was the most dominant Funny Car of the day thanks to masterful tune-ups by crew chiefs Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly and Mike Neff.

Force opened the racing day after a lengthy delay for rain and a serious crash in the final pair of Top Fuel dragsters with a win over two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon, 4.063 (quickest of session) to 4.364 seconds. It was the 80th race between these two drivers with Force extending his round win record to 56-24.

The accident involved Top Fuel dragster of Antron Brown during which an unidentified female spectator suffered fatal injuries when she apparently was struck by a tire and wheel assembly that broke away from the chassis and bounced into and over the grandstands.

From NHRA's official release, "a woman who was struck by a tire earlier today .... was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital. The tire became detached from Brown's dragster following an incident during the first round of eliminations."

In round two Force dispatched Jim Head 4.142 to 4.170. In a semi-final round match-up pitting the two most recent JFR world champions Force ruled the night as his Mustang covered the cool 1000 ft racing surface in 4.080 second as Hight smoked the tires of his Auto Club Mustang.

-source: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Antron Brown , John Force , Cruz Pedregon , Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight , Austin Coil , Mike Neff