FORCE CAPS UNPRECEDENTED 14TH FUNNY CAR TITLE WITH EVENT WIN John Force clinched his record-setting 14th POWERade Funny Car championship with a second round victory over nemesis Ron Capps in front of a capacity crowd at his home track, Auto...
FORCE CAPS UNPRECEDENTED 14TH FUNNY CAR TITLE WITH EVENT WIN
John Force clinched his record-setting 14th POWERade Funny Car championship with a second round victory over nemesis Ron Capps in front of a capacity crowd at his home track, Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., and then won two more rounds to earn his third win of the season to cap an eventful day for Team Castrol.
"You can win a lot of championships and you give credit to your team -- Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly, the kids Jimmy Prock, John Medlen -- we all do it as a team," Force said. "The fans are what give you heart. NHRA gives us a great playing field (and) POWERade puts up those checks but, for us, in our hearts, it's about beating the competition. It's about hearing the cheers of the crowd. That is what it is all about."
Force took the final with a hole shot victory (.058 to a .103 reaction time) over Beckman who made the quickest run in NHRA Funny Car history in a losing effort. Force's winning ET of 4.697 seconds combined with his better reaction time bested Beckman's record run of 4.662 seconds.
Force who qualified in the No. 3 spot behind teammate Robert Hight, drove his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang past Jim Head, Ron Capps, Hight, and Beckman. Hight moved his Team Castrol/Auto Club Ford Mustang into second place in the POWERade Funny Car point standings with his second round victory over Tommy Johnson Jr.
Castrol SYNTEC driver Eric Medlen finished his third Funny Car campaign in 4th place.
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TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, 57, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.677 seconds, 328.22 mph.
Race results: Beat Jim Head, Ron Capps, Robert Hight, Jack Beckman
Notable: Force has won two or more national events in each of the last 17 campaigns. He's won the Auto Club Finals seven times.
Quotable: "To win here at home is always great. (Crew chief) Austin Coil, who's been with me for all the wins, it's him and Bernie Fedderly and the crew and the guys on B Team and C Team that deserve all the credit. They give their lives to this deal and this was for them. I hate it for Robert and for Ron Capps, two kids who raced their hearts out, but they'll have some more chances. I'm 57 years old and I'm not gonna win forever."
ERIC MEDLEN, 33, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 4th at 4.723 seconds, 323.58 mph.
Race results: Lost to Phil Burkhart Jr.
Notable: Secured third consecutive Top 5 finish in Funny Car points (2006, 4th; 2005, 4th, 2004, 5th).
Quotable: "Our car smoked the tires for three straight runs in the right lane. I'm talking about the same exact spot on the track. In the morning today the left lane which was the one that we wanted didn't look too good. The dragsters and everybody were running pretty good over there in the right lane today so we thought we had solved our previous problems so we slowed it down a little bit more to make sure it would go down there but in the long run it did the same thing. We aren't discouraged. We had a great season and our team won the championship."
ROBERT HIGHT, 37, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.672 seconds, 328.94 mph.
Race results: Beat Bob Gilbertson, Tommy Johnson Jr.. Lost to John Force.
Notable: Moved from 3rd to 2nd in NHRA POWERade point standings.
Quotable: "That right lane is pretty tricky. I am pretty sure I was good until half track. After that I couldn't see a thing. I didn't do anything I just tried to stay where I thought I'd be fine. Then I saw the cones coming up so I knew I needed to lift I drifted and I jerked the wheel over and I actually thought I missed it but I clipped it. I love this place. It is cool because it's my home and we have all our sponsors here. It's the end of the year and I'm glad John got the championship."
ASHLEY FORCE, 23, Castrol Top Alcohol Dragster
Qualifying position and performance: 9th at 5.382 seconds, 265.22 mph.
Race results: Lost to Mark Niver.
Notable: Finished the season in fourth place nationally.