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MEDLEN PREFERS HORSEPOWER, BUT ALSO APPRECIATES THE BULL Castrol SYNTEC Driver Looks for Win in Toyo Nationals READING, Pa. The professional bull riders competing is this weekend's Built Ford Tough Series event at the Soverign Center ...

MEDLEN PREFERS HORSEPOWER, BUT ALSO APPRECIATES THE BULL
Castrol SYNTEC Driver Looks for Win in Toyo Nationals

READING, Pa. The professional bull riders competing is this weekend's Built Ford Tough Series event at the Soverign Center have nothing on Eric Medlen.

In fact, for sheer power and unpredictability, Medlen will put his ride up against anything the PBR has to offer.

Medlen, trying to put his season back on track after two consecutive first round losses, will be will strapping himself into the 8,000 horsepower Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Friday and Saturday at about the same time the world's top cowboys are strapping themselves onto 1,300-1,800 pounds of Brahma bull.

Nevertheless, Medlen, one of the Funny Car contenders in this week's anticipated completition of the 22nd annual NHRA Toyo Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, isn't advocating a swap.

Although he once anticipated a career in pro rodeo, bulls never were his thing.

So, how can a guy who's been on fire at 300 miles an hour and hit the sand pit at the end of the drag strip at more than 50 mph, be frightened by a bovine?

"It's a matter of preference, I guess," Medlen said. "I have no desire to ride a bull and my bull riding friends tell me they don't want any part of this Funny Car."

The one thing they do have in common, though, is the desire and the fortitude to do whatever it takes to succeed in their chosen occupations. For bull riders, the goal is perfection for eight seconds. For Medlen, it's closer to 4.7 seconds, the time it takes a top-of-the-line Funny Car to accelerate from zero to 330 mph.

Both rides can be dangerous, but Medlen's is made the more so because of the possibility of fire resulting from the kind of catastrophic engine explosion that has plagued the 33-year-old pro all season long.

"If the thing catches on fire, you don't want to have an oildown," Medlen has said, "but then again, it is race day and the only way to win is to keep your foot on the gas. There's a lot of things going through your mind, but the biggest thing is just to win."

Medlen has won this year, claiming the FRAM/Autolite Nationals at Sonoma, Calif., but he's "been thowed" too many times to seriously challenge for the POWERade championship.

"It's frustrating," he said, "but you just try to learn from your mistakes, just like in rodeo. You make a mistake on one of those bulls and you're likely not gonna make the same mistake the next time because it hurts. Same thing over here."

-credit: johnforceracing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Eric Medlen