MEDLEN WINS RICHMOND; FORCE EXTENDS POWERADE POINTS LEAD Eric Medlen became the second Team Castrol driver in three races to win wire-to-wire, negotiating a tricky racing surface at Virginia Motorsports Park to drive the Castrol SYNTEC Ford ...
MEDLEN WINS RICHMOND; FORCE EXTENDS POWERADE POINTS LEAD
Eric Medlen became the second Team Castrol driver in three races to win wire-to-wire, negotiating a tricky racing surface at Virginia Motorsports Park to drive the Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang past the Chevrolet of Cruz Pedregon in the final round of the inaugural Torco Race Fuels Nationals.
The No. 1 qualifier, Medlen posted the quickest quarter mile time in each of the last three rounds to win for the second time in the last seven races and move past Tony Pedregon into fourth place in POWERade points.
Medlen's win was the fourth for a Team Castrol Funny Car driver in the last five NHRA tour events. The 33-year-old former crewman took out Tim Wilkerson in round one, rookie Jack Beckman in round two and two-time former NHRA Top Fuel Champion Scott Kalitta in the semifinals.
Ironically, it technically was the third straight win for Medlen at VMP where he celebrated in the winners' circle in 1999 and 2000 as a member of John Force's Castrol GTX crew. The NHRA hadn't contested an event at the Virginia track since 2000.
"It was a dream come true to work on the race car and to win here with John as a crewman," Medlen said, "but this is even better. To win with these guys after the problems we've had this season is sweet. "We knew that Cruz would be tough, but really, you can't worry about who's in the other lane. All you can do is go up there and race your own race and race your heart out; mash on the gas and hope you get the win light. If you do, awesome. If not, well, you get to try again next week."
While Medlen was winning for the sixth time in his career for Castrol SYNTEC, Force used a semifinal finish to extend his lead over Ron Capps in an ongoing bid for his 14th individual championship.
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TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, 57, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.765 seconds, 315.78 mph.
Race results: Beat Gary Densham, Mike Ashley; lost to Cruz Pedregon.
Notable: Qualified for his 389th consecutive tour event, an NHRA record.
Quotable: "It ain't too bad; a lot better since Eric won. I've got some blisters and stuff, but I've had that before. It was really too bad because I had (Cruz Pedregon) covered. My ol' heap was truckin.'" -- JOHN FORCE, on burns suffered in an engine fire that took him out in the semifinals.
ERIC MEDLEN, 33, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.728 seconds, 311.49 mph.
Race results: Beat Tim Wilkerson, Jack Beckman, Scott Kalitta and Cruz Pedregon.
Notable: Set track record in qualifying No. 1 for the third time this season en route to the sixth victory of his brief career.
Quotable: ''We're very lucky to have Castrol GTX on John's car and Castrol SYNTEC with me. They're like our family. When we win, they win with us and when we lose, they're still there to support us." ERIC MEDLEN.
ROBERT HIGHT, 37, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.751 seconds, 311.05 mph.
Race results: Beat Phil Burkart Jr.; lost to Cruz Pedregon.
Notable: Moved to within eight points of second place Ron Capps.
Quotable: "It was pretty disappointing but we'll show up in Las Vegas and try to get back on track. (The points race) isn't over yet. We've still got a real fast race car." -- ROBERT HIGHT.
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Oct. 17-19 ACDelco Nationals Las Vegas, Nev.
Nov. 9-12 Auto Club of Southern California Finals Pomona, Calif.