Castrol Highlight: John Force extended to 384 the number of consecutive races for which he has qualified a Castrol GTX Funny Car. MEDLEN BEATS PEDREGON TO WIN FRAM/AUTOLITE NATIONALS Eric Medlen drove his Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang past the...
Castrol Highlight: John Force extended to 384 the number of consecutive races for which he has qualified a Castrol GTX Funny Car.
MEDLEN BEATS PEDREGON TO WIN FRAM/AUTOLITE NATIONALS
Eric Medlen drove his Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang past the Chevrolet of Tony Pedregon Sunday to win the 19th annual FRAM/Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway at thrust himself back into contention for the 2006 NHRA POWERade Funny Car Championship.
Medlen, who had been stuck in the semifinals all season long, was flawless, putting up quarter mile times of 4.885, 4.898, 4.922 and 4.854 seconds to earn his first victory of the season; the fifth of his career.
"My dad (crew chief John Medlen) and this crew gave me a great race car today," Medlen said. "I've been telling everybody that we've had a fast car all year but we just haven't been able to put it all together. Well, today we put it together.
With the win, he moved into fourth place in the NHRA POWERade point standings behind Ron Capps, Castrol teammate John Force and Pedregon. Force, the 13-time NHRA Funny Car champion, drove his Castrol GTX Ford to Sunday's quickest time (4.812 seconds) before losing to Medlen in the second round.
Despite the loss, Force cut Capps' advantage to just 70 points with eight races remaining after Capps was beaten in the first round for the second time this year by teammate Whit Bazemore.
The third Team Castrol Funny Car driver, 2005 Rookie of the Year Robert Hight, set an Infineon Raceway track record during qualifying but was upset in round two by rookie Mike Ashley.
Ashley Force, driver of the Castrol A/Fuel Dragster, lost a narrow 5.318-5.363 decision to eventual runner-up Duane Shields in the second round of Top Alcohol Dragster competition and her younger sisters, Brittany and Courtney, also were ousted in the second round in Super Comp.
Quotable: "The door was open again. We made up some ground, but we could have really done some damage. Eric winning made up for it a little bit, though." -- JOHN FORCE.
Quotable: "I hated that we had to race John in the second round, but it happens sometimes. After we beat him, he told me that it was my race to win. It's so great to be a part of this team." -- ERIC MEDLEN.
Quotable: "It seems like we run well in qualifying and we run well in the first round. Where we seem to have problems is in the second round when the conditions change the most. But we'll fix that." -- ROBERT HIGHT.
Quotable: "It was a good weekend because they car really ran well and I was consistent with my leave times. He just had a little better car today." -- ASHLEY FORCE.