Ashley Force out-performing her famous father in early season INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 16-18) -- Who would have thought that four months into her sophomore season, 20-year-old Ashley Force would rank higher in driver points than her father -- ...
Ashley Force out-performing her famous father in early season
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 16-18) -- Who would have thought that four months into her sophomore season, 20-year-old Ashley Force would rank higher in driver points than her father -- 12-time NHRA Funny Car Champion and 106-time tour winner John Force?
Nevertheless, that's the scenario this week as the newest racing Force tries to protect her fifth place national Super Comp standing while her father attempts to climb out of a No. 8 placement in his bid for an unprecedenteed 11th consecutive NHRA Funny Car title.
A senior at California State University-Fullerton, Ashley is driving a Ford-powered Super Comp dragster in a regional Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Indianapolis while her father will be at the controls of his national record-holding Castrol GTX® High Mileage Ford Mustang at the 34th annual K&N Filters SuperNationals and Englishtown, N.J.
Ashley owes her current national standing to a stellar performance in the SummitRacing.com Nationals earlier this year at Las Vegas, an event in which she was one of the last five in a Super Comp field that exceeded 100. It's the furthest she has advanced in an NHRA event since she made her competitive debut little more than a year ago.
"I'm glad someone in the family's doing good," Force joked. "Seriously, I'm really proud of her and (Crew Chief Rob) Slavinski and the entire team. Maybe I can learn something from them."
A Communications Entertainment major carrying a double load this semester, Ashley has run only a limited racing schedule this year, focusing primarily on divisional races. She'll rejoin the national tour with her father at Columbus, Ohio, in June.
The former high school cheerleader hopes to graduate in December, thereby freeing her up to pursue her racing career full time in 2004.
"She promised her mother (Laurie) that she would graduate," Force said. "That was the deal we made and she's stuck to it. I know it's been tough at times. The bad part right now is that she's racing one place and I'm racing another. I hate that. I can't wait until she gets back out here with me (on the NHRA POWERade pro tour)."
Ashley already has demonstrated a sense of humor her father never knew she had.
"Last year, I was signing at the ropes," Force recalled. "I signed, 'John Force, 100 wins,' for a guy. He laughed and pulled a picture out of his bag. Ashley had signed it, 'Ashley Force, Zero wins.'"
On another occasion, after she had reached the round of five for the first time, she called and said, "dad, if I had been in your class (in which a champion is determined in just four rounds), I already would have won this race."
Slavinski, who won eight NHRA national events in Super Gas, Super Comp and Competition Eliminator as one of Force's Castrol-sponsored teammates, took over responsibility for Ashley's development at the end of last season and charter he present course with a liberal dose of regional points meets like this weekend's race at IRP.
"Every week she gets more comfortable in the car," Slavinski said. "She's a good listener and that makes her a quick learner."
Ashley's car is a 180 mile-an-hour dragster sponsored by All-Pro, Bumper-to-Bumper, Auto Value, MBNA and Ford Racing.