U.S. Nationals Win Identifies Powerful New Force in Racing Daughter of Funny Car Champ a Contender at Motorplex ENNIS, Texas. (Sept. 24-26) -- Barbie Goes Ballistic! That's the best description of Ashley Force, the 21-year-old daughter of...
U.S. Nationals Win Identifies Powerful New Force in Racing
Daughter of Funny Car Champ a Contender at Motorplex
ENNIS, Texas. (Sept. 24-26) -- Barbie Goes Ballistic! That's the best description of Ashley Force, the 21-year-old daughter of drag racing legend John Force, who'll drive the 275 mile per hour Mattel Toy Store dragster this week in pursuit of the Top Alcohol Dragster championship at the 19th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol SYNTEC® at the Texas Motorplex.
Ms. Force, a former high school cheerleader, showed off her championship pedigree earlier this month when she won the world's oldest, largest and most prestigious drag racing event, the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, at Indianapolis, Ind.
"It took me 15 years to win Indy," quipped her proud father, winner of a record 113 NHRA tour events including four U.S. Nationals titles. "My kid comes for the first time (in the Top Alcohol class) and wins it."
Ms. Force, who apprenticed for two years in a less powerful (160 mph) Super Comp dragster, will be among the favorites at the Motorplex, a track on which her father has won six times and on which he has been a finalist in nine of his last 11 appearances.
A 2003 graduate of California State University-Fullerton, where she majored in Communications with an emphasis in radio, TV and film, Ms. Force quickly emerged as a Top Alcohol contender under the tutelage of car owners Jerry Darien and Ken Meadows, widely recognized for their development of some of the sport's top professional drivers including Gary Scelzi, Brandon Bernstein, Melanie Troxel and Frank Pedregon.
In fact, Ms. Force is the seventh different driver to win an NHRA national event with Darien and Meadows.
Although Indy represented her first career victory at the national level, Ashley won a regional Lucas Oil Sportsman Series event at Rusk, Texas, in June and led the national Top Alcohol point standings for several weeks earlier in the season. She has started six races from the No. 1 qualifying position including the U.S. Nationals.
Projected as a future driver of one of her father's 320 mile per hour Castrol-backed Funny Cars, she will remain with Darien and Meadows for the foreseeable future, certainly through 2005.
"I'm real proud of her," Force said, "but she still needs experience. I don't want to move her up too quick and there's no better place for her to learn than right where she is. Darien has handled a lot of top drivers. He takes care of her on and off the track and that's what I like."
Before winning the Nationals, Ashley was a finalist last May at the NHRA Summit Southern Nationals at Atlanta, Ga.
She has advanced to the semifinals or beyond in 13 of the 16 regional and national races she's run since moving up in classification.
Although her father was skeptical about her racing aspirations, Ashley provided something of a clue early-on when, at Esperanza High School (Yorba Linda, Calif.), she took as electives auto shop and welding.