Ashley Force Hood - Ford interview 2009-03-11

This Week in Ford Racing Ashley Force Hood, driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car, is in ninth place in the NHRA Full Throttle points standings heading into this weekend's Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Ashley, who is now in ...

This Week in Ford Racing

Ashley Force Hood, driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car, is in ninth place in the NHRA Full Throttle points standings heading into this weekend's Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Ashley, who is now in her third full season in the series, says she's looking forward to getting back to the race track after a two-week break in the schedule.

YOU HAD A COUPLE OF WEEKS OFF, NOW IT'S TIME TO GET BACK TO RACING. YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING INTO GAINESVILLE? " We have had two weeks off, it's been kind of strange we're not used to having two weeks in a row, but Pomona and Phoenix were kind of spread out and now we've been kind of waiting around so I think everyone is relieved to head into the next race cross country in Gainesville, Florida. I'm excited to get back and see my team and see everyone, most of them have been working at the Indy shop so I haven't seen them since Phoenix Nationals, so it will be good to get back."

AFTER THE GATORNATIONALS YOU HAVE WEEK OFF AND THEN THINGS REALLY START TO PICK UP. YOU HAVE BACK-TO-BACK RACES IN HOUSTON AND VEGAS. DOES IT FEEL LIKE THIS IS REALLY THE START TO THE SEASON NOW. "It usually seems like at the beginning of the season there is a lot of stop and start and then later in the fall it starts to space out again around October. We are pretty used to in the warmer months having a tighter schedule, that's usually when most of our races are. That's the routine and that's usually how it's always been so I don't really see any difference in this year's schedule and any past year."

MIKE NEFF WENT TO THE FINAL ROUND AT THE LAST RACE IN PHOENIX AND HE WAS RUNNING EXTREMELY WELL. YOUR THOUGHTS OVERALL ON YOUR OWN PROGRAM TO THIS POINT AND JOHN FORCE RACING OVERALL AS A TEAM. "Mike did a really great in Phoenix, it was good to see them do well without having their crew chief John [Medlen] who was in the hospital there. They didn't want to be out there without him but they kept their spirits high and they did so well. They went from round to round and it kept their minds occupied, they were still working with John over the phone and through texts and it really made their team closer to go through something like that. It was really exciting watching Mike come so close. They came close last year, they were in a handful of finals last season and another one this year so it's got to be right around the corner for him to get that win. Sometimes you just need a little luck. I know from experience since close to this time last year I went to three finals in a row before I won my first race. I know it's frustrating for them, but they got to look at going into those final rounds that's a lot of points you're gaining towards that Championship at the end of the year. They'll get their win. As for us, we've really struggled the last two races, fortunately with how the point system is now it gives you a little more room if you do have struggles to have them in the beginning of the year because it really gets tight towards the end of the year when each round is counting. Not that we're being lax about it or anything, but we know that we're not letting it get into our heads that we've struggled, we know that we've just got to keep trying and we'll get our stuff figured out. Sometimes you just go through those low points but if you're going to have a low point we rather it be in the beginning of the season and hopefully now that we're going to start going to races more often week after week we can get into our groove. Last year around this time in the spring is really when my team just clicked and did a really great job and that's when we got our win. We're hoping to repeat that this year."

MIKE NEFF IS RUNNING THE NEW FORD BOSS 500. ARE YOU RUNNING IT YET IN YOUR MUSTANG? "No we're not running it yet. It's definitely in the plans. I know they have switched Dad over so two of our cars are running the BOSS 500, so it's just a matter of changing one team at a time trying to get everyone organized and get them everything that they need. I know that "Guido" (Dean Antonelli) my crew chief and my team are real anxious to have the BOSS 500 especially with how well Mike's been doing with the engine.

BARBIE: IT'S HER 50TH BIRTHDAY THIS WEEKEND AND YOU OF COURSE HAVE YOUR OWN BARBIE. YOUR THOUGHTS ON SEEING YOURSELF AS A BARBIE DOLL. "Well my first year in the A Fuel Dragster we had a sponsorship with the Mattel Toy Store which Mattel had just opened up across the country. They had some in California, Texas and other places so they really wanted to promote that. They have a history with Hot Wheels and being in racing so they thought it would be a good match to go with me as I was starting out in A Fuel and I was a female and it really was a lot of fun. The kids just loved that my car said Barbie and Hot Wheels, I mean those are emblems that a lot of kids and adults recognized so it was really just a great way to kick of my career in A Fuel. They were really great to me, we had a lot of fun when we did the Barbie doll. In fact we did two of them actually, that are duplicates of the fire suit that I had that particular year. That is probably the main thing that I sign other than t-shirts at the track that people bring up to get signed because its just something that's one of a kind at the races. There's tons of diecasts, t-shirts and hats but there's really no dolls other than maybe the bobble heads at some of the events. I'm proud that I got the chance to do that.

WHERE CAN FANS GET YOUR BARBIE DOLL? "We sell them at all of the National events in our John Force Racing trackside trailers and we sell them at our Race Station store and for a while they were selling them through the Mattel Toy Store when we were racing with them. They're definitely still out there, there's two different ones, there's the Mattel Toy Store fire suit and then the next year I had a Castrol fire suit. Both have pictures of the car on the box and a little bio on the back."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Ashley Force