ASHLEY, JOHN FORCE SWAP ROLES THIS WEEK AT THE STRIP AT LVMS 22-Year-Old Seeks Top Alcohol Dragster Title LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Ashley Force was just a spectator last week when her father, 13-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force, was beaten...
ASHLEY, JOHN FORCE SWAP ROLES THIS WEEK AT THE STRIP AT LVMS
22-Year-Old Seeks Top Alcohol Dragster Title
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Ashley Force was just a spectator last week when her father, 13-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force, was beaten in the first round of Funny Car racing in the fifth annual ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
A week later, on the same track, the two will reverse roles when Ms. Force moves to the cockpit of the Castrol/Hot Wheels dragster to compete for the Top Alcohol Dragster championship in the Short Line Express Market Gambler Shootout, final race in the 2005 NHRA Lucas Sportsman Series.
Already assured of her second straight Top 10 finish, Ashley will be joined at LVMS not just by her father, but also by younger sisters Brittany, 19, and Courney, 17, who will compete in the Super Comp class in Brand Source-sponsored Super Comp dragsters.
"Dad's never been very lucky in Vegas," acknowledged the 22-year-old graduate of Cal State-Fullerton, "but hopefully we'll do a little better."
Top Alcohol Dragsters will qualify once on Friday and twice on Saturday with the top eight qualifiers advancing into Sunday's single elimination finals crowning champions in seven different categories.
Although she will remain in the Top Alcohol dragster owned by Jerry Darien and Ken Meadows for at least one more season, Ashley provided a glimpse of the future on Wednesday when she climbed into the cockpit of her dad's national record-holding Castrol GTX® Start Up™ Ford Mustang for another orientation session.
The former high school cheerleader has yet to make a full quarter mile run under power, but she has been getting more comfortable with each turn behind the wheel of a car that has covered the standard distance in as few as 4.665 seconds at a speed of 333.58 miles per hour.
The plan is for Ashley to use next season to further acclimate herself to the Funny Car while at the same time contesting the Top Alcohol Dragster championship. She'll drive the Funny Car in Monday testing after selected events.
A three-time NHRA national event winner as a Top Alcohol rookie last year, Ashley has struggled this season while Darien has adapted to new NHRA fuel regulations. Her lone victory came last month in a Lucas Sportsman race at Englishtown, N.J.
She will complete the season next week when she defends her championship in the 41st annual Automobile Club of Southern California Finals at Pomona, Calif., a race in which she shared the 2004 winners' circle with her dad.
Ashley's sisters made their national event debut in last week's ACDelco Nationals. Although both were beaten in round on of Super Comp, Courtney did manage to qualify No. 4.
Brittany and Courtney will run a limited racing schedule next season so as not to conflict with their schooling. Ashley followed a similar regimen while balancing Super Comp racing with her education.
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Did You Know? While attending Esperanza High School in Yorba Linda, Calif., Ashley took, as electives, auto shop and welding, the first solid indication of her desire to follow her father into racing....by an on-line vote of the readers of Hot Rod Magazine, Ashley this year was named the favorite "Real Woman of Hot Rodding," the result of a special issue of the magazine devoted to 10 women in motor racing, most of them drivers....Ashley is featured in a national print ad touting Oakley's "Thumps" sunglasses and soon will be appearing, with her dad, in California television ads for the Automobile Club of Southern California....Ashley recently was named one of the "Hot 25 Personalities" in Orange County, Calif., by OC Metro Business Magazine and was feted on Thursday night, along with the other 24, at a banquet at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin, Calif....Ashley was the model for a Barbie-like Ashley Force doll marketed at company-owned stores by Mattel....at Cal State-Fullerton, Ashley majored in communications with an emphasis on TV and video. She now produces promotional and marketing videos for John Force Racing, Inc....although she is flying back home at the end of racing on Sunday, Ashley will be back in Las Vegas on Tuesday for appearances at the annual SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.