Ashley Force Gets Big Boost From Castrol Long Term Sponsorship Deal for 22-Year-Old Rising Star POMONA, Calif. -- Ashley Force's bid for the 2005 NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster Championship got a big boost Wednesday when it was announced that the ...
Ashley Force Gets Big Boost From Castrol
Long Term Sponsorship Deal for 22-Year-Old Rising Star
POMONA, Calif. -- Ashley Force's bid for the 2005 NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster Championship got a big boost Wednesday when it was announced that the 22-year-old had acquired long-term sponsorship from Castrol, the brand that for the last 20 seasons has been the principal sponsor of her father's racing efforts.
BP Lubricants, whose Castrol GTX logo has appeared on John Force- driven Funny Cars in 114 different winners' circle celebrations, immediately will assume primary sponsorship of the A/Fuel dragster Ms. Force again is driving this season for Jerry Darien and Ken Meadows.
Beginning with this week's 45th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, the 275 mile-an-hour hybrid will be called the Castrol/Hot Wheels dragster, a name that reflects Castrol's new status as principal sponsor and Mattel's continuing support through its signature franchise.
When the former high school cheerleader finally decides to move up in classification, to either a Top Fuel dragster or one of her father's Ford Funny Cars, the Castrol sponsorship will follow her, insuring that the Force and Castrol names remain synonymous for years to come.
"The people at Castrol had a plan," said the elder Force, whose team has won the last 12 NHRA Funny Car championships. "They wanted Ashley because of the future. I can't drive forever but with this deal, the Force and Castrol legacy will continue. If they couldn't sign Ashley long term, I don't know if they would have signed me (to a five-year contract extension)," he said.
Ms. Force, a 2003 graduate of California State University-Fullerton, where she studied communications with a emphasis in TV and video, stole some of her father's thunder last year when, as a Top Alcohol division rookie, she won three of the season's final five races including the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Ind., and the season-ending Automobile Club of Southern California Finals here at Pomona. That performance enabled her to finish fourth in national driver points.
This year, she is focused on winning the championship even though her team and all the others using the A/Fuel Dragster combination (essentially a Top Fuel dragster minus the supercharger), will begin the season with an NHRA-imposed handicap a 98 per cent cap on the amount of volatile nitromethane that can be employed in the fuel mix. A year ago, there was no limit.
Actually, when pre-season testing began, the limit was 96 per cent.JNHRA agreed to the additional two per cent only after examining the first week's test results.
On 96 per cent, the Castrol/Hot Wheels dragster could not cover the standard quarter mile distance in fewer than 5.50 seconds. On a 98 per cent mix, it was clocked in a far more competitive 5.37 seconds.
The 2004 Division 4 points champion with victories in regional events at Rusk, Texas, Englishtown, N.J. and Belle Rose, La., Ashley didn't really come into her own until she became just the third woman ever to win the U.S. Nationals, drag racing's oldest, richest and most prestigious single event.
She then won at Dallas, Texas, three weeks later and capped the season by sharing the winners' circle with her father at the Auto Club Finals where they reigned as the NHRA's first ever father-daughter winners.
She'll try to extend her Pomona Raceway winning streak this week in a Winternationals event won by car owner and tuner Jerry Darien 24 years ago. Although Darien and Meadows drivers have won other events at Pomona Raceway, none has won the Winternationals.