ANOTHER FORCE TO BE DEALT WITH AT SCHUCK'S AUTO PARTS NATIONALS Ashley Sends Castrol Dragster After Third Season Win SEATTLE, Wash. -- Seattle Raceways track record-holder Ashley Force (271.84 miles per hour) can't wait to climb back into...
ANOTHER FORCE TO BE DEALT WITH AT SCHUCK'S AUTO PARTS NATIONALS
Ashley Sends Castrol Dragster After Third Season Win
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Seattle Raceways track record-holder Ashley Force (271.84 miles per hour) can't wait to climb back into the cockpit of the Castrol dragster this week to chase the Top Alcohol Dragster title at the 19th annual Schuck's Auto Parts Nationals.
After four consecutive weeks of filming for the real-life series Driving Force, which debuted to positive reviews last Monday on A&E Network, and after as many weeks of promotional appearances, TV, radio, magazine and newspaper interviews, the 23-year-old said she'll relish her alone time in the race car owned and prepared by Jerry Darien and Ken Meadows.
Ms. Force, the second oldest daughter of drag racing icon John Force, rolls into the Northwest trying to hold on to a Top 10 position in the NHRA Lucas Sportsman Series. The leader after winning earlier this year at Gainesville, Fla., and Atlanta, Ga., the graduate of California State University-Fullerton has slid all the way back to eighth place due in no small part to the fact that she just hasn't been racing.
"I'm really excited," she said. "With all the chaos of the show and the media stuff we've been doing, I haven't raced in a few weeks (so) I'm really, really looking forward to getting back in my helmet, back in my race car, back to what I know and to what I'm at least pretty good at doing, which is racing.
"This race especially because my family will be there. My little sisters, Brittany (20) and Courtney (18) will be driving in Super Comp and dad and Robert (Hight) and Eric (Medlen) will be racing in Funny Car. It'll be fun.
For Ashley, "fun" is the main goal for the weekend.
"I grew up in drag racing so to be at the track is natural for me," she said. "That's where I'm the most comfortable. I went to Denver last week as a spectator and it just made me more anxious to get back in the car."
A five-time tour winner since moving up to the Top Alcohol category in 2004, Ashley presently is dividing her time between the Castrol dragster and a Castrol Ford Funny Car she has been testing somewhat less frequently than she would like.
The goal is for her to move up in classification either next year or the year after. It's a decision that isn't wholly her own.
Her father, winner of a record 120 NHRA Funny Car races, 85 more than any other driver, has been personally monitoring her development program, trying to pass along lessons learned in a 30-year career on the road.
Regardless, her focus this week is on Top Alcohol Dragster and on erasing the memory of last year's first round loss to Aaron Olivarez.
"We'd like to replace that memory with something a little more positive," said the new kickboxing afficionado.
The best memory, of course, would be a re-do of the victory celebration following the season-ending 2004 Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Calif., an event in which she and her father shared the podium as the first father-daughter tandem to win the same NHRA national event.