Brainerd: John Force Racing Saturday summary

FORDS WILL START 1-2-3 IN SKOAL SHOWDOWN FUNNY CAR BONUS RACE Participants Set; Memphis Qualifying Could Change Positions 4-8 BRAINERD, Minn. -- With the completion of qualifying for the 25th annual Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International...

FORDS WILL START 1-2-3 IN SKOAL SHOWDOWN FUNNY CAR BONUS RACE
Participants Set; Memphis Qualifying Could Change Positions 4-8

BRAINERD, Minn. -- With the completion of qualifying for the 25th annual Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, the Team Castrol Ford Mustangs of John Force, Eric Medlen and Robert Hight locked up the top three starting positions for the Sept. 3 Skoal Showdown Funny Car bonus race at Indianapolis, Ind.

Although the pairings may be effected by qualifying for this week's 19th annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis, Tenn., there will be no change in the makeup of the eight-car starting field.

Joining the three Fords will be the Dodges of Gary Scelzi, Ron Capps and Whit Bazemore and the Chevrolets of Tommy Johnson Jr. and Tony Pedregon. Noticeably absent will be the Chevrolet of defending Skoal Showdown and Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Champion Del Worsham, which failed to earn enough points to make the elite lineup.

Yet undetermined is the No. 1 seed. While it is certain to fall to one of the Ford drivers, qualifying at Memphis will have to determine which one. Hight, who has put the Automoible Club of Southern California Ford in the No. 1 qualifying position twice as often the last two years as any other Funny Car, leads Force and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang by 70 points.

If last year's Rookie of the Year is able to hold onto the No. 1 position, it would mark the first time in 18 years that a driver other than Force has earned the No. 1 starting spot in the Showdown.

Force, drag racing's biggest winner with 13 series championships and 120 tour victories, is a five-time former winner of the Showdown (formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout). He last won the bonus race in 2000. He has lost to Ford teammates each of the last three years, two times in the final round (2003 to Tony Pedregon and 2004 to Gary Densham). He lost to Hight in the first round a year ago.

In the history of the program, John Force Racing drivers have earned $1,467,500 with Force himself taking down $969,000, putting him in position to become the first in history to surpass $1 million.

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight , Tommy Johnson Jr.