TEAM CASTROL FORDS OUT EARLY IN PRO CARE Rx SUPERNATIONALS When Ashley Force lost to brother-in-law Robert Hight in the first round of Sunday's 38th annual Pro Care Rx SuperNationals, it took away Team Castrol's best chance of a Funny Car...
TEAM CASTROL FORDS OUT EARLY IN PRO CARE Rx SUPERNATIONALS
When Ashley Force lost to brother-in-law Robert Hight in the first round of Sunday's 38th annual Pro Care Rx SuperNationals, it took away Team Castrol's best chance of a Funny Car victory at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Ms. Force, the 24-year-old daughter of drag racing icon John Force, had the best car on the grounds all weekend long, but couldn't close the deal, victimized by the failure of a $1 part, an intake manifold stud. That failure caused a misfire in the engine that slowed the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang just enoug h to let Hight squeak by for a first round win in the Team Castrol/Auto Club Mustang.
Hight, the surprising No. 14 qualifier after his second straight troubled weekend, was clocked in 4.938 seconds, quick time of the round. Ashley trailed at 4.949, 299.30 mph, ending a spectacular weekend on a very disappointing note.
Ashley, the front-runner in the race for the 2007 Road to the Future Award that identifies the NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year, was the only driver in the category to go A to B, under power, every time down the racetrack. That said, she wasn't around for the final round in which No. 1 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr. beat Tony Pedregon for the the championship.
Hight went out in round two when an ignition system failure left his Ford dead in the water against Tony Pedregon's Chevrolet.
As for John Force, he secured his best starting spot of the season (No. 2) and beat 2005 series champion Gary Scelzi in the first round before being upset by Tony Bartone in round two.
TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, 58, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.747 seconds, 325.57 mph.
Race results: Beat Gary Scelzi; lost to Tony Bartone.
Notable: Reached the second round for only the second time this season and jumped four positions in the POWERade point standings.
Quotable: "It wasn't what we wanted, but it was better than what we've been doing. At least I see a little spark from these guys now. We're not out of it, not yet, but we've got to do some good in Norwalk."
ASHLEY FORCE, 24, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.760 seconds, 321.19 mph.
Race results: Lost to Robert Hight.
Notable: Equaled her best starting position since moving up to Funny Car.
Quotable: "I never saw Robert. I heard 'Guido' (crew chief Dean 'Guido' Antonelli) say, 'good job, guys' so I really didn't know. You never want to run your teammate in the first round, but it happens. It was a good race but we just came up a little short."
ROBERT HIGHT, 37, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 14th at 4.893 seconds, 301.67 mph.
Race results: Beat Ashley Force; lost to Tony Pedregon.
Notable: Retained hold on No. 2 position in Skoal Showdown driver standings.
Quotable: "We think we found our problem. It's in the ignition system, so we'll work to sort that out this week and get ready for Norwalk. It's great that we've been able to sort out this problem before mid-season. Now I'm ready for the Countdown."