Indy ORP: John Force Racing Final report

ASHLEY FORCE HOOD WINS MAC TOOLS US NATIONALS Robert Hight reaches fourth consecutive final, makes Countdown to 1 INDIANAPOLIS -- Castrol GTX Ford Mustang driver Ashley Force Hood let a plethora of distractions pass her by as she cruised to her...

ASHLEY FORCE HOOD WINS MAC TOOLS US NATIONALS
Robert Hight reaches fourth consecutive final, makes Countdown to 1

INDIANAPOLIS -- Castrol GTX Ford Mustang driver Ashley Force Hood let a plethora of distractions pass her by as she cruised to her second Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, first as a professional, becoming the first female to win in the funny car category at the oldest and most prestigious drag race in the country. Force Hood defeated her brother-in-law Robert Hight in the final 4.170 to 4.217.

"I am really excited this has been a great weekend for Team Force. Winning the race couldn't get any better for me. We have struggled in the summer and haven't done as well as we'd hoped we would. Two weeks ago in Reading (PA) we really had a tough one. We came into this racing looking to get back into our groove. Let's do what we know we can do. Let's go rounds. Let's get this car down the track. I can't give (co-crew chiefs) Ron (Douglas) and Guido (Dean Antonelli) enough credit. They have had a lot on their shoulders this weekend. They were trying to figure out the track and working really hard. My team is the best bunch of guys out here. I couldn't ask for any more from them. I am just so proud to have won the Mac Tools US Nationals again I just can't believe it happened," said Force Hood.

Force Hood joined Shirley Muldowney (Top Fuel) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) as the only female Mac Tools U. S. Nationals professional winners.

Hight's day was also special even though he did not win his third Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in four years, he extended his streak to four consecutive U.S. Nationals final rounds and most importantly he earned enough points to grab the coveted 10th spot in the Countdown to 1 out racing Cruz Pedregon and rookie Matt Hagan for the last spot.

"It is unbelievable. At the beginning of every season your biggest fear is to not make this Countdown. When you look at the class and the field of these Funny Cars and how good the cars are that are out there it is not that easy to make this top ten. Cruz Pedregon is a great racer, reigning world champ. He is an awesome driver. They have a great team over there. It just shows you how tough this is. We just pulled this out. What is best though is we are getting to go to the finals against our teammate Ashley Force Hood so a John Force Mustang will win this race. It doesn't get any better than that," said Hight, the last funny car driver to clinch a Countdown position

"Jimmy Prock picked the right weekend to fix this Auto Club Ford Mustang. It is on a string every run. That is awesome so good job Jimmy Prock."

John Force dispatched Cruz Pedregon in a classic Force versus Pedregon battle and that win paved the way for Hight to secure his Countdown spot. In the semi-final round Force's Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang lost traction at about 200 feet and Hight won a decisive round win.

Mike Neff was already clinched in the Countdown to 1 and almost made it an all Force semi-final but he dropped a close race to Tony Pedregon in the second round. The 2008 rookie of the year is looking forward to taking his second crack at the championship and grabbing his first win.

-credit: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Tony Pedregon , John Force , Cruz Pedregon , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan , Angelle Sampey , Mike Neff