John Force - Ford interview 2008-09-30

This Week in Ford Racing John Force Racing's Ashley Force, driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car, finished second at the NHRA Mid-South Nationals last week in Memphis. Halfway through the Countdown to 1, Force is fifth in ...

This Week in Ford Racing

John Force Racing's Ashley Force, driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car, finished second at the NHRA Mid-South Nationals last week in Memphis. Halfway through the Countdown to 1, Force is fifth in the championship, 92 points behind championship leader Tim Wilkerson.

YOU HAD A PRETTY GOOD WEEKEND AT MEMPHIS, BUT YOU EVENTUALLY FACED A DRIVER IN TIM WILKERSON WHO IS HAVING A PRETTY GOOD YEAR. "Yeah, it was a really great weekend for all of us at John Force Racing. Everyone in Funny Car has been running so well that there really is not a draw that is an easy one. Every car has really been competitive and every car is capable of running a great time. So, it's really not worth worrying about that, but it's better to worry about your own car and getting it to run the best that it can. That's what we really focused on at Memphis. All they want to talk about now is the Countdown, which is exciting, but it really shouldn't change how any of us do our thing. You get excited and amped and you want to do really well for the Countdown, but like my crew chief Guido [Dean Antonelli] reminded me, that you don't want to change your routine. There's a reason we got into the Countdown to begin with, so let's just keep doing what we've been doing. That was our approach at Memphis and it really paid off for us. If we can stay consistent and don't let everything get in our mind, we should be pretty good."

A LOT OF DRIVERS TALK ABOUT GETTING THEIR FIRST WIN, WHICH YOU DID AT ATLANTA IN THE SPRING. MOST FIND THAT THEY REALLY WANT TO GET THAT SECOND WIN TO BACK UP THE FIRST ONE. IS THAT KIND OF WHERE YOUR MIND IS? "Definitely. We're excited to be in the Countdown, but really my team's goal is we would like to get another win so we can end the 2008 season with two or hopefully more. That would be a great way to end this year. We seemed to do well at the end of the year last year in the cooler weather. We have a routine down. We're hoping for a repeat of last year when we went to our first final at Vegas. Since this end of the year time works out well for us, we're hoping that we can get a second win."

AFTER THREE STRAIGHT RACES YOU ARE AT THE MID-POINT OF THE COUNTDOWN TO 1. IS THIS A GOOD WEEKEND TO TAKE A BREAK AND TO TAKE A STEP BACK AND REEVALUATE? "It is. I think everyone was really glad come Monday morning after the Memphis race that we knew we had a little bit of downtime to regroup, get home and have a little bit of a break to recharge our batteries before we head out to the next race and get ready to go. The season is kind of slowing down a bit. It was real hectic for a while in the summer. Not only was it hectic for us drivers, but for the crews as well. They have been on the road week after week after week. They are finally able to all go home and see their families or see their girlfriends and take some time so we can all get back out there and be ready for the next race, which is Richmond."

WHAT IS THE MOOD LIKE AROUND JOHN FORCE RACING? LAST YEAR WAS SO EMOTIONAL AND THE TEAM HAS RESPONDED WITH A SUCCESSFUL SEASON. "We are very thankful for this year and especially for our team after everything that happened last year. This has been a very routine year like all of the other years. We never knew how much you appreciated a routine until last year. We're all out here and we're doing well, but we are keeping things in perspective. If things go wrong with the car, in past years that was the end of the world, but now we have a different outlook on stuff, and I think we're a better team because we're a little more relaxed with things. We know we're going to do the best we can, and sometimes it will work and sometimes it won't, but there will always, hopefully, be another race to go on out there and continue to race and to do it safer. There's just a change in the mood of all of us. Safety is such a priority now, and Ford Racing has had such a big role in helping us with that. It really pays off for us to look back over the year and see all the things we've changed, and yet to see how well we are doing. Regardless of that, a lot of people are worried that these changes might alter the success of the cars, but that hasn't played a role at all. If anything, it has helped these cars run just as fast and be just as competitive, we are just safer."

YOU ARE PART OF THE FORD RACING "I'M DRIVING ONE" ONLINE CAMPAIGN WHICH LAUNCHED LAST WEEK. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR INVOLVEMENT. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GET A DIFFERENT CAR EVERY WEEK? "I am honored that I was chosen to be a part of this. I think I'm one of the youngest ones in the group and I'm the only girl, so maybe I have a different angle or outlook, but it's been fun and a bit of an adventure each week to drive something else. For a few of the test drives I have been in different states. They arranged for a Flex to be delivered to me in Dallas and then again in Memphis. It is kind of neat. Actually, when I came to the shop today there was a new Fusion waiting for me. I'm sure my friends at home are thinking I'm crazy because I'm in a different car every time they see me. It has been fun and I had only ever driven an F-150 since I was 16 years old, that's almost 10 years, and last year I got a Mustang because I moved into the Mustang Funny Car category. That was a big change for me because I was only used to driving trucks and sitting up high and everything, but I loved the Mustang as well. Now I'm getting to try all these different models. I had never driven an SUV before and I tried that out with the Flex, so it has been fun to try them out and to see things I didn't even realize. I never thought I might be an SUV person, but it turned out to be the best of both worlds, so it might be my next step down the road."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Tim Wilkerson , Ashley Force