Castrol Highlight: John Force and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang moved closer to capturing a 14th NHRA World Funny Car Championship by beating teammate and son-in-law Robert Hight in the final round of the CARQUEST Nationals at Route 66 ...
Castrol Highlight: John Force and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang moved closer to capturing a 14th NHRA World Funny Car Championship by beating teammate and son-in-law Robert Hight in the final round of the CARQUEST Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.
JOHN FORCE BREAKS THROUGH FOR 120TH CAREER VICTORY
John Force rallied from a series of near misses this season to win the ninth annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Route 66 Raceway and move to within 48 points of pacesetting Ron Capps in the race for the 2006 NHRA POWERade Funny Car Championship.
In winning for the 120th time in his legendary career, Force extended to 20 the number of consecutive seasons in which he has won at least one NHRA national event. The 13-time series champion had come up short in four previous final round appearances this season, losing to Capps in three of those finales.
It was a spectacular day not only for Force, but for John Force Racing, which advanced all three of its Mustangs to the semifinals befoe Force dispatched prot0x00e9g0x00e9 and son-in-law Robert Hight in a final round in which both drivers were slowed by broken supercharger drive belts.
Force, drag racing's biggest winner, won for the first time since last September by pushing the Castrol GTX Ford through the quarter mile timers in 4.930 seconds to beat Hight's slightly quicker 4.890. It was the first all-Castrol final since last August when Eric Medlen beat Force in the final round at Brainerd, Minn.
Appearing in the 192nd final round of his career and his fifth of the current season, Force beat Tony Bartone in round one, evened his career record to 8-8 against Phil Burkart Jr. In round two and beat teammate Eric Medlen, driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford, in the semifinals.
While the Team Castrol Funny Cars were advancing the to semifinals and beyond, Ashley Force recorded the quickest quarter mile of her brief career (5.229 seconds) before losing to Sean O'Bannon in the Top Alcohol Dragster semifinals.
For the first time this year, neither of the Team Castrol Fords started from the No. 1 qualifying position. Medlen was the highest qualified of the three, starting from the No. 3 position while Hight starter fourth and Force seventh.
TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, 57, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 7th at 4.731 seconds, 320.97 mph.
Race results: Beat Tony Bartone, Phil Burkart Jr., Eric Medlen and Robert Hight.
Notable: With the win Force extends his streak of winning at least one NHRA national event to an unprecedented twenty years...this was the 26th time Force owned Funny Cars have squared off in a final round...evened career record to 8-8 versus Phil Burkhart with second round win.
Quotable: "We've had a good race car all year we've been qualifying great but not winning. I was almost not wanting to be a low qualifier to see if I could come from behind and win a race. We had three good cars. We moved up in points. To get a win gets us right mentally. It is good to get that mental thing out of your head. Robert (Hight) said he was going for the national record and I told him I was going for the win." -- JOHN FORCE.
ERIC MEDLEN, 32, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.681 seconds, 327.51 mph.
Race results: Beat Del Worsham, Tony Pedregon; lost to John Force.
Notable: Ran his career best time in qualifying at 4.681 seconds.
Quotable: "The car is coming around. When you try and run real hard you want to make sure the motor will stay together and we were able to do that on Friday. We played the consistency game today on Sunday and it might have bit us. I think we might have had a small fuel leak. Just past half track it was blowing fuel all over the windshield. I could see him (John Force) out the window and with these Mustangs if you can see them they've got you beat. We got another semi-final finish and we are real proud of that. We are proud of how all our hot rods are running and we're getting them down the track." -- ERIC MEDLEN.
ROBERT HIGHT, 36, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 4th at 4.685 seconds, 328.06 mph.
Race results: Beat Gary Densham, Ron Capps, Gary Densham; lost to John Force.
Notable: Defeated points leader, Ron Capps, in second round... defeated reigning POWERade Funny Car World Champion Gary Scelzi in semi-final round...ran the lowest ET of every round during eliminations.
Quotable:"I had low ET ever round. We tried to go for the record in the final. We didn't have anything to lose. (Crew Chief) Jimmy (Prock) thought he had some of our problems worked out and it was on a great run at 330 ft. It had everything in it but it was hurting before half track. I still stayed with it. It wasn't until my blower belt came off that he (John Force) got around me. It was kind of an odd race." -- ROBERT HIGHT.
ASHLEY FORCE, 23, Castrol Top Alcohol Dragster
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 5.229 seconds, 272.94 mph.
Race results: Beat Noah Condo, Jeff Hamelink; lost to Sean O'Bannon
Notable: Ran her career best time in qualifying at 5.229 seconds to qualify No. 1 for the first time since June, 2005.
Quotable: "You always want to win races but if you can be consistent you can go rounds. The best thing about this weekend is the car has been running better than it has all season. We ran the quickest time I have ever run in the dragster. It was really exciting and really exciting for the team. I know we have the car and I know I can drive it so we just have to get everything together. We've had a few wins this year and we'll get some more."-- ASHLEY FORCE.