DESPITE STRUGGLES, FORCE, HIGHT 2-3 IN POINTS TEAM CASTROL STUMBLES AT SUMMITRACING.COM EVENT Robert Hight posted the quickest quarter mile time on race day (4.884 seconds), but it was an otherwise frustrating weekend for Team Castrol at the...
DESPITE STRUGGLES, FORCE, HIGHT 2-3 IN POINTS
TEAM CASTROL STUMBLES AT SUMMITRACING.COM EVENT
Robert Hight posted the quickest quarter mile time on race day (4.884 seconds), but it was an otherwise frustrating weekend for Team Castrol at the sixth annual SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hight, the leading candidate for the 2005 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award that annually identifies the top rookie in the NHRA POWERade Series, used that number to get around the man he replaced at the wheel of the Team Castrol Auto Club Ford, Gary Densham, in round one.
In round two, however, the No. 4 qualifier suffered the same fate as teammates John Force and Eric Medlen, losing traction halfway down the course and slowing to 7.911 seconds at only 108 miles per hour. That opened the door for Whit Bazemore, who went on to win the race and regain the POWERade points lead.
Force, who was seeking his first win in the spring race and just his second overall victory at LVMS, fell to second in points when his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford, the second quickest car during qualifying, lost traction against Ron Capps and the Brut Dodge.
Hight held onto the No. 3 position in the driving standings and Medlen, who for the first time in his career didn't have a competitive race car, fell back to ninth in the Castrol SYNTEC Mustang.
Ashley Force, driving the Castrol/Hot Wheels dragster for Jerry Darien and Ken Meadows, lost in the second round of Top Alcohol Dragster to eventual runner-up Joey Severance of Spanaway, Wash.
Ms. Force, the 22-year-old daughter of the sport's most prolific winner, actually got a first round win with a slower car, thanks to a starting line advantage over Brandon Johnson. In round two, even though she made her quickest quarter mile run of the weekend (5.588 seconds), she was no match for Severance's 5.454.
The disparity between Force, Severance and eventual winner Hillary Will had everything to do with the desert heat, which favored supercharged cars like those of the two finalists and not the A/Fuel cars like the one in which Force is seeking the Top Alcohol Dragster title.
TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, 55, Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.809 seconds, 325.53 mph.
Race results: Lost to Ron Capps.
Notable: Lost the POWERade points lead
Quotable: "It was just a bad day for us. Robert (Hight) had a good car but the heat got him, just like it got the rest of us. We're going testing tomorrow (Monday). We'll be ready for Bristol." JOHN FORCE.
ERIC MEDLEN, 31, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 16th at 5.013 seconds, 293.37 mph.
Race results: Lost to Gary Scelzi.
Notable: Despite lost weekend, managed to stay in the Top 10.
Quotable: "With all the problems we had, just to qualify was an accomplishment. I think my dad (crew chief John Medlen) may have found the problem, though. I guess we'll find out tomorrow (during testing)." ERIC MEDLEN.
ROBERT HIGHT, 35, Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 4th at 4.811 seconds, 325.37 mph.
Race results: Beat Gary Densham; lost to Whit Bazemore
Notable: Posted the quickest race day time of 4.884 seconds.
Quotable: "It was pretty disappointing but we know we've got a good car and we'll have another chance here in a couple of weeks. I wish we were racing again right now." ROBERT HIGHT.
ASHLEY FORCE, 22, Castrol/Hot Wheels A/Fuel dragster (Top Alcohol
Qualifying position and performance: 10th at 5.615 seconds, 253.56 mph.
Race results: Beat Brandon Johnson; lost to Joey Severance.
Notable: Was the best of the A/Fuel dragsters on a weekend when the supercharged dragsters enjoyed a performance advantage and despite the handicap, got a first round win on her driving abilities.