FORCES SEMI TOUGH IN NORWALK, ASHLEY GRABS POINTS LEAD NORWALK, Ohio -- John Force Racing almost took the 3rd annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals by "Force" on Sunday. Three Forces, John, Ashley, and Courtney all raced into the ...
FORCES SEMI TOUGH IN NORWALK, ASHLEY GRABS POINTS LEAD
NORWALK, Ohio -- John Force Racing almost took the 3rd annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals by "Force" on Sunday. Three Forces, John, Ashley, and Courtney all raced into the semi-final round but unfortunately that was as far as their Castrol Force Mustangs and Sanyo A Fueler would carry them.
Ashley Force Hood grabbed the Full Throttle points lead for the first time this season with a dramatic second round win over veteran Ron Capps. Both Funny Cars struck the tires at half-track but Ashley was able to woman-handle her 8,000 horsepower machine as it sashayed violently from side to side. At the top end she proved she was not just her father's daughter on the track but also in front of the microphone as she gave a colorful top end interview to the fans on hand at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park after the remarkable pass.
"That was a wild ride. I am sorry Ron (Capps) I got screwed up. I was so amped up to run Capps he has a great car and he is a great driver so I knew I had to be on my game," said Force Hood immediately after the run from the top end. "I was just so pumped up to go in I went right in and lit both lights. I thought (crap). I'm sorry I am just not myself today. I am just glad I didn't do anything stupid. I am just glad Ron and I came out of that race safe. We'll just go up and try it again. I am going to sit down and drink a Full Throttle."
She dropped a semi-final match-up to Bob Tasca III. Tasca eventually the last Mustang standing lost to veteran Jack Beckman in the final.
John Force continued to get back on track racing to the semi-finals as well before being defeated by Jack Beckman. Force smoked the tires at half track as the tricky track conditions stopped the 14-time champion. He was energized by his teams improvement in the points standings as well as their performance on the track especially considering a number of Ford executives and their wives were at the track today.
"I want to thank Bill Bader for the work he did to repave the track to keep the water from bleeding through. We are putting on races for the fans. We leave here with an attitude that every driver stepped up today," said Force. "Robert moved up in the points. The right guys went down. I stepped up. Mike Neff stepped up. Ford was out here supporting us and looking at our sport. These were the guys that work globally. It was good to qualify Neff No. 1 in the Ford Drive One Mustang. With Tasca we still got a Ford in the final. My kid leaves with the points lead. She is up against Tony and Capps and those guys are veterans. She is going to have to earn it just like Shirley (Muldowney). She has a great car, a great crew, and she is driving well."
Mike Neff and the Ford Drive One Mustang made the most of their No. 1 qualifying effort defeating Tim Wilkerson in the first round. That round win combined with Cruz Pedregon and Matt Hagan first round losses moved him into 9th place in the Full Throttle point standings. He is also pleased with his Mustangs performance and knows that they left a little on the table by not going more rounds.
"It is always disappointing when your car is running so good and you have one little mishap and you are trailered. The positives are we qualified No. 1 and we had a really good race car this weekend. Our Mustang was a good as anybody else out here. We moved into the Top Ten that's a positive. We are excited to be heading to Denver for the next one,"said Neff.
"At this point when the car is running good this is when you want to be at the track every weekend. You enjoy racing and it makes it fun. Especially right now we feel like short changed ourselves right there by letting one get away from us. We want to get right back out there and redeem ourselves as soon as possible. (Crew chief) John Medlen has this Mustang running great."
Robert Hight made one of the best passes of the second round unfortunately he made it racing the driver John Force who made the best pass of the session. Hight's 4.32 second pass would have bested just about everyone else but it was not enough to overcome father-in-law John Force's 4.30. Hight made five solid runs in six attempts and the championship contender is feeling better about his Auto Club Mustang with every pass. He is now just 55 points outside the Top Ten.
"We were just racing the wrong guy. My car dropped a cylinder. A ring broke and then it closed the gap on two plugs and that caused the cylinder to drop. I like knowing what the problem was. We can fix that. It wasn't our tune up," said Hight. "You see everybody smoking the tires out there. Jimmy thinks it would have run a little better if it hadn't have dropped that cylinder. I could have beat John or I would have been right with him. We moved up a little. We are three rounds back now. We went down the track 5 out of 6 runs."
The third Force in the semi-finals was Courtney Force in the Top Alcohol Dragster class. She lost to one of the fastest TADs on the property when she was bested by Mike Manners. She was upbeat about her performance and know that in the past three national events she has two semi-final appearances sandwiched around her sister Brittany's Englishtown semi-final finish.