FORCE DROPS MONDAY FINAL AT AZ NATIONALS PHOENIX --- John Force will leave Firebird International Raceway with the Funny Car points lead and that is enough, for now, for the 14-time Full Throttle Funny Car champion. Force and veteran Jack...
FORCE DROPS MONDAY FINAL AT AZ NATIONALS
PHOENIX --- John Force will leave Firebird International Raceway with the Funny Car points lead and that is enough, for now, for the 14-time Full Throttle Funny Car champion. Force and veteran Jack Beckman were the first two race cars to cover the 1000 ft race track on Monday and Beckman made a smooth pass in 4.121 seconds while Force's Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang smoked the tires at about half track.
The two-time 2010 finalist knew he and Beckman were in the same boat as far as dealing with a green track and there would be one winner and one loser.
"It (the track) is the same for Beckman that it is for me. At the end of the day we have been in the finals of the first two races and won one of them(50th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winteernationals). Sure we would like to win them all but I have two other good race cars also Robert Hight in Auto Club and Ashley (Force Hood) in Castrol. We are doing our job for all our sponsors Castrol, Auto Club, Ford, Mac Tools, and BrandSource," said Force.
"It has been one of those weekends. It was very strange with all the goings on," said Force referring to the accident in the Top Fuel ranks and the consistent rainstorms that forced the Top Fuel and Funny Cars finals to Monday. "I am not disappointed. I am ready to move onto Gainesville (site of the NHRA Tire Kingdom Gatornationals, March 11-14). I'll be here (Firebird International Raceway) this weekend for the Divisional with Brittany and Courtney (his two youngest daughters) racing the A Fuel Dragsters. Then the next weekend I'll be up at Bakersfield because I am the grand marshal for the Auto Club March Meet. I have no reason to be disappointed in myself or my team."
When asked if he was glad the NHRA kept the race in the Phoenix area for its conclusion Force gave an immediate response.
"Without a doubt. I wish we could have finished it last night. They had to make the call for the conditions on the track. We just didn't get it. Let's get over it and move onto Gainesville," said Force.
John Force Racing will leave Firebird International Raceway with three Mustangs in the top six in points.
Robert Hight by virtue of his semifinal finish jumped from 9th to 4th place just 27 points behind veteran Ron Capps. With the new qualifying bonus points system that deficit is essentially one round of racing and a strong qualifying performance. Hight's Auto Club Mustang bettered fellow Ford racers Tim Wilkerson and Ashley Force Hood before falling to Force in the semis.
Ashley Force Hood picked up her first round win at Firebird International Raceway when she defeated fellow female Melanie Troxel in the opening round. This highly anticipated race was a lot of fun for the 2009 Full Throttle championship runner-up.
"It is special because I don't ever get to run a girl. Last year I was the only girl in the category so it is neat for the fans. It is neat for Melanie and I to race against each other. Not many people know but she actually went to Frank Hawley's Driving School at the same time I was getting my Super Comp license. I have known her a lot of years. She is a great driver and I am proud to have her back in the funny car class. I am very lucky to get that win. They are a tough team and we just got the better lane and got down it," said Force Hood.
Force Hood is tied for 6th place in the Full Throttle point standings with Bob Tasca III heading into Gainesville in two weeks.