Force Father-Daughter Tandem Celebrate NHRA Victories at Auto Club NHRA Finals Schumacher, Anderson and Savoie also earn wins in NHRA POWERade season finale POMONA, Calif. -- John Force and his daughter Ashley shared an emotional winner's...
Force Father-Daughter Tandem Celebrate NHRA Victories at Auto Club NHRA Finals
Schumacher, Anderson and Savoie also earn wins in NHRA POWERade season finale
POMONA, Calif. -- John Force and his daughter Ashley shared an emotional winner's circle celebration Sunday at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, the first time a father and daughter have earned NHRA victories at the same event.
Force raced to his 114th career Funny Car victory, while his 21-year-old daughter captured the Top Alcohol dragster win at Pomona Raceway during NHRA's season finale. Tony Schumacher, Greg Anderson and Angelle Savoie also were winners in their respective pro categories at the $1.8 million race in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
The senior Force clocked a 4.734 second run at 328.28 mph in his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang to defeat Del Worsham and earn his fifth victory of the season and the 11th at his home track. Worsham, who earned $100,000 for finishing second in the championship points chase, clocked a 4.804 at 314.39 in the Checker Schuck's Kragen Chevy Monte Carlo with his only runner-up finish of the season in six final round appearances.
"It's a great weekend here and an emotional weekend," Force said. "This is a look at the future of the sport and Force Racing. Watching her win I felt an obligation to try and win. Kenny and Brandon (Bernstein) won at the same race in Las Vegas three years ago. When she won I just got up for (the final round) and was able to get by the kid and get it done. I don't know where she gets it? I would like to say that I taught her everything, but I didn't. The pressure doesn't seem to affect her. I am proud of her."
Ashley used a holeshot start to upset national champion Mitch Myers in the sportsman dragster class in the Lucas Oil Series to earn the third national event victory of her young career.
"It's amazing," said Ashley, who drives the Mattel Toy Stores dragster. "I can't believe that just happened. I am very happy with the outcome. All the people I love were down there in the winner's circle -- my dad, my mom and our teammates -- celebrating at the same time, so to win this race was a lot of fun."
Force, 55, said he expects his daughter to join him in the professional ranks in 2006.
"I was winning so much all these years and I was on the road a lot and when I would come home my kids didn't understand," Force said. "Now that I am racing with (Ashley) and her two sisters (Brittney and Courtney), they can see what I actually do and they understand what it takes. It's like I have another life and time to share with my daughters. It's very special."
Schumacher earned his 10th Top Fuel victory of the season, setting the single-season win mark for the category. He drove his U.S. Army dragster to the finish line in 4.550 at 313.07 to hold off rookie Morgan Lucas, who posted a 4.807 at 228.50 in his Lucas Oil dragster in his second straight final round appearance.
"To win Indy, 10 races overall, the POWERade world championship, and the NHRA Finals all in one season, that's so awesome for this team," Schumacher said. "This is something that as a kid you sit around and dream about it. Now we're here and the year is done, we're all safe, and we get two months to enjoy everything we've done."
Anderson added another victory to the greatest single-season performance by a pro driver in NHRA history. He drove his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am to a pass of 6.722 at 205.35 for his 31st career victory, while runner-up Jason Line trailed with a 6.825 at 205.29 in his KB Framers Grand Am.
"You couldn't script it any better," Anderson said. "I'm the luckiest man in the world. My jaw hurts from smiling so much. I just can't remember coming into a race day with such enthusiasm. There was nothing to lose today and everything to gain and we just went out and raced for fun. Now we'll take both teams and head to Hawaii and celebrate."
He finished his dominating yearlong run by setting major NHRA records for victories (15), final rounds (19), elimination round wins (76), No. 1 qualifying positions (16), and earning his second NHRA POWERade world championship title in record time by the largest margin of victory in the history of the sport (742 points).
"I think the single-season win total record is the biggest accomplishment of the year," Anderson said. "We come to these races to win. That's what it's all about. The championship is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but the race win is what gets me fired up. It's instant gratification for all the long hours."
Savoie raced to her fourth victory of the season in Pro Stock Bike and the 35th of her career by defeating U.S. Army teammate Antron Brown in the final. Savoie rode her Suzuki to a winning performance of 7.036 at 188.04, while Brown posted a 7.141 at 184.67, also on a Suzuki.
"What a wonderful day, especially getting to race Antron in the final with our special paint schemes," said Savoie, whose bike was painted like a WWII tank. "I've been saying all weekend, 'Not bad for a girl on a tank.' The truth is we say thanks to the troops every time a camera is in front of us but the reality is that we can never thank our troops enough. They're the real heroes.
With the victory, Savoie finished less than two rounds shy of winning her fourth NHRA world championship title.
"I was feeling great until I heard I finished 38 points out of winning the championship," said Savoie, the most prolific female winner in NHRA history. "I know exactly where I gave it up when I lost to (champion) Andrew (Hines) -- it was in the first round at St. Louis. We'll get 'em next year."
The 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series opens with the 45th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals, Feb. 10-13 at Pomona Raceway.