FORCE HAS AN EDGE IN LATEST TITLE BID New Castrol Brand Backs the Boss at Pomona POMONA, Calif. -- John Force will have a little extra Edge this week when he begins his quest for an unprecedented 15th NHRA Funny Car Championship. During the ...
FORCE HAS AN EDGE
IN LATEST TITLE BID
New Castrol Brand Backs the Boss at Pomona
POMONA, Calif. -- John Force will have a little extra Edge this week when he begins his quest for an unprecedented 15th NHRA Funny Car Championship.
During the season-opening 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at pomona, Force will drive a distinctive gold-and-black Ford Mustang that touts his long-time sponsor's newest synthetic lubricant, Castrol Edge.
The 59-year-old icon will drive the special edition Castrol Edge Ford in the season's first three races before returning to more familiar green-and-white Castrol GTX High Mileage livery at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas.
"Castrol has been with me for all my wins and all my championships," Force said, "and it's exciting for me to be able to help them launch a new brand, Castrol Edge. We had the Edge car at the Super Bowl last week and this week our goal is to get it into the winners' circle."
Fully recovered from injuries suffered 15 months ago in a crash at Dallas, Texas,the 14-time Auto Racing All-America selection is anxious to prove this year that he not only still can win races, but also win championships.
"I'm in better shape now than I was before the accident," Force said. "I've got my weight back up around 200, but I've got more muscle. Since I got out of rehab, I go to the gym every day and work out. When I miss a day, I can tell (the difference)."
Winner of the last Winston Championship and the first POWERade championship, Force now is focused on becoming the first NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car Champion. It's a prospect that legitimately excites the 126-time tour winner.
"Being the first, that's history," Force said. "That's something to race for. We struggled last year. It was part me; it was part the car. It started coming around -- and then the season was over. We're excited. We've got a new clutch setup, a new injector, a new supercharger program.
"(Crew chief Austin) Coil is motivated. He's been in the shop every day, even during vacation. Last year was a wake up call for him, just like it was for me. We won so much that we forgot how tough it was. We only won one time last year and it's been a long time (1989) since that's happened."
Force started the 2008 season in spectacular fashion by recording the quickest time during pre-season testing before reaching the semifinal round at the Winternationals, his first competitive appearance since the accident.
However, that proved to be one of the season highlights. Although he was able to extend to 22 the number of consecutive seasons in which he has earned at least one tour victory, tying the record first set by Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson, and even though he was in the other lane when daughter Ashley became the first woman to win an NHRA Funny Car race, he never seriously contended for the championship.
Ultimately, he finished seventh in driver points for the second straight year, marking just the fourth time in the last 26 seasons he has been outside the Top 5.
Now, as he begins his 24th season with Castrol sponsorship and his 25th year with Coil as crew chief, the 14-time Auto Racing All-America selection again is poised to challenge for the sport's ultimate prize.
In effect, he's ready to regain his Edge.