FORCE'S BID FOR THIRD STRAIGHT WIN WILL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL TUESDAY 14-Time Champion Beats Burkart to Reach Semis for Sixth Consecutive Race READING, Pa. -- Rain postponed racing in the 23rd annual Toyo Tires Nationals for the second straight...
FORCE'S BID FOR THIRD STRAIGHT WIN WILL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL TUESDAY
14-Time Champion Beats Burkart to Reach Semis for Sixth Consecutive Race
READING, Pa. -- Rain postponed racing in the 23rd annual Toyo Tires Nationals for the second straight day Monday, but not before John Force put his Castrol Tection Extra Ford Mustang in the semifinals in spectacular fashion at Maple Grove Raceway.
The No. 15 qualifier, Force recorded the quickest run of the entire event at 4.782 seconds to turn back defending champion Phil Burkart Jr. and put himself within one round win of his 200th NHRA final round.
The 58-year-old icon, who on July 1 was in 15th place in the NHRA POWERade driver standings and in danger of missing the inaugural Countdown to the Championship, reached the semifinals for the sixth consecutive race. He will oppose Tim Wilkerson in Tuesday's semifinals. Racing is scheduled to resume at 9:30 a.m., Eastern time.
While Force continued his late season surge and was in position to win his third consecutive tour event, both of the other Team Castrol drivers were out of competition and headed to Indianapolis Monday where a closed test session was supposed to begin Tuesday.
Ashley Force was on her way to an apparent victory over Burkart in the first round when her Castrol GTX Ford lost traction at approximately 800 feet and slowed to 5.122 and just 216 miles per hour, allowing Burkart to drive by for the victory.
Robert Hight, who already had locked up the No. 2 seed in the Countdown in the Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford, won an ugly first round race with 2005 series champion Gary Scelzi but couldn't answer the call in round two, given Wilkerson a free pass to the semis.