JOHN FORCE/ASHLEY FORCE HOOD
Pre-Race Package for the 22nd annual FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals
July 24-26, 2009
Infineon Raceway at Sears Point
15th event in the Countdown to the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Championship
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Track record-holder Ashley Force Hood (4.094 seconds) tries to extend the John Force Racing, Inc., winning streak at Infineon Raceway where the late Eric Medlen earned one of his last victories before the testing crash that claimed his life in March, 2007.
Medlen, who grew up in nearby Oakdale, where he split his time between racing and rodeo, drove the Castrol SYNTEC Ford to victory in the 2006 FRAM/Autolite Nationals. John Force earned an emotional follow-up victory in the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford in 2007 and Robert “Top Gun” Hight made it three-in-a-row at the wheel of the Auto Club Ford in 2008.
Force Hood can clinch a berth in the NHRA playoffs simply by qualifying for the the 16-car show, thus becoming the first JFR driver to do so.
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JFR RACING HISTORY AT INFINEON RACEWAY:
Wins – 9, seven by John Force for Castrol GTX (1990-1992, 1994, 2000, 2002, 2007); one by Eric Medlen for Castrol SYNTEC (2006); one by Robert Hight for the Automobile Club of Southern California (2008).
Last year – Robert “Top Gun” Hight extended fallen teammate Eric Medlen’s legacy by becoming the third straight JFR driver to win on Medlen’s home track. John Force and Mike Neff were beaten in round one and Ashley Force Hood lasted only one round longer in her Castrol GTX Mustang.
Notable #1 –.Robert Hight owns the track record at the standard quarter mile distance (4.738 seconds); Ashley Force Hood at 1,000 feet (4.094 seconds).
Notable #2 – Ashley qualified No. 1 for the first time in her pro career on the same track on which she recorded her career best speed in the Jerry Darien-prepared Castrol Top Alcohol Dragster (275 mph).
Notable #3 – John Force has won more races at Infineon than any other pro driver and on each occasion, defeated a different driver in the final round – seven wins, seven different victims.
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PRO POINTS (2009 NHRA Full Throttle Series point standings):
Funny Car – 1. Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger, 1039; 2. Ashley Force Hood, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 1018; 3. Tony Pedregon, Q Racing Chevrolet, 1009; 4. Jack Beckman, Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger, 855; 5. Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, 804; 6. Del Worsham, Al-Anabi Toyota Solara, 791; 7. Bob Tasca III, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang, 787; 8. John Force, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, 739; 9. Mike Neff, Ford Drive One Ford Mustang, 683; 10. Matt Hagan, Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger, 669. Also, 11. Cruz Pedregon, Advance Toyota Solara, 662; 12. Robert Hight, Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, 626.
Top Fuel – 1. Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster, 1168; 2. Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster, 1031; 3. Larry Dixon, Al-Anabi dragster, 998; 4. Brandon Bernstein, Budweiser dragster, 913; 5. Spencer Massey, US Smokeless Tobacco dragster, 819; 6. Cory McClenathan, Fram dragster, 814; 7. Shawn Langdon, Lucas Oil dragster, 773; 8. Morgan Lucas, Geico Insurance dragster, 773; 9. Doug Kalitta, Kalitta Racing dragster, 666; 10. Clay Millican, Nitrofish dragster, 567.
Pro Stock – 1. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Jeg’s Chevrolet Cobalt, 1199; 2. Mike Edwards, Young Life/Penhall Pontiac, 1179; 3. Jason Line, Summit Racing Pontiac GXP, 1086; 4. Greg Anderson, Summit Racing Pontiac GXP, 951; 5. Allen Johnson, Team Mopar Dodge Stratus, 933; 6. Greg Stanfield, Attitude Apparel Pontiac GXP, 744; 7. Ron Krisher, Valvoline Chevrolet Cobalt, 704; 8. Kurt Johnson, ACDelco Chevrolet Cobalt, 668; 9. Rickie Jones, Quarter-Max/RJ Race Cars Dodge Stratus, 608; 10. Warren Johnson, K&N Filters Pontiac GXP, 575.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 1. Eddie Krawiec, Englishtown, N.J., Harley-Davidson V-Rod, 739; 2. Andrew Hines, Brownsburg, Ind., Harley-Davidson V-Rod, 651; 3. Matt Smith, King, N.C., Suzuki, 559; 4. Craig Treble, Harvey, La., Suzuki, 535; 5. Douglas Horne, Aberdeen, Md., Buell, 506; 6. Hector Arana, Milltown, Ind., Buell, 472; 7. Matt Guidera, Loomis, Calif., Buell, 446; 8. Steve Johnson, Birmingham, Ala., Suzuki, 360; 9. Shawn Gann, Stoneville, N.C., Buell, 356; 10. Karen Stoffer, Smith, Nev., Suzuki, 351.
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TELEVISION (all on ESPN2, all times Eastern Daylight):
Qualifying – Saturday, July 25, 6-8 p.m.
NHRA RaceDay – Sunday, July 26, 11 a.m.
Race Highlights – Sunday, July 26, 9 p.m.-12 midnight
Repeat race highlights – Wednesday, July 29, 3-5 a.m.
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NEXT EVENTS (2009 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship):
28th annual Lucas Oil Nationals, Aug. 14-16, Brainerd, Minn.
25th annual Toyo Tires Nationals, Aug. 21-23, Reading, Pa.
55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Sept. 2-7, Indianapolis, Ind.
2nd annual NHRA Carolina Nationals, Sept. 18-20, Charlotte, N.C.
24th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries Fall Nationals, Sept. 25-27, Dallas, Texas
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FOR FORCE, NO EXCUSES
BUT NO WINS IN 2009
14-Time Champ Still Thinks He Can Win Title
SONOMA, Calif. – Although he reached the semifinals last week at Seattle, Wash., ending two years of complete winless-ness on the NHRA's Western Swing, drag racing icon John Force rolls into Infineon Raceway for this week's 22nd annual FRAM/Autolite Nationals with a sum total of zero tour victories on his 2009 resume.
For a guy who's won 126 tour events and 14 championships, who in 1996 won 13 of the 19 races comprising the NHRA series, that kind of production – or lack thereof – might indicate a deterioration of abilities.
However, it would be tough to find anyone inside the Funny Car family bold enough to make that statement.
Moreover, at age 60, Force still believes he can win races AND win the championship at the wheel of the aptly-named Castrol GTX® High Mileage™ Ford Mustang. The co-crew chiefs on that 300 mile-an-hour hybrid, Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly, also are sexagenarians, meaning they're sixty-somethings.
Force, who hasn't been to a final round in a career worst 29 straight races, rolls into the Bay Area in eighth place in Full Throttle points, still very much in the hunt for one of the 10 starting spots in the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
"We're not where we want to be right now," Force said, "but trust me, we're not far off. I'm still confident I can win the championship. I'm no miracle worker who can just make it happen on my own, but I think we can do it as a team, me and Coil and Bernie and my guys.
"To be honest, the car has been off a little and we have some new crew guys but, as a driver, I couldn't feel better physically. I go to the gym every day, have ever since I came back from my crash. I have no excuses. In fact, I've named this the No Excuses Tour.'"
Nevertheless, to lock up a berth in the Countdown and secure an opportunity to race for his 15th individual title, Force still has a little work to do.
He needs to win rounds to put distance between himself and the drivers immediately behind him in the point standings. Perhaps more importantly, he needs to win a race, if only for his mental well-being.
The 14-time Auto Racing All-America selection hasn't gone to the winners' circle since June 1, 2008 when he prevailed in the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Topeka, Kan. Thus far, that's his only victory since coming back from injuries suffered in a Sept., 2007, crash in Dallas, Texas.
"I wouldn't be out here if I didn't think I could win," said the seven-time FRAM/Autolite Nationals champion.
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Did You Know?
– John is trying to extend to