Event: 24th annual Checker/Schuck's/Kragen Nationals, second of 24 events in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Site: Firebird Raceway, Phoenix, Ariz.
Dates: Feb. 22-24, 2008.
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FORCE HOPING TO TAKE UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF AT FIREBIRD
During pre-season testing at Firebird Raceway, in his first driving assignment since his crash last September in Texas, John Force was clocked in 4.782 seconds at 327.51 miles per hour and 4.765 at 327.66 mph, the quickest Funny Car times posted. Two weeks ago in the season-opening CARQUEST Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., he and his daughter, Ashley, 25, both reached the semifinals in a race eventually won by teammate Robert Hight.
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John Force, 58, driver of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, is racing this week for just the second time since suffering the worst crash of his professional career (Sept. 23, 2007 at the Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas) and he’s doing so in a totally re-designed chassis. John is drag racing’s most prolific winner with 125 POWERade tour victories and 14 championships. He has won at least one tour event for 21 straight seasons.
John Force History at Firebird Raceway:
Fabulous at Firebird: In the last 14 seasons, John has been to the final round at the CSK Nationals more often than in any other event (10 times with eight wins). Only at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (12 wins) and Brainerd International Raceway (11 wins) has John won more often than he has at Firebird.
Another Milestone: Entering the CSK Nationals, John is just six rounds shy of becoming the first professional drag racer to win as many as 1,000 competitive rounds.
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Funny Car – 4.636 seconds by Robert Hight, Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, Feb. ‘07; and 330.88 mph by Tommy Johnson Jr., Feb. ‘07.
Top Fuel – 4.430 seconds by Tony Schumacher, Feb., ‘07; 333.74 mph by Brandon Bernstein, Feb., ‘ 05.
Pro Stock – 6.634 seconds by Jason Line, Feb. ‘07; 209.49 mph by Greg Anderson, Feb. ‘07.
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NHRA POWERade Series (after one of 24 races for a championship worth $500,000):
FUNNY CAR – 1. Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang,112; 2. Cruz Pedregon, Advance Chevrolet, 93; 3. Tie, John Force, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, and Ashley Force, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 74 each; 5. Tie, Bob Tasca III, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang, Gary Scelzi, Oakley Dodge, Jack Beckman, Valvoline Dodge, and Gary Densham, Racebricks Chevrolet, 51 each; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray and Shoup Chevrolet, 38; 10. Jerry Toliver, RockStar Dodge Charger, 37. Also, 14. Mike Neff, Old Spice Ford Mustang, 32.
US Smokeless Showdown for Funny Cars (after seven of 23 qualifying races; top eight drivers to compete for a $100,00 top prize on Sept. 1, 2008 at Indianapolis): 1. Jack Beckman, 960; 2. Gary Scelzi, 885; 3. Robert Hight, Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, 875; 4. Tony Pedregon, 865; 5. Ashley Force, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 845; 6. Ron Capps, 830; 7. Jeff Arend, 820; 8. Jerry Toliver, 790; 9. Del Worsham, 695; 10. Gary Densham, 690. Also, John Force, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, 440, and Mike Neff, Old Spice Ford Mustang, 360.
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Television (all on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD; all times Eastern):
Sunday, Feb. 24 – Qualifying highlights, 2:30 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24 -- Repeat qualifying highlights, 11 am-12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24 – NHRA Race Day, 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24 – Pro racing highlights beginning at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 27 -- Repeat racing highlights beginning at 3 a.m.
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