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John Force Racing News

July 31, 2014
JFR READY TO WRAP UP WESTERN SWING
 

ROBERT HIGHT TARGETING BOOKEND WIN IN SEATTLE


SEATTLE (July 30, 2014) --- The Auto Club Funny Car team opened the 2014 Western Swing with a dominant win in Denver two weeks ago. Last weekend Hight again had a dominant car but a surprise first round loss stopped the 44 year-old from becoming just the second driver in Funny Car history to win the historic three races in three weeks Western Swing. This weekend at the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceway Hight will be looking to close out the Western Swing with his first win in Seattle.


Hight and his Auto Club team have qualified No. 1 four times but have never won in Seattle. The closest he came was a runner-up finish to teammate Eric Medlen in his rookie season (2005) and he hasn’t been to the finals since.


“We are really running well and last weekend in Sonoma was just a disappointment. I put the first round loss behind me and I am ready to try and get that first win in Seattle. If you can’t win three in a row in the Western Swing the next best thing is two out of three. John Force Racing has a streak going right now since we have won the last three races and I want to keep that going,” said Hight, the current Mello Yello points leader.


“We are continuing to focus on consistency and getting everything ready for Indy and the Countdown. Seattle is a race where you can see really quick runs because of the conditions. I think (crew chief) Mike Neff has a really good handle on the tune-up and I am rededicating myself to bringing my “A” game to my driving,” added Hight.


The competition had never been tougher in the Funny Car class with Hight and teammate John Force locked into the Countdown as the No. 1 and No. 2 drivers in the points. There are championship caliber drivers battling for one or the final spots in the Top Ten. One of the drivers in a heated fight is fellow Ford driver and Hight Seattle nemesis Tim Wilkerson who has ousted Hight from the Northwest Nationals three of the past five years.


“Tim Wilkerson is a great driver and he does it all on his team. Mike Neff did the same thing when he was driving and tuning. It is a huge workload and I think it helps keep you focused on the tasks at hand. That is why I like still being involved with my team on working on the Auto Club Mustang. It helps me block out distractions. Tim will be tough this weekend but so will John, Courtney (Force), Cruz (Pedregon), (Ron) Capps and the rest of the Funny Car drivers,” said Hight, a 34-time NHRA national event winner.


While Hight is looking to get another win to add to his record setting season he will also set a record for leading the Mello Yello points for 13 races when he leaves Seattle. Hight has a 119 point lead over John Force and as long as the former crewman turned driver qualifies for the race he will hold onto his points lead. Hight has five wins this season, a personal best, extending a streak that started his rookie season of winning at least two wins a season since 2005.


“It is great to lead the points and win multiple races in the regular season but the last six races are the most important. I am not looking past Seattle by any stretch of the imagination. There are three things left for our team to do. We want to win the Traxxas Shootout in Indy and then win the U.S. Nationals again. Of course our goal hasn’t changed since the Winternationals; we want another Mello Yello Funny Car championship,” said Hight.


With one more win this season Hight will become just the seventh Funny Car driver and the third JFR driver to win as many as six races in a single season.  The others are John Force, Tony Pedregon, Kenny Bernstein, Don Prudhomme, Cruz Pedregon and Bruce Larson.


 


WINNINGEST FEMALE IN FUNNY, COURTNEY FORCE CAR RETURNS TO MEMORABLE TRACK


SEATTLE (July 30, 2014) --- In July of 2012 Courtney Force won her first ever Funny Car race from the No. 14 qualified spot when she dismissed Cruz Pedregon, Bob Tasca III, John Force and Matt Hagan to secure her first Wally. Today, the 26-year-old is the winningest female in Funny Car and is preparing to return to the site of her first ever win. She will have a chance to take her Traxxas Ford Mustang to the Winner’s Circle to score her sixth career national event win at the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries.


“I love coming back to Seattle to race because it brings back so many great memories of my first Funny Car win. As soon as I drive onto the property, it all comes back and I get excited to compete.  I get flashbacks going down that left lane and turning off to see my first ever Wally waiting for me and celebrating in the Winner’s Circle with my team. It was an unforgettable feeling that makes me that much more excited to go back every year,” said Force.


At the last NHRA event in Sonoma, Calif., the second stop along the NHRA Mello Yello Series Western Swing, the 2012 NHRA Auto Club Rookie of the Year qualified No. 1 for the sixth time and picked up her fifth career win by taking down Peter Russo, Bob Tasca III, Matt Hagan and finally John Force in an emotional final round. It was the first time she has won at Sonoma and the third time she has picked up the win from the No. 1 spot.


“Coming off of a win in Sonoma and coming to a track that we have won at before gives you a little boost of confidence and excitement as a team. We are moving up in points and definitely showing progress as a strong and competitive team out here. We are looking at coming off of the Western Swing on a high note and hope to leave Seattle with a win. More importantly we want to try and maintain our position in the points or even slide up a spot by the end of the weekend,” said Force.


With her win, Force moved up a spot to No. 4 in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car point standings. With only two races left before the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, she is only 16 points (less than one round) out of the No. 3 spot.


“The key to success is learning how to have a good car in the heat and get it to run consistently. I'm so lucky to be a part of a hard working team and a positive team. We continue to work hard week after week and we try to always be making improvements,” said Force.


 


JOHN FORCE READY FOR FINAL STOP ON THE WESTERN SWING


SEATTLE (July 30, 2014) --- With two recent back-to-back runner-up finishes, John Force would like get at least one win during this year’s annual NHRA Western Swing. As the teams complete their annual trek through Denver, Sonoma and Seattle, the 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Champ would like to get his 141st career victory at this weekend’s 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals.


With the Western Swing wrapping up at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals, the 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Champion is a win waiting to happen, as crew chief Jimmy Prock has the 8,000 horsepower Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang running very consistently.


“We’ve been running good on the Western Swing, as Robert won in Denver and Courtney last weekend in Sonoma. John Force Racing can sweep this thing for our sponsors like Ford, Castrol, Auto Club, Traxxas and Peak,” said John Force.


As the Castrol GTX High Mileage team rolls up through northern California and into the northwest of Washington State, the reigning Funny Car champ has had his share of great and not so great moments at Pacific Raceways. John Force did set the track record for speed at 308.85 in 2011, but crossed the centerline and was disqualified in the first round the prior year, while pulling away from rival Jack Beckman. In 2008, the legendary driver failed to qualify for the field, and was the only Funny Car driver who didn’t make the show.


John Force’s performance at the Northwest Nationals is quite impressive, with a record seven wins (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2004). He’s also won two or more races within 22 different NHRA seasons.


With the Northwest Nationals being the final stop of three consecutive race weekends during the famed Western Swing, the drivers, crews and machinery is being pushed but John Force and his crew know the drill and are ready for another trip to the finals. The fact that John has already made the Countdown will not slow him up one bit this weekend, as he races full throttle for his sponsors, the fans, the crew and most importantly, for himself.


“We have great sponsors and even though we’re in the Countdown, it’s still our job to do good, go rounds and win races. We still have to get Courtney and Brittany in the show, so we’ll get the brain trust working again this weekend,” said John Force.


At last year’s race, John Force drove his Castrol GTX Mustang to a runner-up finish against veteran Ron Capps. This weekend, he knows the momentum is behind him as he qualified number on in Denver and any mechanical issues that may have plagued the Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang earlier this season are gone. Crew chief Jimmy Prock has not only given John a fast race car, but also a consistent one at that.


Even though John Force as a driver won’t repeat a sweep of the Western Swing, something that has eluded him since 1994, it doesn’t diminish his determination to win the final stop; the Northwest Nationals. John’s team drivers and crews have done their jobs, as they’ve won their third race in a row for Castrol and John Force Racing in the highly competitive Funny Car class.


Now, John is focused on chasing a run for an unprecedented 17th NHRA Mello Yello World Champion title, and as the Western Swing concludes this weekend at Pacific Raceways, the reigning NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car champ has already rewritten the record books. At last weekend’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals, John Force clinched his berth into the Countdown to the Championship for the 30th straight season.


With wins at this year’s NHRA Winternationals, Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, and final-round appearances at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Mile-High NHRA Nationals and NHRA Sonoma Nationals, we’re confident that John Force will get career win number 141 during this weekend’s NHRA Northwest Nationals.    


About Castrol


BP Lubricants USA Inc. markets premium lubricants and business–building programs directly to independent lube operators, service providers, new car dealers and leading retailers. Our leadership brands include Castrol® GTX® – a premium conventional motor oil; Castrol® GTX® High–Mileage™ – a premium synthetic blend designed for vehicles with over 75,000 miles; the Castrol® EDGE ® line of advanced full-synthetic super premium motor oils that offer unsurpassed strength and performance; as well as our range of commercial transport lubricants. To find out more about Castrol products and programs, please call 1–888–CASTROL or log on to www.castrol.com/us


 


BRITTANY FORCE STILL HAS SIGHTS SET ON WESTERN SWING       


SEATTLE (July 30, 2014) --- After qualifying first for the third time this season at last weekend’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Brittany Force was unable to capitalize on her dragster’s strong, consistent performance and go rounds. However, the 2013 NHRA Auto Club Rookie of the Year is not feeling sad or depressed. Being the daughter of the legendary John Force has taught the 28 year-old driver to move on and focus on the next race. She also brings this positive and upbeat attitude to her teammates who work on her 10,000 horsepower Castrol EDGE Dragster.


With the annual NHRA Western Swing about to wrap up at this weekend’s 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, Brittany is ready to climb back in the cockpit and race for her first Top Fuel win.  


“We were hoping for another trip to the finals in Sonoma last weekend, but we lost a cylinder on the opening round and it hurt us. I’ve already let it go, moved on and am focused on Seattle this weekend. I look at it as another opportunity to get this Castrol EDGE Dragster its first win,” said Brittany Force.


With her third runner-up finish at Bandimere Speedway two weekends ago, Brittany Force still remains in 7th place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel points standings, despite going out in the opening round in Sonoma. With only two races left after this weekend’s NHRA Northwest Nationals until the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship fields are set, Brittany knows her Castrol EDGE Dragster is capable of going to the finals again.  


“We ran so well at the Sonoma during qualifying. It was that same momentum we had at the Mile-High Nationals that took us to the final round. We’ll be fine for this weekend in Seattle, and my guys are doing an awesome job on the Castrol EDGE Dragster,” said Brittany Force.


When Brittany was a Sportsman Racer, she drove her A/Fuel Dragster to a semi-final finish at the 2009 Northwest Nationals before losing to sister Courtney, who went on to win the race. During last year’s race, Brittany qualified 13th but lost in round one. However, that’s history and the 2014 season has seen a rejuvenated Brittany Force and Castrol EDGE team. Still looking for her first Top Fuel win, Brittany’s runner-up this year at Phoenix, Chicago and Denver has showed the fans and competitor she’s a contender. Brittany is also one of only seven women with as many as three No. 1 starts in a pro class.  Sisters Ashley (15) and Courtney (5) are among the other very competitive female drivers.


Led by crew chief Todd Smith, Dean “Guido” Antonelli and the rest of the hardworking Castrol EDGE team, they’re giving Brittany one very fast and powerful machine. Knowing you’ve got a team like this behind you adds even more confidence to Brittany when she’s behind the wheel of her race car.


Armed with the valuable knowledge from these past few races and the fact this is Brittany’s second race at Pacific Raceways in Top Fuel, she knows the Castrol EDGE team is tough and can give any opponent in the next lane a run for the money. Even with this being the final race of the annual Western Swing, Brittany is not tired from these three back-to-back races. If anything, Brittany feels she’s more focused as driver.


About Castrol


BP Lubricants USA Inc. markets premium lubricants and business–building programs directly to independent lube operators, service providers, new car dealers and leading retailers. Our leadership brands include Castrol® GTX® – a premium conventional motor oil; Castrol® GTX® High–Mileage™ – a premium synthetic blend designed for vehicles with over 75,000 miles; the Castrol® EDGE ® line of advanced full-synthetic super premium motor oils that offer unsurpassed strength and performance; as well as our range of commercial transport lubricants. To find out more about Castrol products and programs, please call 1–888–CASTROL or log on to www.castrol.com/us.  


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