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September 2, 2009
Pre-Race Package for the 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
August Sept. 4-7, 2009
O’Reilly Raceway Park
Indianapolis, Ind.
18th and final event setting the field for the Full Throttle Countdown to One playoffs, a six-race shootout that begins Sept. 18-20 with the second running of the NHRA Carolina Nationals a ZMax Raceway at Concord.

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Robert “Top Gun” Hight hopes that history repeats itself this week. If so, the driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang will earn the 10th and final starting spot in the NHRA’s Countdown to One playoffs. If not, well, anything is possible.

If Hight does what he’s done the last three years, which is reach the final round of drag racing’s oldest, largest and most prestigious event, and Cruz Pedregon and Matt Hagan also do what they’ve done in the recent past, which is bow out in the first or second round, it will give Hight another chance at a title that has remained just beyond his grasp.

Although he’s never finished worse than fifth in NHRA Funny Car points, Hight enters this week’s race in 12th place, 38 points behind Pedregon, who occupies the 10th and final transfer position, and seven points behind Hagan. If he is to make the playoffs, he’ll have to do so in a car prepared by Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly, who usually are assigned to John Force’s Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang.

Two of the other three JFR drivers – Force, the 14-time NHRA champion, and his daughter, Ashley Force Hood – already have locked up their Countdown positions. Second year pro Mike Neff needs only to qualify his Ford Drive One Mustang to join them in a field that will begin racing for the $500,000 championship when the tour moves to Charlotte, N.C., for the second annual NHRA Carolina Nationals.

Force Hood, who tested impressively last week in the Castrol GTX Mustang, is the highest placed of the five Ford drivers currently in the Countdown. After leading the points a month ago, the 26-year-old is in third place behind Tony Pedregon and Ron Capps.

Also competing at ORP will be the youngest of Force’s daughters – Brittany, 23, and Courtney, 21. Both will drive in the Top Alcohol Dragster class for veteran crew chief Jerry Darien, who won the Top Alcohol title with their sister, Ashley, in 2004. Brittany will be at the wheel of the BrandSource dragster; Courtney at the controls of the Sanyo Supercharged HD dragster.

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Wins – 8, four by John Force for Castrol GTX High Mileage (1993, 1996, 1998, 2002); one by Gary Densham for the Auto Club of Southern California (2004); two by Robert Hight for the Auto Club of Southern California (2006, 2008); one by Ashley Force Hood for Castrol GTX (2004, Top Alcohol Dragster).
Last year – Robert Hight took the Auto Club Ford to the final round for the third straight year and won his second U.S. Nationals title, beating teammate Mike Neff in the second round and “Fast Jack” Beckman in the final.
Notable #1 – John Force has failed to qualify the last two years at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the event in which he has most often qualified No. 1 (11 times).
Notable #2 – Ashley Force Hood earned her first national event victory when she won the Top Alcohol Dragster title at the 2004 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals the same year that Gary Densham won the Funny Car title for John Force Racing, Inc.
Notable #3 – Crew chief Jimmy Prock has put a Funny Car in the final round four of the last five years at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, winning with Gary Densham in 2004 and Robert Hight in 2006 and 2008. He’ll try to win this year with his third different driver as the temporary crew chief to John Force on the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford.

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PRO POINTS (2009 NHRA Full Throttle Series point standings)

FUNNY CAR – *1. Tony Pedregon, Q Racing Chevrolet, 1292; *2. Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger, 1219; *3. Ashley Force Hood, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 1128; *4. Bob Tasca III, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang, 1008; *5. Jack Beckman, Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger, 996; *6. Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, 982; *7. Del Worsham, Al-Anabi Toyota Solara, 929; *8. John Force, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, 919; 9. Mike Neff, Ford Drive One Ford Mustang, 872; 10. Cruz Pedregon, Advance Toyota Solara, 801. Also, 11. Matt Hagan, Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger, 770; 12. Robert Hight, Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, 763.

TOP FUEL – *1. Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster, 1435; *2. Larry Dixon, Al-Anabi dragster, 1248; *3. Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster, 1194; *4. Cory McClenathan, Fram dragster, 1040; *5. Brandon Bernstein, Budweiser dragster, 1029;
*6. Morgan Lucas, GEICO Insurance dragster, 981; *7. Spencer Massey, US Smokeless Tobacco dragster, 980; *8. Shawn Langdon, Lucas Oil dragster, 932; 9. Doug Kalitta, Kalitta Racing dragster, 765; 10. Clay Millican, Nitrofish dragster, 682. Also, 11. Joe Hartley, Hartley Racing dragster, 679.

PRO STOCK – *1. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Jeg’s Chevrolet Cobalt, 1438; *2. Jason Line, Summit Racing Pontiac GXP, 1373; *3. Mike Edwards, Young Life/Penhall Pontiac, 1349; *4. Greg Anderson, Summit Racing Pontiac GXP, 1222; *5. Allen Johnson, Team Mopar Dodge Stratus, 1076; *6. Greg Stanfield, Attitude Apparel Pontiac GXP, 862; *7. Ron Krisher, Valvoline Chevrolet Cobalt, 847; 8. Kurt Johnson, ACDelco Chevrolet Cobalt, 824; 9. Rickie Jones, Quarter-Max/RJ Race Cars Dodge Stratus, 742; 10. Warren Johnson, K&N Filters Pontiac GXP, 715. Also, 11. Johnny Gray, Johnny Gray Racing Dodge Stratus, 706.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE – *1. Eddie Krawiec, Englishtown, N.J., Harley-Davidson V-Rod, 1026; *2. Andrew Hines, Brownsburg, Ind., Harley-Davidson V-Rod, 837; *3. Hector Arana, Milltown, Ind., Buell, 722; *4. Matt Smith, King, N.C., Suzuki, 720; *5. Douglas Horne, Aberdeen, Md., Buell, 685; *6. Craig Treble, Harvey, La., Suzuki, 673; 7. Matt Guidera, Loomis, Calif., Buell, 583; 8. Michael Phillips, Baton Rouge, La., Suzuki, 500; 9. Shawn Gann, Stoneville, N.C., Buell, 475; 10. Karen Stoffer, Smith, Nev., Suzuki, 459. Also, 11. Steve Johnson, Birmingham, Ala., Suzuki, 457; 12. Junior Pippin, Conyers, Ga., Buell, 409.

*clinched position in Countdown to One playoffs.

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TELEVISION (all on ESPN2, all times Eastern Daylight):
Qualifying – Sunday, Sept. 6, 11:30-2 p.m; 5-7 p.m.
NHRA RaceDay – Sunday, Sept. 6, 11 a.m.
Race Highlights – Monday, Sept. 7, 1-6 p.m.
Repeat race highlights – Friday, Sept. 11, 3-5 a.m.
Sportsman highlights – Sunday, Sept. 13, 6-7 p.m.
**John Force on SPEED TV's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain -- Sunday, Sept. 6, 10 p.m.

**first in multi-part interview on safety

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NEXT EVENTS (2009 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to One):
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
22nd annual O’Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Oct. 2-4, Memphis, Tenn.
4th annual NHRA Virginia Nationals, Oct. 9-11, Richmond, Va.
9th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, Oct. 30-Nov. 1, Las Vegas, Nev.
45th annual Automobile Club Finals, Nov. 12-15, Pomona, Calif.

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For Immediate Release
14-Time Series Champ Tries to Put DNQs Behind Him

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As John Force prepares this week for his 30th Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, his first in a quarter century without Austin Coil as his crew chief, he must wonder which of his Castrol GTX® High Mileage™ Ford Mustangs will show up? Dr. Jekyll? Or Mr. Hyde?

When racing begins Friday at O'Reill


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