JOHN FORCE LOOKING FOR MORE RECORDS AT CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS (September 1, 2015) --- With four wins at the biggest race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series John Force has his eyes set on getting that fifth win and tying legendary Funny Car driver Ed “Ace” McCulloch with the most all-time Funny Car wins at the storied Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. The winningest driver in NHRA history last won the U.S. Nationals in 2002 but last year he came up a few thousandths of a second short against Alexis DeJoria in the final round.
In a final for the ages Force was closing in quickly on DeJoria but he ran out of track. Force’s Funny Car turned-in a 4.039 second pass at 319.67 mph to DeJoria’s 4.038 at 310.34 mph. John Force has runner-upped at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals three times (1991, 1995 and 2010) prior to last year in addition to his four wins.
“I remember that final round. It was a close race and both teams were at the top of their games. I like my chances this year with a new young team. Jon Schaffer has gotten better all year and he was pretty good when he started. This is the last regular season race and we are locked into the Countdown so we can be aggressive,” said Force, who has four final round appearances in 2015.
So far this year Force has been in rebuilding mode getting acclimated to a new Chevrolet Camaro SS body as well as taking care of new sponsors like Peak Anti-Freeze, Lucas Oil and Monster Energy. The key for the team owner who is always selling is also taking care of his long standing partners Auto Club, Traxxas, and Mac Tools.
“This season we have had a lot of change and we are pulling together at the right time. My team is young but they have a lot of energy and I get motivated by that energy. This is Indy, the biggest race of the year and I will be ready. I’ll be in the all-white Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car and we want to represent Chevy. I’ll be spending some time with their customers on Thursday and we will be signing autographs like we always do every day,” said Force.
Force locked into the Countdown in Brainerd and will finish the season in the Top Ten for the 30th consecutive year. That kind of top level consistency combined with season long success has been a hallmark for John Force Racing. The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals has also been the scene of a decade long dominance by JFR from 2006 until last season JFR has had a Funny Car in the final round picking up wins every year with the exception of last year and 2007.
In that time period Hight has three wins and a runner-up and Mike Neff and Ashley Force Hood each have back to back wins. Ironically Force has only a lone runner-up finish last year to contribute to that nearly decade of dominance.
“We have had a lot of success at Indy. I would like to get that fifth win but I also want to see Robert or Courtney or Brittany in the winner’s circle. This is a special race track and I love that all the legends raced here. My heroes all won here (Don) Prudhomme, (Don) Garlits, (Kenny) Bernstein and all the great drivers. I am ready to get into my Chevy hot rod and have some fun,” said an enthused Force.
ROBERT HIGHT DRIVING TOWARDS BACK TO BACK WINS
INDIANAPOLIS (September 1, 2015) --- After picking up his first win of the season at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals two weeks ago Robert Hight and the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team are looking for their second win in a row and another big win at the Chevrolet Performance US Nationals.
“The momentum from a Brainerd win and then strong showing in Indy just gives us more confidence. We never lost our confidence even when we were struggling a little. I think our success will also help all our teams. The goal is to get all three of these Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Cars into the Countdown and also have them running at the top of the pack. You have seen that performance recently in qualifying but we also want to have team success on Monday for the US Nationals,” said Hight, who sits No. 8 in the Mello Yello point standings.
On the strength of the Lucas Oil win Hight locked his team into the lucrative Traxxas Nitro Shootout that will be contested on Sunday as part of eliminations. He picked up the final guaranteed spot and will face Matt Hagan in the first round. While Hight will be striving to pick up the $100,000 paycheck for the Shootout he is also focused on getting the race started on good footing.
“The goal is to try and win the Traxxas Shootout and the race. That starts with a good run on Friday and then we move into Saturday and Sunday. You definitely want to get as high in the points for the Countdown for sure. The best thing you can do is just stay focused and try and get as many points as possible. Once the points reset after Indy it is a whole new ball game,” said Hight.
In 2013 Hight picked up his third Chevrolet Performance US Nationals win in a great race versus Jack Beckman. Hight’s two previous wins came in 2008 and 2006 over Jack Beckman and Whit Bazemore. The Auto Club Chevrolet driver also has runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2009. The stretch from 2006 through 2009 was a dominant four year run with four final round appearances at the biggest race of the NHRA season.
“We have had a lot of success at Indy. I think that has something to do with how much support we get from all our John Force Racing employees. We have a lot of the people from the shop plus family members so I think that is what makes that race so special. The best way to approach Indy is to try and take it one day at a time. You have to just stay focused on each qualifying run and then also manage your time around the Traxxas Shootout,” added Hight.
The combination of Hight and crew chief Mike Neff should be a tough combo this weekend. Between the two drivers they have five U.S. Nationals wins in the past ten years.
“I get a lot of confidence from Mike. He doesn’t lose his cool and you can just see he understands the importance of the situation and he makes great calls with the race car. He isn’t going to go out there and try and run world record times but he will try and get the most out of the conditions. I am excited about this race and I just want to get as many round wins as possible for this Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro,” said Hight, a 35-time Funny Car winner.
COURTNEY FORCE READY FOR HISTORY AT CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS (September 1, 2015) --- For the fourth time since her professional Funny Car debut, Courtney Force is spending Labor Day weekend with family and fans at the 61st annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the last stop in the 18-race regular season. This year, the event known as the world’s most prestigious drag race may double as one of the most important weekends of the 27-year-old’s professional Funny Car career.
“The U.S. Nationals is huge for our Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team,” Force said. “It’s the biggest and most popular race of our season. Racers make history for winning Indy.”
The seven-time NHRA Funny Car event winner is No. 11 in the NHRA Funny Car point standings preceding the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. She sits 73 points behind Alexis DeJoria in the No. 10 position. Indy is a points-and-a-half race, meaning 30 points are awarded for a round win and winning the race means 150 points instead of the usual 100.
“Our focus is going rounds and doing our best at getting into the Top Ten for the Countdown to the Championship. We are in a tough position being in the No. 11 spot, but we are going to do all we can to make it happen. We are staying positive and focused with the big weekend ahead,” said Force.
The Traxxas driver’s seven career wins make her the winningest female Funny Car driver in history. She surpassed her sister, Ashley Force Hood, for most Funny Car wins in a season last year in St. Louis when she claimed her fourth victory of 2014. She has had three strong Top Ten finishes in 2012 (5th), 2013 (7th) and 2014 (4th).
“We are definitely focusing on ourselves going into this race. We are going to try to put ourselves in the best position possible to go rounds, pick up the points needed and let the rest take care of itself. We are going to fight until the end,” said Force.
The 2012 Auto Club Road to the Future award for NHRA’s top “Rookie of the Year” has made 88 starts since her Funny Car debut and has qualified for every national event. She has started from the front of the Funny Car field nine times and has raced her way to fourteen final rounds with her Traxxas team.
“We've had a lot of ups and downs this season making it my most challenging season yet, but I hope there is something big to come from these hurdles. We are staying positive as a team and doing our best to learn from our mistakes. We will continue to push forward to be better in the long run, even if it is taking us a little longer this season,” Force said.
BRITTANY FORCE READY FOR CHALLENGING CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS (September 1, 2015) --- Third year Top Fuel driver Brittany Force is looking to make the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals a long weekend. The race already features three days of qualifying with eliminations held on Monday as well as the high stakes Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Saturday for Top Fuel. Plus this year the NHRA is awarding pints and a half for each round win so there are a total of 150 points available on race day. In each of the past two years Force has won the Traxxas Shootout fan vote lottery and the six-time Top Fuel finalist is hoping to keep that streak alive.
“We got close to getting a win in Englishtown that would have locked us into the Traxxas Shootout but I am very excited about the support my team got from the fans. We will have a really good chance on Wednesday at the lottery in downtown Indy. just want to have a chance to show off this Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster and also have my team get a shot at that $100,000 winner’s check. Todd Smith and Ronnie Thompson are great crew chiefs and I know they will give a great race car for the Shootout if we win the lottery,” said Force.
Two weeks ago Force narrowly missed picking up her first Top Fuel win in a close final round with Richie Crampton at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. It was Force’s second final round of the 2015 season and propelled her to the No. 7 spot in the points. The Monster Energy Top Fuel team is less than a round outside of the Top Five going into the last regular season race.
“We want to get this win for this Monster Energy team. Overall when you look at our entire weekend (in Brainerd) we struggled some in qualifying and to come out here on race day and take down some tough competitors. Drivers like Antron Brown and Doug Kalitta and go all the way to the final I don’t think you can be too disappointed by that. We moved up in the points and we are closer to clinching a spot in the Countdown. I have an awesome team behind me and I am so proud of every single one of them. I know how hard they have worked and it just wasn’t our weekend,” said Force who has qualified for the past two Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
In her two previous attempts at winning the biggest race of the NHRA season Force has qualified No. 7 (2014) and No. 4 (2013) but unfortunately the 2013 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner has yet to advance out of the first round. Force has turned her momentum around at the past two races this season, Seattle and Brainerd, where she was winless in two previous attempts. Force is looking to continue that trend this weekend in Indy.
“This Monster Energy team has been great all season. I can’t say enough about all my guys. Since Monster Energy came on board we have really stepped up our performance. We have steadily moved up the points and heading into Indy we want to move up as far as we can. This is the biggest race of the year and we want to try and get that Indy Top Fuel win,” added Force.