JOHN FORCE STILL LEADING CHARGE WITH PEAK CHEVROLET CAMARO
TOPEKA, KS (May 21, 2015) --- It is hard to find an athlete more focused on the task at hand than 16-time Funny Car champion John Force. It is equally hard to find anyone more involved in so many aspects of their business than Force. Leading up to the Southern Nationals last week Force spent nearly a week straight at John Force Racing’s expansive Brownsburg, Indiana race shop logoing and designing the trailer, Top Fuel dragster, three Funny Cars, helmets and firesuits to welcome new primary sponsor Monster Energy. This week leading up to the NHRA Kansas Nationals Force will have a few less details to button up but he will still be as high energy as ever.
“We brought on Monster Energy last weekend to Brittany’s Top Fuel team. I was sleeping on the floor of the shop to make sure we got everything done. I have to thank the whole team plus all our suppliers for getting everything done in time. My team is back in the blue Chevrolet Camaro with Peak Antifreeze and Coolant so we want to get them taken care of too. It has been a busy year already,” said Force.
Force raced into the winner’s circle for the first time this season at the Las Vegas Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals. It was a momentous moment for the winningest driver in NHRA history. He had a new crew chief, Jon Schaffer, leading his team with all new crew members. He was driving a brand new Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car and he has new sponsors like Peak, Lucas Oil along with Auto Club, Traxxas, Mac Tools all looking to see if the team could continue to get wins.
“You have to deliver for the sponsors in this business. We had a lot of things go right for us in Las Vegas and we overcame some obstacles. We had to change motors before the semi-finals and then our tow strap broke on the way to the staging lanes. The whole team pulled together to get that win and that is what gives me heart. You have to have heart to win these races,” said Force, who won for the 142nd time in Las Vegas.
The two-time Traxxas Shootout winner and defending Traxxas Shootout champion has locked up his spot in the 2015 $100,000 to win specialty race with the Vegas victory. Force is now focused on getting his teammates a guaranteed spot in the premier big money specialty race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
“Robert and the Auto Club Chevy Funny Car team are right up there in the points. I got the Vegas win barely over his team. Courtney and the Traxxas Funny Car team are making some moves and they are in the Top Ten as well. I know (Traxxas Crew Chiefs) Ron Douglas and Dan Hood are working with all the crew chiefs like Mike Neff and Jon Schaffer to get all our Funny Cars running as quick as possible. I am thrilled we have a sponsor for Brittany’s Top Fueler. Now we need to keep getting better. She has been to four final rounds and qualified No. 1 three times so we need to keep on going rounds with her. The competition is so tough out here,” said Force.
FOR 20 YEARS TOPEKA HAS BEEN SPECIAL FOR ROBERT HIGHT
TOPEKA, KS (May 21, 2015) --- In 1995 Robert Hight joined John Force Racing as a crew member. Heartland Park Topeka was the track Hight earned his license to drive Funny Cars professionally. In 2011 Hight won the Funny Car title for the second time and captured the 200th Funny Car win for John Force Racing. This weekend Hight will be looking for his first win of the 2015 season at the NHRA Kansas Nationals and he will try and make a few more memories at the famed track outside of Kansas City.
“I love racing at Heartland Park Topeka. That place is special to me and I have a lot of fond memories. My career got started in Topeka and I feel like that was yesterday. I can’t believe it has been twenty years since I started working for John Force Racing,” said Hight, who has won 34 times on the NHRA tour.
Hight and the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team have raced to three final rounds with the most recent being a runner-up finish in 2013. Hight’s back to back wins in 2010 and 2011 were also special to the 2009 Mello Yello Funny Car champion.
“You always want to defend you titles at races. Getting the back to back wins in 2010 and 2011 was pretty cool especially when the second win was the 200th for John Force Racing. I was racing Mike Neff in that 2011 final and now Mike is my crew chief. We have been working on a consistent tune-up and I think we are in a good position to turn the corner this weekend,” said Hight.
So far in 2015 HIght and the Auto Club Chevy Camaro Funny Car have raced to a final round appearance (Las Vegas) and two additional semi-final appearances. His consistency over the first seven races has kept him in the top five in the Mello Yello point standings. From the No. 4 position entering this weekend’s race Hight is only seven points out of third place and he is well within striking distance of the No. 1 spot.
Leading the Mello Yello point standings is something Hight has done at least once every year of his professional career with the exception of one season. Hight has also won at least two Funny Car national events every year of his professional career.
“You want to win races for the fans and your sponsors of course. You also want to be one of the first seven drivers to win each season because of the Traxxas Shootout at Indy. John has locked up his spot and I want to lock up a spot for this Auto Club Chevy. No one is going to win a championship in the first part of the season but you can figure out a lot of things that will help you in the Countdown. That is what we are doing,” said Hight.
Hight has put his Auto Club Funny Car in the top qualifying spot four times since 2005. The last time Hight started from the No.1 spot he went on win the Kansas Nationals in 2010.
COURTNEY FORCE RETURNING TO TOPEKA SITE OF HISTORIC WIN
TOPEKA, KS (May 21, 2015) --- One year ago, Courtney Force and her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS team arrived in Topeka, not knowing what the weekend would have in store for their team or how they would make history for the women in the NHRA. Force qualified No. 1 in the Funny Car field, picking up bonus points along the way, while her sister, Brittany Force, went to the top spot in the Top Fuel field. It was an enormous achievement that no sisters have accomplished in the past.
“My Traxxas team has always qualified in the top half here, making improvements on our ETs each year and after last year, we're hoping we can go into this race with the same confidence we left with,” said Force.
The 26-year-old Funny Car pilot and 2012 NHRA Rookie of the Year went on to claim her fourth career Funny Car win, tie her sister Ashley Force Hood for most Funny Car wins by a female and pick up the 100th National win for women in the NHRA. To say the 2014 NHRA event at Heartland Park Topeka was a great weekend for Force would be a major understatement.
“I’m excited to get back to Topeka,” said Force. “There are a lot of great memories here for our Traxxas team. Not only was it special for us, but it was a big weekend for the women in our sport. Getting that win marked the 100th victory for women in the NHRA and that Wally will always be special to me. I loved all the excitement it brought to the fans and drivers. It was a monumental win for the women, and it really shows how far our sport has come and how competitive these women really are.”
Last year, Force dismissed Dale Creasy Jr., Jeff Arend, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Cruz Pedregon en route to her monumental win. Today, she has eight No. 1 qualifiers, 13 final rounds and seven tour victories for Traxxas, The Fastest Name in Radio Control. She is the current record holder for most wins in a season by a female in Funny Car as well as most wins overall by a female in the NHRA Funny Car category.
“We’re looking forward to coming back and hopefully getting back-to-back wins here. This team has struggled a little bit since the beginning of the season and I hope Topeka is the place where we can get ourselves back in the Winner’s Circle where we belong and get locked into the Traxxas Nitro Shootout.
We’re fighting hard and we’re working through these battles each weekend. We just brought Monster Energy on board in Atlanta and we’re hoping to get them a win. We have a little added pressure knowing we got the win here last year, but we’re going to do our best and work hard to get our Chevy in the Winner’s Circle,” said Force.
BRITTANY FORCE HAS MONSTER TOP FUELER SET-UP FOR SUCCESS IN TOPEKA
TOPEKA, KS (May 21, 2015) --- Last week Brittany Force announced she would be driving the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster and in the span of three day in Atlanta the third year driver unveiled a redesigned Top Fuel dragster, made a solid effort in qualifying and posted the best run of her weekend in the first round. This weekend heading into the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka Force will be looking to continue the momentum that she has been building all season.
“I am so proud of this Monster Energy team. We made the good runs in Atlanta and we steadily improved. We really stepped up in the first round but we came up a little short,” said Force, a four-time Top Fuel finalist.
Last year at the NHRA Kansas Nationals Brittany Force made history with her sister Courtney when both sisters qualified No. 1 in their respective categories. In Top Fuel Brittany Force would race to a semi-final finish and the she would be on the starting line to watch her sister Courtney Force outrun Cruz Pedregon and win the 100th pro race by a female in NHRA history.
“Last year in Topeka was amazing. Earning the No. 1 qualifying spot at the same event as my sister was really a lot of fun. We both went into the press room on Saturday night and then our mom and dad came in. It was a great family moment. Courtney and I were both trying to get that 100th win by a female and if I couldn’t win it I am really glad my sister got it,” said Force, who finished in the Mello Yello Top Ten last season.
So far this season Force has four quarter-final finishes and has narrowly missed a couple semi-final appearances. She has won rounds from the top half and the bottom half of the qualified field. The performance of the Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster is coming around at the right time and the racing season kicks into high gear. Force knows that impressive results will help in the point standings and also with her new sponsor Monster Energy.
“With the sponsorship, you get the driver and you get the race car. Monster Energy is all about living life on the edge, extreme sports. That's exactly where we are in drag racing. It's extreme. I was so proud to wear this Monster Energy uniform last weekend. So many fans came up to me and congratulated me on getting Monster as a sponsor,” said Force.
“As Monster says it, it's a lifestyle in a can. Their lifestyle matches right up to the lifestyle of a drag racer. You're out on the road. It's an extreme sport. It just goes hand in hand. It really seems to work out,” added Force. “More than anything it's funny because, I mean, since I started competing out here in the Top Fuel car in the professional ranks, my guys since day one have stocked their coolers with Monster. We've always had it in our pits. It's something we've loved. It's just what we drink. We got pretty lucky to be teamed up with Monster.”