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2013 NHRA: Team Castrol/JFR Pre-Race Stats Package For Englishtown
Posted by: newsla on May 29, 2013 - 10:34 AM
2013 NHRA: Team Castrol/JFR Pre-Race Stats Package For Englishtown

Track Prep: Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
(A look at the track on which the 44th annual Toyota SuperNationals will be contested starting Friday)

Track history: Built in 1965 by the Napp brothers, Vincent and Louis, the track was operated for years by Vincent’s sons, Vinnie and Richard, who transformed it into what at the time was the premier drag racing facility on the East Coast and one of the most active tracks in the nation. During the match race era, it was not uncommon for Raceway Park to host separate events on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Raceway Park first hosted an NHRA tour event in 1968 (the NHRA Springnationals). After a two-year absence, it returned to the circuit in 1971 as the permanent home of the NHRA Summernationals, now the Toyota Summernationals.
Track composition: Concrete with a transition to asphalt at 700 feet.
Track elevation: 60 feet above sea level.
Track direction: Northeast to southwest
Track records: 3.964 seconds by Ron Capps, June 1, 2012, and 320.89 mph by Mike Neff, June 1, 2012, in Funny Car; 3.728 seconds by Spencer Massey, June 1, 2012, and 329.91 mph by Spencer Massey, June 1, 2012.


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* * * *
Flashback to . . . .
SUNDAY, MAY 17, 1998

At the quarter mile distance at which races were run until the middle of the 2008 season, John Force was the first Funny Car driver to break the 4.90, 4.80 and 4.70 second barriers. His biggest performance accomplishment, however, was the one he achieved at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in the final round of the 1998 Mopar Nationals when he drove his Castrol GTX Ford past Jim Epler at a finish line speed of 323.89 miles per hour.

Until the Englishtown race, no Funny Car driver ever had broken 320 miles per hour. Force and Cruz Pedregon had run 317, but in Friday’s qualifying Force was clocked at 323.35 mph, faster even than Cory McClenathan’s then Top Fuel dragster record (322.92 mph). That was just a precursor for what was to come, however. On race day, Force ran 321, 321, 318 and, finally, 323.89 mph, a mark that would stand for seven months (until Nov. 1) as the sport’s overall speed record.

* * * *

The Drivers

JOHN FORCE, 64, is coming off his best performance this season at the wheel of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. In qualifying No. 1 for the 141st time in his career, the 15-time NHRA Funny Car champion lowered the Heartland Park-Topeka track record to 4.043 seconds before dropping a narrow second round decision to reigning series champion Jack Beckman.

BRITTANY FORCE, 26, will try to get her Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster beyond the second round this week for the first time in her rookie season. The graduate of Cal State-Fullerton, who also studied briefly at New York’s Hunter College, is trying to push into the Mello Yello Top 10 at the wheel of the first Castrol-branded Top Fuel dragster to compete since 1995.

ROBERT HIGHT, 43, flashed the form that carried him to the 2009 series championship two weeks ago when he earned runner-up honors in the Kansas Nationals at the wheel of an Auto Club Ford Mustang that has been mired in a year-long slump. Hight’s first final round appearance since May of 2012 enabled him to move up to sixth in Mello Yello points behind his sister-in-law, Courtney Force.

COURTNEY FORCE, 24, not only is the highest-ranked Team Castrol driver in the current points standings (No. 5), she also is the only one with a victory this season. Last year’s winner of the Auto Club’s Road to the Future Award as the NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year started the season with a victory in the O’Reilly Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., followed by a runner-up finish at Las Vegas.

* * * *

Traxxas Nitro Shootout

Courtney Force, the 2012 NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year, was the final Funny Car qualifier for last year’s inaugural Traxxas Nitro Shootout. This year, she was the first Funny Car driver to qualify for a shot at the $100,000 top prize.

Seven of the eight positions in Funny Car and Top Fuel will be determined by performance in the 17 NHRA Full Throttle Series events leading up to the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Ind. The first seven season winners in Funny Car and Top Fuel will be seeded into the starting lineup with an eighth starting position determined by fan interaction and a lottery.

John Force Racing has a history of success in NHRA bonus races including All-Star races contested in the old Winston Drag Racing Series plus the Big Bud Shootout and its successors, the Skoal Showdown and the U.S. Smokeless Shootout.

John Force won the inaugural Traxxas Funny Car Shootout and also earned the biggest single event payday in NHRA racing history when he won the 1999 Winston Showdown at Bristol, Tenn. ($210,000). Overall, JFR drivers have won nine times in bonus races and five times in Winston All-Star events.

Traxxas Nitro Shootout qualifiers as of June 1, 2013:

FUNNY CAR Qualifiers TOP FUEL Qualifiers

COURTNEY FORCE, Traxxas Ford Mustang SHAWN LANGDON, Al-Anabi dragster
RON CAPPS, NAPA Dodge Charger TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army dragster
JOHNNY GRAY, Pitch Energy Dodge Charger ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools dragster
CRUZ PEDREGON, Snap-on Toyota Camry SPENCER MASSEY, Schumacher dragster
MATT HAGAN, Rocky/Mopar Dodge Charger BOB VANDERGRIFF JR., C&J dragster

* * * *

MELLO YELLO POINT STANDINGS (After eight of 18 events leading up to the Countdown to 1 playoffs)

1. Johnny Gray, Pitch Energy Dodge, 591
2. Cruz Pedregon, Snap-on Tools Toyota, 581
3. Matt Hagan, Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge, 568
4. Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge, 512
5. Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang, 485
6.Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, 457
7. Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang, 447
8. Jack Beckman, Valvoline Dodge, 444
9. Del Worsham, DHL Toyota, 397
10. John Force, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 385

1. Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster, 665
2. Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi dragster, 631
3. Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster, 593
4. Spencer Massey, Schumacher Electric dragster, 541
5. Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools dragster, 470
6. Khalid alBalooshi, Al-Anabi dragster, 442
7. Brandon Bernstein, Protect the Harvest dragster, 414
8. Morgan Lucas, GEICO Powersports dragster, 409
9. Bob Vandergriff Jr., C&J Energy dragster, 358
10. David Grubic, Optima Batteries dragster, 317
11. Clay Millican, Parts Plus dragster, 332
12. Steve Torrence, Capco Contractors dragster, 306
13. Brittany Force, Castrol EDGE Ford dragster, 270

* * * *

TELEVISION (all on ESPN2, all times Eastern Daylight):

Qualifying highlights – Saturday, June 1, 5-6 p.m., and Sunday, June 2, 1-2 a.m.
Race highlights – Sunday, June 2, 4:30-7 p.m.

* * * *

JFR by the numbers

0 number of times John Force has failed to qualify for the Toyota Summernationals, an event in which he has made 31 starts.
1 win this season for John Force Racing, Inc., that by Courtney Force in the season-opening O’Reilly Winternationals at Pomona, Calif.
4 different JFR Funny Car winners in the Toyota Summernationals – John Force, Tony Pedregon, Gary Densham and Mike Neff.
14 years since John Force last won at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, his longest victory drought at any track in the Mello Yello Series.
17 NHRA Funny Car championships for John Force Racing, Inc., 15 won by Force and one each contributed by Tony Pedregon and Robert Hight.
18 races without a victory to start the 2009 season for Robert Hight, who nevertheless won the championship in the Auto Club Ford Mustang by winning three of six races in the Countdown.
25 seasons in which John Force has won at least one NHRA tour event.
320.89 track speed record at 1,000 feet set last year by Mike Neff in the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, the car on which he is serving this year as crew chief to John Force.

* * * *

NEXT EVENTS (2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series):

June 14-16 13th annual Ford Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn.
June 21-23 Inaugural Auto-Plus New England Nationals, Epping, N.H.
June 28-30 16th annual O’Reilly Route 66 Nationals, Chicago, Ill.
July 5-7 7th annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals, Norwalk, Ohio
July 19-21 34th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals, Denver, Colo.
July 26-28 26th annual Sonoma Nationals, Sonoma, Calif.
Aug. 2-4 26th annual O’Reilly Northwest Nationals, Seattle, Wash.
Aug. 16-18 32nd annual Lucas Oil Nationals, Brainerd, Minn.
Aug. 29-Sept. 2 59th U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis, Ind.

Countdown to the Mello Yellow Championship:

Sept. 13-15 6th annual Carolina Nationals, Charlotte, N.C.
Sept. 19-22 28th annual AAA Texas Fall Nationals, Dallas, Texas
Sept. 27-29 2nd annual AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals, Madison, Ill.
Oct. 4-6 29th annual Auto-Plus Nationals, Reading, Pa.
Oct. 25-27 13th annual Las Vegas Nationals, Las Vegas, Nev.
Nov. 7-10 49th annual Auto Club Finals, Pomona, Calif.

* * * *

NHRA Funny Car Division, most times No. 1 qualifier

John Force ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 141
Cruz Pedregon ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 52
Don Prudhomme ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 50
Robert Hight ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 44
Kenny Bernstein ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 37
Tony Pedregon ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 37

* * * *
John Force Racing: we’ve got questions

Which of the following drivers never has reached the final round of the Toyota Summernationals in a John Force Racing Ford Mustang?
A. John Force
B. Gary Densham
C. Tony Pedregon
D. Mike Neff
E. Robert Hight
F. Ashley Force Hood

Answer: E. Robert Hight. The 2009 series champion, a two-time winner of the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, never has reached the final round at Raceway Park but was a semifinalist in 2005 and in 2012 in the Auto Club Ford Mustang. Force, Densham, Neff and Pedregon all won; Force Hood was runner-up in 2009.

* * * *

In the other lane:

Who was in the other lane when the late Funny Car legend “Jungle Jim” Liberman won his only NHRA tour event on July 13, 1975 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park? Tom Prock, father of Jimmy Prock, the crew chief on Robert Hight’s Auto Club Ford Mustang.

* * * *
Sponsor Spotlight on . . . .

Since it was introduced in 1909, Castrol motor oil has been synonymous with premium quality, high performance and leading-edge technology.

Working with the pioneering aviators and motorists of the day, company founder Charles Wakefield pursued the goal of creating the highest-quality engine oils for every application. As a result, Castrol was the oil chosen to help break the world speed and endurance records on land, sea and in the air.

The philosophy of subjecting its products to the rigors of competition before making them available to the everyday motorist continues today through Castrol’s 27-year association with Hall of Fame driver John Force and his team, a collaboration that has produced 17 NHRA drag racing championships and more than 200 tour victories while allowing millions worldwide to share in the benefits of race-proven technology.

Castrol GTX, Castrol EDGE and other Castrol lubricants today are distributed in 310 countries around the world through Wayne, N.J.-based BP Lubricants, which employs more than 12,000 globally.

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