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2013 NHRA: Team Castrol/JFR Pre-Race Stats Package For Bristol
Posted by: newsla on Jun 12, 2013 - 06:30 AM
2013 NHRA: Team Castrol/JFR Pre-Race Stats Package For Bristol

Track Prep: Bristol Dragway
(A look at the track on which the 13th annual Ford Thunder Valley Nationals will be contested starting Friday).


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Track history: Built in 1965 as Bristol International Dragway, the track hosted the NHRA Springnationals in 1965, 1966 and 1967 before track owner Larry Carrier adopted it in 1971 as the flagship for his newly-founded International Hot Rod Association. From 1971 through 1997, the track nicknamed “Thunder Valley” anchored the IHRA series, hosting a pair of events for all but a handful of years. After Bruton Smith bought it as the companion to adjacent Bristol Motor Speedway, he suspended drag racing operations in 1998 and embarked on an $18 million rebuild that produced the current Bristol Dragway. The racetrack itself now sits 17 feet higher than its predecessor, part of a re-engineering project that made it possible to expand the pits and increase seating capacity..

Track composition: Concrete with transition to asphalt at 700 feet.
Track elevation: 1,475 feet above sea level
Track direction: Southwest to northeast
Track records: 4.047 seconds, 316.45 mph by Robert Hight, June 19, 2011, in Funny Car; 3.796 seconds by Shawn Langdon, June 17, 2012, and 324.98 mph by Spencer Massey, June 17, 2012, in Top Fuel.

Flashback to . . . .
SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2008

After qualifying No. 1 for the first time in his driving career and breezing through eliminations to plant the Old Spice Ford Mustang in the final round of the Thunder Valley Nationals, Mike Neff was victimized by a defective latch on the underside of the carbon fiber body that denied crew chief John Medlen access to the engine and “black box.”

As a result, Medlen was unable to make final adjustments and Neff was helpless to do anything when the timers malfunctioned and the engine expired, denying him a breakthrough first tour victory while allowing Melanie Troxel to drive away for an easy win. It would be another 18 months before Neff finally would win for the first time. He now is crew chief on John Force’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang.
* * * *
The Drivers

JOHN FORCE, 64, returns to the track on which he enjoyed the biggest payday of his career when he won the inaugural Winston Showdown in 1999, an event in which Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars raced against one another for a $200,000 top prize. Force drove his Castrol GTX Ford Funny Car past the dragster of Bob Vandergriff Jr. in the final round and picked up a $10,000 bonus as the No. 1 qualifier.

BRITTANY FORCE, 26, will be “flying blind” to some extent when she drives the Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster in this week’s Thunder Valley Nationals. Not only will it be the rookie’s first appearance at Bristol Dragway, it also is the first for a John Force Racing entry in a class other than Funny Car – which means that crew chiefs Dean Antonelli and Eric Lane will have no previous data from which to work.

ROBERT HIGHT, 43, is striving to end a 27-race winless streak in the Auto Club Ford Mustang in which he and crew chief Jimmy Prock set the current track records at Bristol en route to victory in the 2011 Thunder Valley Nationals. Although he is a 27-time winner in the Mello Yello Series, Hight hasn’t won a tour event since April 15, 2012 at Charlotte, N.C.

COURTNEY FORCE, 24, is bidding for a “do-over” at Bristol Dragway where she qualified only 13th and lost to the Dodge of Ron Capps in round one in her first season in the Traxxas Ford Mustang. The 2012 winner of the Auto Club’s Road to the Future Award, she is the only JFR driver to have won thus far this season and the only one to have earned a starting berth in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout bonus race.

* * * *
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 15, 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

* * * *

FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS (After nine of 18 events leading up to the Countdown to 1 playoffs)

1. Matt Hagan, Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge, 689
2. Johnny Gray, Pitch Energy Dodge, 645
3. Cruz Pedregon, Snap-on Tools Toyota, 639
4. Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge, 544
5. Jack Beckman, Valvoline Dodge, 543
6.Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, 534
7. Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang, 522
8. Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang, 483
9. Del Worsham, DHL Toyota, 476
10. John Force, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 437

1. Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi dragster, 746
2. Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster, 742
3. Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster, 626
4. Spencer Massey, Schumacher Electric dragster, 615
5. Khalid alBalooshi, Al-Anabi dragster, 544
6. Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools dragster, 510
7. Brandon Bernstein, Protect the Harvest dragster, 445
8. Morgan Lucas, GEICO Powersports dragster, 441
9. Bob Vandergriff Jr., C&J Energy dragster, 415
10. Clay Millican, Parts Plus dragster, 396
11. Steve Torrence, Capco Contractors dragster, 340
12. David Grubic, Optima Batteries dragster, 327
13. Brittany Force, Castrol EDGE Ford dragster, 321

* * * *

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

Qualifying highlights – Saturday, June 15, 7-9:30 p.m.
Race highlights – Sunday, June 16, 1-3 p.m. and 11 p.m.-12 midnight

* * * *

JFR by the numbers

0 number times John Force has qualified No. 1 at Bristol Dragway, one of only two tracks on the circuit on which he never has started No. 1.
1 win this year for Courtney Force and the Traxxas Ford Mustang
2 number of times in three career appearances that the late Eric Medlen was the Funny Car qualifying leader at Bristol (2005, 2006)
3 JFR drivers in the Top 10 in Mello Yello Funny Car points
7 number of times John Force has beaten daughters Courtney and Ashley
9 number of times John Force has lost to daughters Courtney and Ashley
27 tour events won by Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang
37 times two JFR drivers have opposed one another in an NHRA Funny Car final
41 number of times rookie Brittany Force has been down the track in qualifying and eliminations in the Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster
106 consecutive tour starts for John Force, longest active streak in the Funny Car division
1120 rounds won by John Force in the NHRA Mello Yello series
210,000 dollars earned by John Force as the inaugural winner of the Winston Showdown bonus race in 1999

* * * *

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

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 Yello 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.

* * * *

John Force wins by CAR MAKE

Ford Mustang ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((( 71
Oldsmobile Cutlass (((((((((((((((( 31
Pontiac Firebird ((((((((((( 21
Chevrolet Lumina ((((( 10
Oldsmobile Firenza ( 1

* * * *

John Force Racing: we’ve got questions

When Mike Neff won the 2009 Auto Club Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, he did something no Funny Car driver had done in 40 years. What was it?

Answer: Using power from a Ford BOSS 500 nitro motor developed at JFR, he became the first to win an NHRA event in an all-Ford Funny Car since Danny Ongais won the 1969 U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis in a Mickey Thompson Mach 1 Mustang powered by a SOHC 427 Ford engine.

* * * *

In the other lane:

Who was in the other lane when Robert Hight drove his Auto Club Ford Mustang to Bristol Dragway track records of 4.047 seconds and 316.45 miles per hour in the semifinals of the 2011 Ford Thunder Valley Nationals? Jeff Arend, in “Big Jim” Dunn’s Chevrolet (4.151).

* * * *

Sponsor Spotlight on . . . .

Ford Motor Company, which is credited with developing the moving assembly line and perfecting the concept of mass production, has remained at the forefront of automotive innovation for more than a century. The company’s blue oval logo today is synonymous with style, performance and durability.

The company founded by Henry Ford, whose reputation was secured by the success of the wildy-popular and affordable Model T, continues to ride high today with a variety of new models and a growing reputation for environmental friendly vehicles equipped with its Eco Boost system.

Today the Ford Fusion, Ford Edge, Ford Escape, Ford Explorer, the iconic Ford Mustang and the usual solid lineup of trucks including the F-150 have re-energized the company. Ford owes its performance reputation to success in a variety of auto racing arenas including NASCAR, IndyCar, rally and world endurance.

The “win on Sunday; sell on Monday” philosophy that grew out of Ford’s racing success is widely attributed to late, legendary Ford dealer, Bob Tasca Sr.

It was the elder Tasca who introduced drag racing champion John Force to Ford in 1997, resulting in his team’s switch to Mustang Funny Cars. In the 17 seasons since that fateful meeting, John Force Racing Mustangs have won 154 NHRA tour events and 10 series championships.

PaddockTalk Perspective

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