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2013 NHRA: JFR Pre-Race Stats Package For Indy
Posted by: newsla on Aug 27, 2013 - 04:44 PM
2013 NHRA: JFR Pre-Race Stats Package For Indy

Track Prep: Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
(A look at the track on which the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will be contested starting Thursday).


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Track history: In 1958, a group of 15 businessmen and racing professionals including Tom Binford, Frank Dickie, Rodger Ward and Howard Fieber, each invested $5,000 toward the purchase of a 267-acre farm outside Clermont, Ind., for the purpose of constructing a 15-turn, 2.5 mile road course. Almost as an afterthought, a quarter mile dragstrip was incorporated into the design and actually was the first of the venues to open for racing in 1960. The road course came on-line shortly thereafter and a .686 mile paved oval track was added a year later. The track first hosted its signature event, the NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in 1961 and, in 1979, the NHRA purchased the entire track complex, including the road course and oval. In 1998, the NHRA invested $2.5 million in improvements to the oval that included the construction of new grandstands and suites and a resurfacing of the track. Soft barrier walls were added in 2005 and, for a time, the track played host to events in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The dragstrip surface was replaced in 2001 and the NHRA added eight suites atop the west side grandstand in 2003. Lucas Oil became the track’s naming sponsor in 2011.

Track composition: Concrete with transition to asphalt at 660 feet.

Track elevation: 700 feet above sea level
Track direction: South to north
Track records: 4.026 seconds by Cruz Pedregon, Sept. 4, 2011; 317.27 mph by Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang, Sept. 1, 2012 in Funny Car; 3.740 seconds by Shawn Langdon, Sept. 8, 2012; 326.79 mph by Tony Schumacher, Sept. 1, 2012 in Top Fuel.


Flashback to . . . .
SEPTEMBER 1-2, 2006

Robert Hight becomes the first Funny Car driver in NHRA history to break 4.70 seconds on the quarter mile (4.692 seconds) only to be nosed out for the No.1 position by boss, teammate and father-in-law John Force (4.691).

Those were the only sub-4.70 runs recorded at Lucas Oil Raceway before the track was shortened to 1,000 feet for the fuel cars midway through the 2008 season following the tragic death of two-time Top Fuel dragster champion Scott Kalitta in a crash at Englishtown, N.J.

The Drivers

JOHN FORCE, 64, is making his 34th appearance in the NHRA U.S. Nationals, his first with Jimmy Prock as crew chief on his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. The 2008 inductee into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America has won four times (1993, 1996, 1998 and 2002) and started No. 1 a record 11 times. He is trying to move up in points this week to improve his starting position in the Countdown to 1 playoffs.

BRITTANY FORCE, 27, is making an historic first Indy appearance in a John Force Racing Top Fuel dragster. The graduate of Cal State-Fullerton will send the Castrol EDGE hybrid into race action in hopes of joining older sister Ashley Force Hood as a U.S. Nationals champion. As the first driver to compete for JFR outside of the Funny Car class, Brittany also is vying for Rookie-of-the-Year consideration.

ROBERT HIGHT, 44, is a two-time U.S. Nationals champion at the wheel of the Auto Club Ford Mustang now tuned by veteran Mike Neff who, incidentally, won Indy the last two years as a driver/crew chief. Winning Indy a third time would put Hight in select company, the but 2009 series champion is more focused on moving up in the Mello Yello point standings and clinching a spot in the Countdown.

COURTNEY FORCE, 25, was the No. 1 qualifier at last year’s U.S. Nationals before bowing out in round two. The 2012 winner of the Auto Club’s Road to the Future Award that identifies the NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year, Courtney has won twice already this year in a potent Traxxas Ford Mustang prepared by crew chief Ron Douglas and assistant crew chief Dan Hood.


Traxxas Nitro Shootout

The second annual Traxxas Nitro Shootout will be contested Saturday and Sunday prior to Monday’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. The winner will earn $100,000.

Seven of the eight positions in both the Funny Car and Top Fuel divisions were determined by performance in the 16 events leading up to Indy. The eighth starting position in each race will be/was determined by a lottery drawing on Wednesday.

John Force Racing has a history of success in NHRA bonus races. In addition to John Force’s victory in the inaugural Traxxas Shootout, the team won multiple times in the Big Bud Shootout and its successors, the Skoal Showdown and U.S. Smokeless Shootout. Additionally, the team won five times in the All-Star races contested in the old Winston Drag Racing Series.

Force earned the biggest single event payday in NHRA racing history when he won the 1999 Winston Showdown at Bristol, Tenn. ($210,000).

Traxxas Nitro Shootout pairings in Funny Car and Top Fuel:

1. Matt Hagan, Rocky Boots Mopar Dodge, versus 8. Lottery winner.
2. Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge, versus 7. Jack Beckman, Valvoline/MTS Dodge
3. Cruz Pedregon, Snap-on Tools Toyota, versus 6. Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang
4. Johnny Gray, Pitch Energy Dodge, versus 5. John Force, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang

1. Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi dragster, versus 8. Lottery winner
2. Spencer Massey, Schumacher Electric dragster, versus 7. Bob Vandergriff Jr., C&J Energy dragster
3. Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster, versus 6. Steve Torrence, Capco Contractors dragster
4. Khalid alBalooshi, Al-Anabi dragster, versus 5. Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster


MELLO YELLO POINT STANDINGS (After 17 of 18 events comprising the regular season)

*1. Matt Hagan, Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge, 1253
*2. Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge, 1129
*3. Cruz Pedregon, Snap-on Tools Toyota, 1066
*3. Johnny Gray, Pitch Energy Dodge, 1066
*5. John Force, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 1054
*6. Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang, 1039
7. Jack Beckman, Valvoline Dodge, 1015
8.Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, 932
9. Bob Tasca III, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang, 906
10. Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang, 902
11. Del Worsham, DHL Toyota, 871
*1. Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi dragster, 1370
*2. Spencer Massey, Schumacher Electric dragster, 1249
*3. Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster, 1199
*4. Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools dragster, 1009
*5. Khalid alBalooshi, Al-Anabi dragster, 1002
*6. Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster, 994
*7. Clay Millican, Parts Plus dragster, 928
*8. Morgan Lucas, GEICO Powersports dragster, 917
9. Steve Torrence, Capco Contractors dragster, 794
10. Bob Vandergriff Jr., C&J Energy dragster, 789
11. David Grubic, Optima Batteries dragster, 717
x12. Brandon Bernstein, Protect the Harvest dragster, 623
x13. Brittany Force, Castrol EDGE Ford dragster, 595
*Has clinched Mello Yello Countdown berths
xHas been eliminated from the Countdown


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

Qualifying highlights – Sunday, Sept. 1, 1-6 p.m.
Race highlights – Monday, Sept. 2, 12 noon-6 p.m.


By the Numbers: JFR at the U.S. Nationals

1 No. 1 start for Courtney Force, who led the Funny Car field last year as a rookie and drove her Traxxas Ford to a track speed record of 317.27 mph.
2 double-up victories for John Force (wins in the U.S. Nationals and Funny Car bonus race on the same weekend, 1993, 1996)
3 wins for Ashley Force Hood including one in Top Alcohol Dragster in 2004
4 consecutive wins for Castrol GTX Ford Funny Cars (Ashley Ford Hood, 2009-10; Mike Neff, 2011-12)
5 different JFR Funny Car winners (John Force, Gary Densham, Robert Hight, Ashley Force Hood, Mike Neff)
6 rounds won by John Force in his last nine appearances including back-t0-back DNQs in 2007 and 2008.
7 straight years in which at least one JFR Ford has raced in the final round
8 Funny Car wins in the last 11 years by five different JFR drivers
9 first round losses for John Force in 33 career appearances
10 starting position from which Robert Hight won the 2009 NHRA Funny Car championship at the wheel of the Auto Club Ford Mustang (and the position he presently occupies in the Mello Yello driver standings)
11 No. 1 starts for John Force, an NHRA record, the most recent in 2006.
29 consecutive Top 10 Funny Car finishes for John Force, another record
49 different drivers opposed by John Force including a Japanese national (Kenji Okazaki), a Brit (Norm Wilding) and an Aussie (Graeme Cowin). Also, three different Pedregon brothers (Tony, Frank and Cruz), two women and eight NHRA World Champions (Raymond Beadle, Mark Oswald, Scott Kalitta, Tony Pedregon, Cruz Pedregon, Matt Hagan, Gary Scelzi and Robert Hight).
96 rounds won by eight JFR Funny Car drivers.


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

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 Toyota Las Vegas Nationals, Las Vegas, Nev.
Nov. 7-10 49th annual Auto Club Finals, Pomona, Calif.


NHRA Full Throttle Series, most victories, Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals

Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ 9
Bob Glidden, Pro Stock ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ 9
Don Garlits, Top Fuel ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ 8
Don Prudhomme, TF/FC ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ 7
Ed McCulloch, TF/FC ▄▄▄▄▄▄ 6
Greg Anderson, Pro Stock ▄▄▄▄▄▄ 6
Warren Johnson, Pro Stock ▄▄▄▄▄▄ 6
Dave Schultz, Pro Stock Bike ▄▄▄▄▄▄ 6
John Force, Funny Car ▄▄▄▄ 4
Larry Dixon, Top Fuel ▄▄▄▄ 4


John Force Racing: we’ve got questions

In 1986, John Force raced a father and his son in the first two rounds of the U.S. Nationals. Who were those racers and what was the result?

Answer: After qualifying No. 3, Force drove his Coca-Cola/Jolly Rancher/Castrol GTX Chevy Cavalier to a first round victory over “Big Jim” Dunn. In the second round, though, he was taken out by Mike Dunn, now an analyst on ESPN coverage of the Mello Yello Series, who went on to win the race in a car owned by the late Joe Pisano.


They said it. (and they meant it, too )

“I don’t get mad. It’s not like they were out to hurt me. The Ford brass was very up front with (telling me) what was going on. Same with Castrol. It’s just business. We had talked about what was feasible and we just couldn’t put it together. I’ve made some good money in this sport. Maybe I should retire, but I love this sport, I love racing and I love driving my hot rod so I’m just going to reinvest and hope there are some partners out there who’ll come with me." – JOHN FORCE, on the announced departure of sponsors Ford Motor Co. and Castrol at the end of the 2014 season.


Sponsor Spotlight on . . . .

Mac Tools is an international tool company that for 75 years has been manufacturing high end tools and related products for professional mechanics. Today, Mac’s product line includes in excess of 42,000 items including more than 8,000 professional hand tools from screwdrivers and wrenches to ratchets and various air tools. Although the company was purchased in 1980 by Stanley Black & Decker, it still relies on direct sales through a mobile sales force of Mac Tools franchisees and distributors.

Founded in 1938 as the Mechanics Tool and Forge Company, Mac assumed its present name in 1961 after almost a quarter century of manufacturing quality tools and tool boxes at its headquarters in Westerville, Ohio, and at a secondary manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Ohio.

Mac Tools for years has been a major player in the NHRA drag racing series as both a title rights sponsor of events like the U.S. Nationals and Gatornationals and as the sponsor of individual race teams including John Force Racing, Inc., and Kalitta Racing.

PaddockTalk Perspective

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