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Mar 27, 2014 - 06:26 AM
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2014 NHRA: Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals JFR Pre-Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Mar 27, 2014 - 06:25 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals JFR Pre-Race Preview


When John Force’s Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang comes rolling into Vegas, the 16-time champ will have a 43 point lead over his fellow teammate Robert Hight who happens be his son-in-law and president of John Force Racing. However, the 64 year-old Funny Car veteran is ready extend his points even more and put some distance between his nearest competitor come Sunday at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

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As the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season is ramping up, John Force also remembers the last time he was at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was on this very spot that he locked up his 16th NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car world championship by beating daughter Courtney in the final round at the 13th annual Toyota NHRA Nationals back in late October of last year.
However, that was last year and if Force has learned anything over decades he has been competing as a driver, you’re only as good as your last win or, in John Force’s case, his last world championship.

“We’re still pitching Corporate America and fighting to get money so we can still be out here doing what we love and enjoy doing. Right now though, I’m focused on winning races for my sponsors and fans and going after a 17th world championship,” said John Force.

As tenacious a driver can be, John Force is determined fight for what he has earned and built for himself, his drivers and the team. Like a boxer in the ring, John may have his back against the ropes but he’s a fighter that truly believes in himself and comes out swinging.

“Man, I love it out here and I’m hooked and maybe it’s pathetic. I’m scared to death they’ll take it away from me and my kids so I do the best I can,” said John Force.

This 16-time champ can also add another accolade to his already long list of achievements. John Force was recently named Racer of the Year XIX by the readers of Racer and Racer.com by a landslide vote. This was John’s second time he earned overall Racer of the Year honors as the first was when he came back after serious injuries to win the 2010 NHRA Funny Car title.
“This is the kind of thing that really makes you stop and think. I want to thank the fans who believe in me as I try to stay hungry yet humble and not think about it. The 2013 championship was special, and this award makes it even more special. All I can say is what an honor it is,” said John Force.

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HIGHT AND AUTO CLUB TEAM READY FOR WIN LIGHTS IN VEGAS

LAS VEGAS, NV (March 26, 2014) --- With back to back finals and a recent win at the historic 45th annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team are looking to this weekend’s Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals to continue their hot streak. Hight has been hot in the desert before winning three times (2007, 2011 and 2012) at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s spring event.

“I don’t know what it is about Las Vegas but we have a history of running really well there. We test there a lot and I just feel comfortable there. Winning the Gatornationals gave us a great boost. We came close in Phoenix so to have back to back finals in a row is a great feeling,” said Hight, the 2009 Funny Car champion.

The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the site of Hight’s most historic career win, the fall Toyota NHRA Nationals, where he essentially clinched his Mello Yello Funny Car championship in 2009 with a win over Jack Beckman in the final. Hight would head to Pomona for the Auto Club Finals just needing to qualify for the race to clinch his first Funny Car championship.

“I will always remember The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the track where I basically wrapped up that first championship. Getting that win was huge and I want to win another Funny Car championship. I think we definitely have the car and the team to do that,” said Hight.
Hight’s win at the Gatornationals was the 30th Funny Car win of his career and moved him into a tie for 6th all-time with Kenny Bernstein. It was also crew chief Mike Neff’s 30th win as a Funny Car crew chief. The historical significance of his win was not lost on Hight as he addressed the media on Sunday afternoon in Florida.

“I can’t even believe my name is associated with guys like that. Guys like Kenny, John Force and Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme were my heroes. Kenny is a guy I always watched. He was always so professional. He was a businessman. He was one of my all-time favorites, He worked very hard to get where he was. To tie him with Funny Car wins is amazing. He is a four-time champion in Funny Car and I am trying to win my second,” said Hight.

The Auto Club Mustang has won at least two races a season every year Hight has been the driver since 2005. With that kind of consistency Hight is on the verge of joining another elite Funny Car club. Hight is only eleven round wins away from his 300th round win, a mark he will assuredly reach this season, and at the rate of success it could come as soon as the Houston or Atlanta national events.
“We aren’t looking at streaks or records. We are approaching every race with the same goals. I can’t wait for that first qualifying run to set up the weekend. The weather looks like it will cooperate so we should be able to make some good runs. This will be one of the first potentially hot tracks so we will be ready for anything. Working with Mike Neff gives you a lot of confidence especially on race day. He just tunes to the track and has a very clam attitude. We have our spot in the Traxxas Shootout now so now we just want to win as many races as possible and move up in the points,” said Hight.

COURTNEY FORCE LOOKING TO TURN LUCK AROUND IN LAS VEGAS

LAS VEGAS (March 26, 2014) – The Strip at Las Vegas has always been good to Courtney Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang team. In fact, the 25-year-old qualified in the No. 2 spot and went to the final round for both NHRA events in 2013, but is now hoping to hit the jackpot this weekend at the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, March 28-30 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I’m excited going into Vegas this weekend since we have done so well at The Strip in the past,” said Force. “However, since we are working with a new car this season, I’m anxious to see if we can continue running like we have the last couple of years,” said Force.
The Traxxas team struggled at the start of the 2014 season, but after testing in Phoenix, it appears they have turned their luck around. The 2012 Rookie of the Year is currently No. 10 in NHRA Funny Car points after going rounds at the Gatornationals two weeks ago in Gainesville, Fla.
“Our Traxxas Ford Mustang team has seen improvements in this car and we are motivated and excited to see what this weekend holds. We are ready to turn our luck around in Sin City and come out of there on a high note.”

“I hope we can roll over my semi-final round appearance from Gainesville into the Vegas race this weekend and take home a win. We’ve got a great car and this Traxxas Ford Mustang is showing improvement at each event. This track has been lucky for us in the past, I’m excited to get out there and see what kind of numbers we are capable of laying down,” said Force.

At the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals last year, Force started from the No. 2 spot and drove her Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car to beat Tim Wilkerson, Del Worsham and Matt Hagan before losing to Cruz Pedregon in the final round of eliminations.

Also in 2013 at the NHRA Toyota Nationals, Force qualified No. 2 again and took out Tony Pedregon, Robert Hight and Jack Beckman on race day, but lost to her father John Force in the final.
“Our goal is to finish with a win this weekend. I’m hoping for some solid qualifying runs and some good luck on race day so we can continue climbing back up the points ladder,” she said.
Force will be busy this weekend with more than just racing. The youngest daughter of John Force will spend Thursday filming a new commercial with her Traxxas team. She will also join her teammates, John, Robert, Brittany and Ashley for an autograph signing at the Monte Carlo Hotel Brew Pub on Friday night.

“I will also be signing autographs at the Traxxas display and making an appearance at the JFR Midway display this weekend so there are plenty of opportunities for fans to get an autograph! I’m looking forward to all of it and can’t wait to get out there,” said Force.

CASTROL EDGE TEAM HEADS TO VEGAS WITH SUCCESS IN SIGHT

LAS VEGAS, NV (March 26, 2014) --- After battling electrical gremlins in her Castrol EDGE Dragster and exiting early during the NHRA Gatornationals two weeks ago, Brittany Force will be ready to attack The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway during this weekend’s SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals. As the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Series makes it fourth stop this season, Brittany and her crew are pumped up to get to finals and with the help of Lady Luck, possible get her first Top Fuel win.
“I’m pumped to be heading back to Vegas as I got my first round Top Fuel win against Kalitta here last year so I’m ready get back in the seat. I love the Vegas track as it’s beautiful and the Castrol EDGE team is ready to go some rounds,” said Brittany Force.
Currently in seventh place and only one round out of fifth in points, the Top Fuel sophomore has been steadily improving since the start of the season despite some technical hiccups during the NHRA Gatornationals. In true Force fashion, Brittany doesn’t have time to dwell on her last race, she’s knows there are no do-overs in drag racing. It’s full throttle for this rising star that represents the next generation of NHRA drivers.

The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is also filled of fond memories for the 26-year-old daughter who just happens to be the second youngest of John Force’s four daughters.

“I’m excited to be going into Vegas as it kind of feels like a home track for me. It’s close to where we live in Southern California and I remember watching my dad compete here when I was younger. I’ve also been down that strip numerous times in my Super Comp, A/Fuel Dragster and of course Top Fuel.”

The Vegas Odds Makers may have the Castrol EDGE Dragster as a long shot in winning Top Fuel this weekend but smart observers will know when the driver’s last name is Force, the chances are much better.

In advance of the weekend’s racing activities Brittany and the rest of the JFR team will be signing autographs in The Pub at the Monte Carlo Casino and Hotel on Friday night from 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

“We have done a couple of fan events at Las Vegas and I love spending time with the fans. It gets you really pumped up and excited to race. I am sure we will have a great turn out at the Monte Carlo on Friday night,” added Force.

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