HIGHT LOOKING FOR THIRD WIN ON THE MOUNTAIN
DENVER, CO (July 15, 2014) — A year ago the rumbling fans heard on the mountain was not thunder but the swapping of crews and crew chiefs in the John Force Racing camp. In a dramatic move John Force swapped teams with teammate Robert Hight in a bid to create long term stability and make a run at an unprecedented 18th team NHRA Funny Car championship. The move worked and in the 23 races since the swap John Force Racing has won twelve times with Hight picking up six of those wins.
“We were all on board with the team swap because John had a plan. It worked out great for John Force Racing. Mike Neff and I went on to win the U.S. Nationals, John got the Mello Yello championship, and we are in the points lead,” said Hight, a four-time winner in 2014.
The Auto Club Funny Car team raced to the winner’s circle in Hight’s rookie season of 2005 and with that win Hight took the points lead that season. He has become accustomed to leading the Funny Car points. Hight has led the points at least once every year of his career except 2013.
This season Hight has been in the points lead for ten consecutive events and his personal best streak is 12 events, which should be broken at the end of the Western Swing when you consider he has a 178 point lead over second place.
“The points lead is great but we all know a big points lead won’t help you going into the Countdown. You want to be No. 1 because you get a little bit of a lead but you are going to need to perform in the Countdown starting in Charlotte. The focus right now is the Western Swing and the Mopar Mile-High Nationals this weekend,” said Hight.
“When you get on the mountain the air changes so you have to have a special set-up. I have a lot of confidence in Mike Neff and my team. I won here twice with Jimmy Prock and he has always run well up here. Neff won Denver in 2006 with Gary Scelzi. We will get our information together and throw everything we can at Bandimere Speedway,” said Hight.
Robert Hight remains the track record holder at the quarter mile distance as the only driver to break 4.80 seconds at altitude an amazing 4.796 seconds, 322.58 mph run on July 15, 2005. Only one Funny Car driver has swept the Western Swing, John Force in 1994. The fact that no other driver has matched that achievement in 20 years is not lost of Hight.
“So many things have to go right to win one Funny Car title now getting three in a row is a real achievement. You add into the mix that the Western Swing has one race on a mountain and that just makes it even tougher. Only a couple of guys have even won three races in a row in the past twenty years,” said Hight.
The competitiveness of the Funny Car class in recent years has proven that winning three races in a row during any stretch of the season is a tremendous achievement. Hight has mastered that task three times since 2010. Since John Force swept the Western Swing in 1994 only two other drivers have won three races in a row at any point of an NHRA season. Then JFR driver Tony Pedregon won three in a row in 2002 (Reading, Memphis and Chicago) and Hight has accomplished streaks of at least three wins in a row three times (2010, 2012 and 2014). In addition to Force’s Western Swing efforts since 1994 he has won at least three races in a row on eleven occasions.
For Immediate Release
BRITTANY FORCE READY FOR BATTLE AT BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY
DENVER, CO (July 15, 2014) — After having a weekend off, Brittany Force is itching to climb back into the cockpit of her 10,000 horsepower Castrol EDGE Dragster. While most drag racers would welcome the respite from the grueling NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, Brittany misses the intense competition that comes with piloting a nitro breathing race car that can inhale a 1000-foot drag strip in well under four seconds. As a driver, Brittany thrives on back-to-back races, and with her strong performance these last few events, she’s has the momentum that could carry her to the winner’s circle at this weekend’s Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
“I headed home last weekend, but my sister Courtney and I can’t stay in one place too long. We get bored and we have to move around. I guess that’s why we compete in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series,” said Brittany Force.
As the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals is the official kickoff of the intense Western Swing, sophomore Top Fuel driver Brittany Force is once again looking forward to back-to-back races starting in Denver and swinging west to Sonoma and Seattle.
“I’m excited for the Western Swing, I love being on the west coast and I can’t wait to hit Denver. One of my favorite memories of going to the Mile-High nationals is when I was a kid watching my dad race. We’d pack our bags and my sisters and my mom would go on the road to meet up with my dad,” said Brittany Force.
With her second runner-up finish at Route 66 Raceway last month, Brittany Force leapt from 9th to 7th place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel Points Standings. Brittany’s dragster is running strong, due in part to the talent pool she has tuning the Castrol EDGE Dragster.
Led by Todd Smith and Dean “Guido” Antonelli, they’ve giving Brittany a very fast, safe and consistent ride. There are still many races left before the Countdown to the Championship, which begins immediately following the Chevrolet Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals. However, the team won’t let up for a second, as they know full well that every other driver is fighting for a spot in the countdown.
She knows her team has the right attitude and energy to go rounds and perhaps even win this weekend’s Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. The 2013 Auto Club NHRA Rookie of the Year has shown massive improvement in her driving skills and the attitude of the team in her sophomore year.
“Our Castrol EDGE team has been improving with each race. We are a much stronger team than last year. Crew chief Todd Smith and Dean Antonelli and the rest of my guys have been doing awesome this season. We’ve been the number one qualifier twice, and I know we’ll get our first Top Fuel win real soon,” said Brittany Force.
Now armed with the valuable knowledge from these past few races and the fact this is Brittany’s second race on the mountain, she knows the Castrol EDGE team is tough and can give any opponent in the next lane a run for the money. Even with back-to-back races, Brittany still finds time to focus on her reaction times and review her routine as a driver. She knows what needs to get done this weekend – qualifying in the top half of the field, getting lane choice and going rounds on race day.
With Brittany solidly in 7th place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel standings with 690 points, she’s looking to move up come Sunday at Bandimere Speedway. By the direction her Castrol EDGE team is heading, the always-optimistic 27 year-old Brittany Force and her team are looking forward to getting their first win at the NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals.
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COURTNEY FORCE EXCITED TO BE HEADED BACK TO BANDIMERE
DENVER, CO (July 15, 2014) — For the third year Courtney Force is going into the Western Swing with an open mind about her Traxxas Funny Car team and their improvements on and off track. The 2012 NHRA Rookie of the Year has had mixed results at Bandimere Speedway, but the 26-year-old is looking forward to the challenges of the fast-approaching 35th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals this weekend.
“Denver is one of the trickiest tracks on our circuit and is a challenge for both the drivers and the crew chiefs because of the high altitude. It’s unlike anywhere else that we race. It’s an exciting race to watch because of the challenges. Even the sound of the motor is different here, from a driver’s perspective. I’m hoping we can start another hot streak on this Western swing, just like we did my rookie year here,” said Force.
Force went to her second career final round in Denver in 2012; her second final round in three races. She beat Tim Wilkerson, Robert Hight and Ron Capps before losing to Jack Beckman in the final. Two races later in Seattle, she picked up her first Funny Car win when she beat Cruz Pedregon, Bob Tasca III, John Force and Matt Hagan.
“My goals during the Western swing would be to get on a roll going rounds and grabbing bonus points. With back-to-back weekends this is a good time to create momentum for this Traxxas team and hopefully get into a winner’s circle to close that gap and lock ourselves into the countdown. We are definitely looking for a win here in Denver to get us off on the right track,” said Force.
With just five races left until the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, Force remains No. 7 in the Funny Car point standings.
“Being that there are only five races left to lock into the countdown, I’m pretty confident with where we are as long as we can have a consistent race car these next few races to stay up in points and increase the gap between us and the No. 11 spot,” said Force.
Force will be joining her father at the ESPY awards on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. The 16-time Funny Car champion has been nominated in the Best Driver category. It is John Force’s sixth nomination and this will be Courtney Force’s first time attending the star studded event.
“I went to the ESPN Body Issue party last year but was not able to attend the ESPY’s because of a travel conflict. I am looking forward to attending this year and supporting my dad. I really hope he wins since I can’t think of a better driver than him,” add Force.
For Immediate Release
JOHN FORCE LOOKS TO BE KING OF THE MOUNTAIN
DENVER, CO (July 15, 2014) — Coming off his recent win at the 8th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, John Force is looking to start a winning streak as the Castrol GTX High Mileage team rolls into Denver for this weekend’s Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. Despite only having won two races this season, the 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Word Champ is pumped up and ready to drive his 8,000 horsepower Mustang to the winner’s circle. With seven wins to his credit at the NHRA Mile-High Nationals, John Force is the undisputed king of the mountain at Bandimere Speedway, which is nestled in the foothills of the majestic Rockies.
“I love racing at Denver and the fact we sorted out the mechanical gremlins means Jimmy (Jimmy Prock, crew chief, Castrol GTX High Mileage Funny Car) can stay focused on tuning my hot rod to run in the higher altitude,” said John Force.
John Force would also like to repeat a sweep of the Western Swing, something that has eluded him since 1994. The Western Swing consists of Denver, Sonoma and Seattle, all back-to-back races, and it is probably the toughest and most grueling part of the NHRA Mello Yello Season. It tests drivers, crews, their race cars and equipment. Winning three races in a row for any team is a major undertaking, but to win the Western Swing is a major accomplishment for any driver.
However, for John Force and his crew chief Jimmy Prock, their focus is making sure the Castrol GTX High Mileage Funny Car stays consistent, like it has the last few races. With Bandimere Speedway’s 5,280 foot altitude, it can be challenging for even the most experienced tuner. However, the team has momentum working in their favor, as they head to the first race of the infamous Western Swing.
During last year’s Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, John Force qualified his Castrol GTX Mustang in the 6th spot with a 4.127 second pass at 308.99 mph. During eliminations, he faced Bob Tasca III in round one and came up a few thousandths short. Force’s Mustang dropped a cylinder at about half track and Tasca was able to get the win.
It was also at this race last year that John Force switched crew chiefs and other team members around, trading a few with Robert Hight.
“We shook things up before the Mile-Highs last year, and it paid off for us. People questioned what we were doing, but we got our 16th NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championship, so we must have been doing something right,” said John Force.
As the 2014 season begins its march west, the reigning NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car champ knows he needs stay solidly in the top half of the points going into the Countdown to the Championship if he’s going to secure a 17th Mello Yello World Championship. With consistent performance, courtesy of crew chief Jimmy Prock and the rest of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Team, they’ll be on track to once again rewrite the record books.
John Force is solidly in second place with 889 Mello Yello Funny Car points. He trails his teammate, son-in-law and current leader, Robert Hight, by 178 points. More important, John Force knows he’s opened the gap between he and the rest of the field, but is aware that can change very quickly. Therefore, he knows it’s imperative that he goes rounds this weekend.
With wins at this year’s NHRA Winternationals, Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, and final-round appearances at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida and the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, confidence is high that John Force will get win number eight on the mountain during this weekend’s Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.