BRAINERD RACE HAS HIGHT MOTIVATED TO GET ON ROLL
BRAINERD, MN (August 13, 2014) — Brainerd International Raceway has been the site of fourteen Funny Car wins for John Force Racing but NHRA Mello Yello points leader Robert Hight has never hoisted the Wally as the winning Funny Car driver. While HIght has collected 34 Funny car wins in his career and this season he has raced to the winner’s circle five times this event is one of three tour events he has never even reached the final round.
“John has dominated this race and we just want to get our first win in Minnesota. This track is great and the fans are even better,” said Hight.
This season Hight has enjoyed unmatched success in his already storied career. He raced to six consecutive final rounds earlier in the season picking up four wins and then the 2009 NHRA Funny Car champion started off the Western Swing with a win in Denver. Hight’s win started a JFR domination of the Western Swing which included JFR posting top qualifier times at all three races and also each driver winning one of the historic events with Courtney Force winning in Sonoma and John Force winning two weeks ago in Seattle. The team is on a four race Funny Car win streak as they roll into Brainerd.
Hight knows it is important to build momentum starting in Brainerd as all the teams head to Indianapolis for the U.S. Nationals. After Indy the NHRA Countdown starts and the regular season successes are forgotten as the final six races determine the NHRA Mello Yello champion.
“Brainerd is a great race because you can put the finishing touches on your tune-up and get ready for the final seven races of the season. They are the most important races of the season and I think getting some traction in Brainerd could be the key. Even though we haven’t been to the winner’s circle in Brainerd we have always figured one or two things out,” said Hight.
As the Funny Car points leader the last 13 races, the longest stretch as Mello Yello points leader in his career, Hight focuses on what is ahead for his team not who is behind him. Leading team owner and legend John Force by 47 points is important but not a distraction.
“All three of our John Force Funny Cars are in the top four now. Any one of them could win this race. I just hope it is the Auto Club Mustang in the winner’s circle on Sunday. This has been a fun season so far for sure with the team winning ten times and having ten runner-up finishes. We want championships so that is where our focus lies,” said a confident Hight.
While Hight has been doing his job behind the wheel he gives a ton of credit to his crew and crew chief Mike Neff for putting him in the position to see a class leading 32 win lights for round wins on Sundays.
“I have always said the Funny Car competition continues to get tougher and tougher and you have to have confidence in yourself and your team. I have so much confidence in Mike Neff and all my crew guys I honestly think we can win every race. I know that is not going to happen because the competition is so strong but when you have that confidence things fall your way. We have been very consistent this season and I am looking to continue that consistency this weekend at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals,” concluded Hight.
COURTNEY FORCE LOOKING TO JUMP INTO TOP THREE IN BRAINERD
BRAINERD, MN (August 13, 2014) — Courtney Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang team are quickly approaching the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Currently, the team is in the No. 4 spot, just nine points from moving into the third position behind her Funny Car teammates John Force and Robert Hight. With just two races left before the Countdown, Force is ready to compete at Brainerd International Raceway for the 33rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, the 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
“This race can be a game changer for a lot of the competitors, including myself. Our Traxxas team is working hard to stay in the top ten to lock into the Countdown to the Championship. This is a race that can move us up or down and out goal is to stay up in the top,” said Force.
In 2012 during her rookie season, Force made three consistent passes in qualifying and landed in the No. 12 spot without lane choice. She took on competitor Ron Capps and lost with his 4.07 second pass outpacing her 4.26 second run. In 2013, Force qualified in the top half of the field in the No. 7 spot. She took down Bob Tasca III in the first round, but made an exit in round two against Matt Hagan.
“We haven’t had the best luck at this track in the past, but are looking to turn that around this year. We’ve always had a good car at this track, but are going to have to push it harder if we want to get the win. I’m going to have to be on my A-game this weekend and can’t wait to see what happens,” said Force.
Most recently, Force picked up her fifth career win at Sonoma Raceway and became the winningest female in the Funny Car category. She qualified No. 1 that weekend to make for her third No. 1 start of 2014.
“One weekend we are on top and winning and the next we’re out in the first round, but that’s racing. That’s a great reminder for myself and my team that you have to keep your focus and work hard week after week, and I’ve got a great team that pushes hard every day. We are looking to be back on top this weekend in Brainerd in this Traxxas Funny Car and hopefully moving up in points,” said Force.
The quartet of Force drivers will be appearing at Mills Ford in Baxter, Minnesota on Friday morning of the race weekend. John, Courtney and Brittany Force will be joined by Robert Hight for an autograph session and meet and greet from 11:30am-12:30pm.
For Immediate Release
BRAINERD BOUND FORCE FEELING CONFIDENT
John Force is feeling pretty good and he has every reason to. The 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Champion just came off a great Western Swing in which he had two runner-up finishes and a win driving his Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang. He also locked up his berth in the Countdown for the 30th straight season and the legendary racer will finish in the top ten. However, for John Force, is not just “finishing” a season, it’s about winning NHRA world championship title #17.
“I’m excited to be heading into Brainerd. We swept the Western Swing as a team. With Robert and Auto Club winning Denver, Courtney and Traxxas winning Sonoma and me winning Seattle with Castrol, our confidence is pretty high heading not only into Brainerd, but also the Countdown. Right now our focus will be to win Brainerd and then Indy,” said John Force.
As he heads to Brainerd International Raceway for the 33rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, John Force will be looking for win number twelve at this drag strip. In true Force fashion, he holds the most victories for any driver in NHRA history at this track and he still wants to get career win number 142. Besides, it’s a great way to start the “playoff” season, and a strong start to the Countdown is exactly what he has planned this weekend.
“You try and get on a roll with your teams going into Indy. You are trying to get things figured out on the Western Swing and the bottom line is you want to have your cars at the head of the pack. Brainerd helps build on that, because you get that mental motivation coming out of Brainerd with a good race, and that takes you right into Indy and the Countdown,” said John Force.
John Force last won at Brainerd in 2007. During last year’s race, he lost in in the second round to veteran driver Johnny Gray; however it was at Brainerd that John secured his spot in the 2013 Countdown to the Championship. This is just one of many fond memories John has of racing at this track for the past few decades.
“It is the setting of the track and the fact that I match raced there for a lot of years. You have good air there and it is a good race track. The fans are great and I have just been able to just get focused and do well there,” said John Force.
With John Force chasing a run for an unprecedented 17th NHRA Mello Yello World Champion title, the reigning NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car champ has already rewritten the record books at almost every track he’s raced this season and looks to do that again in Brainerd. His 8,000 horsepower Castrol GTX has been running fast and consistent under the guidance of crew chief Jimmy Prock.
“People will race Brainerd different than they race Indy. You race Brainerd to make the Countdown. At Indy you are racing to win the biggest race of the year, the Traxxas Shootout and to make the Countdown. You run your race car in Brainerd just to win that race because it moves you up in the points. At Indy it is a whole different approach. It is two different animals” said John Force.
With wins at this year’s NHRA Winternationals, Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, NHRA Northwest Nationals, and runner-up appearances at the NHRA Gatornationals, NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Mile-High NHRA Nationals and NHRA Sonoma Nationals, confidence is high that John Force will get career win number 142 during this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
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For Immediate Release
BRITTANY FORCE LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK AT BRAINERD
With three NHRA final round appearances this season, 27 year-old Brittany Force knows her performance at this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway will be critical. The 2013 NHRA Auto Club Rookie of the Year knows the Countdown is coming up fast and would like to go rounds and add more points. Currently in 7th place with 856 NHRA Mello Yello Points, Brittany knows if she’s going to make a move in for a playoff berth, it needs to happen soon.
The always optimistic Brittany Force is confident she won’t get shut out as she did during last year’s Countdown. Brittany also knows it’s a totally different scenario than last year, as the sophomore driver and her crew have made some major improvements to the 10,000 horsepower Castrol EDGE Dragster.
“I’m excited to be going back to Brainerd, it’s a cool racetrack and the die-hard racing fans are pretty energetic and crazy. We’ve had a good season so far by going to three finals and despite just coming short, Todd Smith, Dean Antonelli and the rest of the guys have been working hard and have done an awesome job,” said Brittany Force.
Brittany Force has matured as driver and has become a serious competitor to her opponent in the next lane. Last weekend Brittany competed in the wildly popular Night Under Fire Match race along with her legendary dad John Force. This event gave the second year driver a chance to go through her qualifying and race day routines in her head and on the track. Just as a race car needs to be consistent to win, so does it driver and for Brittany Force, she practices her driving skills every day.
“This is the second time I’ve raced at Brainerd so I know what the starting line shut down area look like. I can visualize in my mind how I’ll be doing the burnout, where the Christmas tree is, where the 60 foot and 330 foot cones are, and all the way down to the finish line. I’ll go check out the shut off area. It’s the same things I do every weekend, but I go over it in my head all the time,” said Brittany Force.
It also takes more than a good driver and a quick dragster to win. Any racer will tell you luck and even karma is a major factor in going to the winner’s circle. Last year, Brittany lost a close one to Spencer Massey, but a lot has happened in the last twelve months and the Castrol EDGE team is a win waiting to happen.
“Everyone tells me that Brainerd is a race where someone happens to randomly win it. It’s never who you expect and it’s never who you think is going to go and win the race. Maybe it’ll be us, as the Castrol EDGE team is pumped up and motivated,” said Brittany Force.
When the final pair of cars blast down Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday, fans can start voting for their favorite driver for the third annual Traxxas Nitro Shootout in Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, to be held at the NHRA U.S Nationals on Labor Day weekend. Brittany Force and her Castrol EDGE team are eligible for the fan vote and are looking to display their hard work in the bonus race.
“I’m definitely excited just to be a part of the fan vote for the Traxxas Shootout, one of my goals was to get in the Traxxas Shootout before the fan vote by winning our first race as. My guys have been doing an awesome job by getting us to three finals. That was a tough goal and we didn’t make it, but we still have a shot to get in with our fan vote and I’m really hoping to get that fan vote and be able to race in the Traxxas Shootout for Top Fuel,” said Force.