John Force Racing Looks Towards Norwalk


NORWALK, OH (July 3, 2013) — After a tough weekend in Chicago, Auto Club Road to the Future Award candidate Brittany Force puts that race behind her as she rolls in to Norwalk for the 7th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

With two blown engines and a first round loss in eliminations throughout last weekend, Force and her Castrol EDGE Top Fuel team take what they learned at Route 66 Raceway and hope to apply those concepts coming into Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. She also believes that having these back-to-back races contribute to the learning process as well.

“I think, as a driver and for my team, having back-to-back races is helpful,” Force said. “It keeps us all in that momentum and in that groove of trying to keep everything consistent. Learning from each run and really just keeping that focus rather than going home for a week and getting out of that rhythm. It helps me as a driver feel more comfortable in the car coming back after only a few days and getting right back in it.”

This will be the first time the John Force Racing Top Fuel pilot will be competing in the professional category at this particular racetrack. Force raced in the super comp class several years back when she first began her racing career.

Another member of the Castrol EDGE team who has had prior experience at this historic track is crew chief Dean Antonelli. He understands that in business, there is no guarantee that track conditions will always be perfect.

“Norwalk actually is hit or miss,” Antonelli said. “We’ve been there when it’s been 95 degrees with 80 percent humidity, but we’ve also been there when it’s been 70 degrees with 50 percent humidity. You don’t know what you’re going to get. Right now the forecast is calling for high 70’s, low 80’s, which that’d be pretty good conditions, but that’s a week away, so we really won’t know what we got. Typically if it’s hot, it’s a very tricky track. If it’s real cool, it’s as good as any place.”

Aside from racing, the 26-year-old Cal State-Fullerton graduate is looking forward to celebrating the Fourth of July with the most important people in her life: her family. 

“I’m excited! My whole family will be coming to Norwalk,” Force said. “My nieces and nephews will be there so that’ll be exciting. We stay at the Kalahari water park hotel, so that’ll be a lot of fun with all the kiddos running around and swimming. I’m looking forward to it and celebrating Fourth of July with my family and going after a win.”      


Sport’s Biggest Winner Seeks First Victory at Summit Motorsports Park


          NORWALK, Ohio (July 5, 2013) – Drag racing icon John Force tries to keep his streak of final round appearances intact this week on one of the few racetracks on which he has not yet won an NHRA tour event.


          The sport’s all-time winner, who has climbed from 10th to third in the Mello Yello driver standings in less than a month, tries to make it four finals in four weeks when he sends his resurgent Castrol GTX Ford Mustang after the Funny Car Championship at the seventh annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals.


          Force, who is bidding this year for an unprecedented 16th NHRA Funny Car title, has won NHRA tour events at 24 different tracks, but never at Summit Motorsports Park where he is 0-for-6 with only a runner-up finish in 2010 to show for his effort.


          The irony is that he is a many-time winner of the track’s largest independent event, the August “Night Under Fire,” and has been successful enough in that race to have had a spectator grandstand named in his honor.


          A 2012 inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the 15-time Auto Racing All-American may never have a better chance to end that Norwalk drought than he has this week.  Not only does he have momentum, he also has Mike Neff,


          After spending the last two seasons behind the wheel of a John Force Racing Mustang, Neff opted this year to return to what he most enjoys and that is making the mechanical decisions on a 10,000 horsepower race car capable of zero-to-320 mile-an-hour acceleration in less than four seconds.


          Nevertheless, while he was driving (and serving as his own crew chief), the former motocross rider earned back-to-back victories in the Summit Nationals in 2011 and 2012.  He is, in fact, the only JFR driver to have won the race.


          Technically, then, he is bidding this week for his third straight win at the Ohio track, albeit his first as Force’s crew chief.


          “Mike Neff and these kids have given me a fast hot rod,” Force said.  “We can play the game in the heat or we can play when it’s cool.  A good race car gives you confidence (as a driver).  You get a good car and you get natural on the lights.  We were struggling with the chassis, the motor and the clutch but now it seems like it’s all coming together.”


          Indeed, after compiling a 6-9 match race record in the season’s first nine events, advancing beyond the second round just one time, Force has gone 10-2 the last three weekends with a win at Bristol, Tenn., that gave him at least one tour victory in 26 of the last 27 seasons.


          In addition, that particular win earned the 135-time tour winner a guaranteed berth in this fall’s Traxxas Nitro Shootout bonus race in which he is the defending Funny Car champion.


          “They were ready to print up t-shirts that said ‘John Force: Extinct,’” he said of his uncustomarily slow start, one in which his winless streak stretched to 31 races.  “It would have been a big seller, too, but I ain’t dead yet.  I can still drive.  I’ll know when it’s time and it ain’t time, yet.


          “The losing is the part that guts you,” Force said of his motivation, “but (losing) makes you want to get back (to the winners’ circle) so much more.  All I could think about (during the first nine races) was getting back.  Winning again is a great feeling, especially being able to share it with all the young guys that work on my hot rod.”



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