John Force Racing–Midwest Nationals

20th of 24 races in the NHRA Mello Yello Series

2nd of 6 races in Countdown to Championship

4th annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals

Gateway Motorsports Park

St. Louis, MO

Sept. 27, 2015

Final round results from Sunday’s 4th annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, twentieth race in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL – Antron Brown, Brownsburg, Ind., Matco Tools/US Army dragster, 3.721, 325.92 mph def. Dave Connolly, Mooresville, NC, C&J Energy dragster, 3.753, 328.94 mph.

FUNNY CAR – Del Worsham, Villa Park, Calif., DHL Toyota, 3.964, 320.13 mph def. Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Mopar Dodge, 3.983, 324.20 mph

PRO STOCK – Drew Skillman, Bargersville, Ind., Ray Skillman Discount Chevrolet Chevrolet Camaro, 6.529, 211.63 mph def. Erica Enders, New Orleans, La., Engines Inc. Chevrolet Camaro, 17.947, 46.65 mph def.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE – Hector Arana Jr., Dix Hills, NY, Lucas Oil Buell, 6.860, 196.50 mph def. Hector Arana, Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell, 6.932, 195.03 mph.

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ST LOUIS — It was a monster turnaround weekend for Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. Last weekend Force struggled in qualifying and was ousted in the first round. Today the third year pro raced to the semi-finals on the heels of a strong qualifying performance and moved up to the No. 4 position in points just four points out of third place.

In the first round Force took out Troy Buff with her quickest run of the weekend 3.746 seconds at 327.11 mph. In the second round Force took a starting line advantage, .049 to .107, and turned it into a hole shot win over veteran Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta. At the finish line the scoreboards lit up for Force’s 3.773 seconds in front of Kalitta’s 3.762 second run.

“The entire Monster Energy team has come together this this weekend in St Louis. We struggled last weekend just to get the car down the track but this weekend we went down the track every single run. We made it to the semi-finals and that is a pretty good weekend for us. We moved up to the No. 4 position in the points and we are going to get after it in Reading in a couple days,” said Brittany Force, at the end of the day.

Over the course of the last four races Force and the Monster Energy team have a runner-up finish and two additional semi-final finishes. They have moved from ninth place to fourth place in the points and are legitimate championship contenders with four races left in the season. Force will return to Maple Grove Raceway next weekend where she raced to a runner-up finish last year.

Courtney Force was unable to repeat her 2014 St. Louis win today at Gateway International Raceway for the 4th Annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. The young driver secured the No. 7 qualifying spot going in to race day with a career-best 3.953 second pass at 325.30 mph and lined up against Tim Wilkerson in the opening round of eliminations this morning.

The two year streak of John Force Racing hoisting the Funny Car AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals trophy ended today in the quarter-finals when 16-time Funny Car champion John Force was defeated by Matt Hagan. Force, the 2013 AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals winner, qualified No. 8 and had to face teammate Robert Hight in the first round. Both Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Cars ran into trouble at half-track but it was Force who got the win light.

In the second round John Force faced one of his toughest competitors and was a few hundredths of a second away from reaching the semi-finals. Force and Hagan left the starting line together but Hagan got to the finish line just in front of Force, 3.979 to 4.014 seconds. The winningest driver in NHRA history held onto 5th place in the points and he is also focused on the next four races as he makes his push for an unprecedented 17th Mello Yello Drag Racing Series championship.

“I said it on TV I will be ready for the Countdown and if you look at the leaps and jumps in performance we have made in making these cars faster we are right there. When other teams run in the threes we are right there in the threes with them. We aren’t on their pace yet but it isn’t just one team you look out there and there are four or five teams running in the threes and we are right in the mix. We have four races left and we need those Chevrolet engineers to keep working with us,” said Force, who has two wins so far in 2015.

“The Funny Cars are running together like Pro Stock. A lot of it is made up on the starting line. I am working on my own reaction times. I am just working on getting better. The key is we have four races and there are a lot of rounds still out there. We’ll see what happens.”

Robert Hight and the AAA Insurance Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car did everything they could for their sponsor this weekend. Starting on Thursday with a pre-race press conference and then a AAA customer race on Thursday night the 2010 Midwest Nationals champion was constantly promoting and racing. On Friday and Saturday the 2009 Funny Car champion hosted Nitro School from the AAA Stage with NHRA announcer Alan Reinhardt and on Sunday Hight got an early look at the race track as he led the SealMaster Track Walk for fans.

Unfortunately, Hight’s success and positive mojo for his sponsor did not translate to round wins on Sunday. He faced teammate John Force in the first round and came up on the losing end of a tire smoking battle. The outcome was definitely not what he was looking for at the second race of the Countdown to the Championship but Hight remained undeterred when he spoke with ESPN’s John Kernan from his AAA Insurance Chevrolet Camaro SS pit area.

“There are a lot of good cars running good. We are going to go out and we are going to be aggressive these last four races. We are going to hit it hard and let the chips fall where ever they fall. This AAA Chevrolet team is a strong team and we are going to be ready in Reading. This class is super competitive and you can’t take anyone for granted,” said Hight.