, daughter of NHRA champion John Force
and star of A&E's Driving Force
, entered the record books over the weekend by becoming the first female Funny Car driver to reach a final round of competition. The 24-year-old racer competed for Team Castrol at the Seventh Annual ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at the city's Motor Speedway on October 26 to 28.
"I know a lot of people talk about me being a gal and reaching these milestones but I would not have made it to the final round without the eight guys on my crew and the hard work of [co-crew chiefs] Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas,” the Driving Force
star said. “We want to win races for our sponsors and our teams. [That day] was tough because Robert [Hight, brother-in-law and Countdown to One contender], got knocked out early but we all pulled together behind our Castrol GTX Ford Mustang.”
Ashley Force's win stands in contrast to Hight's disappointing loss, which has dampened John Force Racing's hopes for the championship.
"It's real tough. We got ourselves in this position. We are not ever going to give up until it is absolutely over," Hight said. "We'll go to Pomona and see what kind of conditions we have. We are going to test here tomorrow. We'll just do the best we can. We are off a little right now and that is what put us in this position."
Despite the loss, John Force, another star of A&E's Driving Force
, expressed much optimism when he addressed his four teams.
"We need a miracle but I love the Hail Mary," he said.
Still recovering from the injuries he sustained from his Funny Car crash on September 23, John
Force had no choice but to withdraw from the competition. Standing in for him was Phil Burkart, Jr., who took out Ron Capps in the first round but lost to Cruz Pedregon on the second.
"We dropped a cylinder early, it shook and I started to pedal it [but] I just didn't catch it fast enough. I was trying to get it back under control. I went to grab for the brake and the car was moving around pretty good. I couldn't get the brake to help me," Burkart explained, before acknowledging the significance of his win in the first round. "It was instrumental in the first round, if nothing else, to take out Ron Capps. That part alone was huge. That is the type of round win I came here for.”
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image Courtesy of johnforceracing.com)