Craig Dollansky Looks to Extend Win Streak to Three at Huset’s Speedway as the World of Outlaws Return to the High-Banked Bullring
Brandon, SD-June 30, 2010- Some tracks just suit certain drivers and the way they drive and for Craig Dollansky, Huset’s Speedway in South Dakota is definitely one of those places. The high-banked bullring takes power, aggressiveness and finesse to get around, and Dollansky has exhibited all three of those traits over the years at the track and has had a great deal of success there. He went undefeated at Huset’s in 2008 and looks to extend his win streak to three at the high-banked 3/8-mile as the World of Outlaws return to the track located in Brandon, South Dakota on Thursday, July 1.
Dollansky has a total of six career wins at Huset’s Speedway dating back to 1995. He was victorious in his very first start at the track and has been fast ever since. In his career with the World of Outlaws at Huset’s, the veteran has eight Top-10 finishes in 12 starts with five of those being Top-Five performances.
“Huset’s has always been one of my favorite tracks and they always prepare the track very well,” shared Dollansky. “It’s definitely one of the more exciting race tracks that we go to as far a driver is concerned. You can do some slicing and dicing and race the top and the bottom. It’s a track I really enjoy racing at.”
The event at Huset’s on Thursday, July 1 will be the World of Outlaws first at the track since 2008, as both scheduled races last year were rained out. It will mark the first time the series will visit Huset’s with the new tires from Goodyear, as well as with double file restarts, which were implemented at the beginning of the 2010 campaign and have provided some exciting racing and allowed driver to come from the back of the back.
“Everyone is in the same boat there since we didn’t race there last year and that was unfortunate, because there are a lot of great race fans up there that we enjoy going up and seeing as well,” said the veteran driver. “It’s a race track that they work hard at and to lose two shows was unfortunate, but hopefully we can get this one in.”
Dollansky has one victory this season, with that coming at Lone Star Speedway in Texas back in March. He is currently ninth in the World of Outlaws championship standings aboard the Big Game Treestands Maxim on the strength of 15 Top-10 finishes with seven of those being Top-Five runs. He is just 72 points out of the sixth spot as the battle from sixth through ninth rages on. Dollansky is one of 12 drivers that have won an A-Feature event this season, while 21 different drivers have led laps in feature events, with 13 drivers setting fast time in qualifying and the same number winning dashes to earn a pole position in a main event.
“The competition level has always been tough out here,” he said. “There are a lot of strong teams out here again this year. It’s World of Outlaws racing. We’re continuing to work with our program here and we’ve made some strides here and some changes that I think will be beneficial for us. I’m looking forward to the next month and the “Month of Money” coming up here.”
Dollansky, who is in his first year driving for the Big Game Motorsports Team, continues to adjust to the new tires this year as well as the double file restarts and some of the other changes that greeted competitors this season. He and his team led by crew chief Mike Woodring along with crew member Lester Groves have been working very hard all season and that has paid off over the last couple of weeks, as they have been very fast, scoring Top-Five finishes in three of the last five races for the World of Outlaws and Top-10 runs in four of the last five.
“It’s been a challenge, that’s for sure,” note the native of Elk River, Minnesota of all the changes in 2010. “Like I said, we’ve sorted some things out and figured out some things that we had been struggling with as the year has worn on. It’s always a work in progress as things continue to change, but we have a good race team here with the Big Game Treestands car. My crew is working hard and we have a lot of racing left and to have some of this stuff sorted out now is good.”
Dollansky has raced his way into the dash 16 times this season and has gone on to pick up Top-10 finishes in 14 of the A-Feature events that followed. He has been among the Top-10 in time trials on 13 times, with seven of those being among the Top-Five, which has earned him bonus points in the series standings. With the way the dash in lined up and inverted in 2010, qualifying plays a very important role when challenging for win.
“You definitely have to be able to qualify,” he explained. “For us, we ran into some issues in that department. It’s a long season and qualifying definitely puts you in a good position for the evening and we’ll keep on working on that as well.”
On Thursday, July 1 at Huset’s Speedway, tickets for adults will be $35, with tickets for juniors (ages 8-14) just $5. Tickets will be available at the track box office in advance and on race day. For more information on tickets visit www.husets-speedway.com or call the track at 605-582-3536.
Previewing the World of Outlaws at Huset’s Speedway
Brandon, SD-June 30, 2010- After Mother Nature was victorious both nights last season, the World of Outlaws will make their return to Huset’s Speedway in South Dakota on Thursday, July 1, which kicks off a stretch of six straight short track races as the 2010 season kicks into high gear.
Craig Dollansky won both events the World of Outlaws ran at Huset’s Speedway in 2008, battling four-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz in the first one and then pacing all 35 laps in the second visit to the high-banked bullring. The veteran has won a total of six wins in his career at Huset’s Speedway.
Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, has won six times in his career with the World of Outlaws at the high-banked bullring, with the most recent of those coming in 2003. He has made 30 starts with the series at the track, which is the most of any driver along with Danny Lasoski. Kinser has 23 Top-10 finishes with the World of Outlaws at Huset’s Speedway and an average finish of 6.2 dating back to 1983.
Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, who is also a three-time Huset’s Speedway track champion, has 40 career wins at the track, though he is still chasing his first victory in a World of Outlaws event there.
Donny Schatz, the four-time and defending series champion, has won twice with the World of Outlaws and four times overall in his career at Huset’s Speedway. He has racked up 14 Top-10 finishes with the series at the track with seven of those being Top-Five performances.
Joey Saldana, the current World of Outlaws point leader has finished in the Top-10 seven times in his career at Huset’s Speedway as he looks for his first win at the high-banked bullring.
Jason Meyers, who is currently tied for the series lead in wins with six this season has finished in the Top-10 in seven of his eight career starts at the track with four of those being Top-Five runs.
All Sides at Sedalia: Jason Sides Wins Kasey’s King of Sedalia Presented By Budweiser at Missouri State Fair Speedway
Sedalia, MO- June 29, 2010- Each season Jason Sides sets a goal to win more races than the year before. After winning two events last season with the World of Outlaws, he wanted to take the checkered flag first at least three times in 2010. He picked up two wins earlier this year and reached the three-win mark on Tuesday night in Kasey’s King of Sedalia Presented By Budweiser at Missouri State Fair Speedway to surpass his win total from 2009.
Sides earned $10,000 for the victory, which was his second at Missouri State Fair Speedway and his first with the World of Outlaws at the historic half-mile, before a very large crowd. The native of Bartlett, Tennessee now has seven career A-Feature wins with the series dating back to 2004.
“It’s great to be here and win,” said Sides. “I hate it for Sam Hafertepe. He kind of left the bottom open for us. It was a great run. First and foremost our hearts go out to Shirley Gray, Sammy’s (Swindell) Mother-in-law, we lost her this week. I know he wanted to win it for her, but I wanted to win it just as bad.”
Sides started third in the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim and took the second spot from Sammy Swindell at the drop of the green. He gained ground on leader Sam Hafertepe Jr. just past the halfway point as the leaders approached some light lapped traffic. Sides went low in turn four on the 15 th lap and powered by Hafertepe on the front straightaway to take the top spot. He would not look back the rest of the way, withstanding a yellow and then a red flag on the very next lap, using strong restarts each time to pull away.
“You really did have to be patient,” noted the winner. “We got our rhythm going around the bottom. Shane (Finch) and Doug (Rankin) have been working their butts off all year and it’s starting to pay off a little now hopefully.”
For Sides the win was his third of the season which marks a new career high with the World of Outlaws, for the 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. He won twice last season and picked up single wins in 2004 and 2007.
“It feels great to get the third one,” Sides said. “There are a lot of big races coming up in the next month, so hopefully this carries us into those.”
Hafertepe led the first 14 laps on Tuesday night after starting on the pole, eventually finish second in the G.H. Plumbing Maxim for the third time in his career with the series as he continues to chase his first win. The native of Sunnyvale, Texas was out front on a lap-6 double file restart and chose the bottom to shoot out to a quick lead as Sides and Swindell battled for second.
“Tonight to run as strong as we did all night long definitely feels good,” shared Hafertepe. “We’re going to go into Huset’s (Speedway) with a really good attitude. We always run strong there and hopefully this momentum from here just keeps on going. We have a pretty tough schedule and a lot of races coming up, so it’s good to get fast right now and hopefully we take advantage of it and it plays into our hand.”
Swindell finished third aboard the Big Game Treestands Maxim in his first start at Missouri State Fair Speedway in five years. The three-time series champion has finished third in three of the last five World of Outlaws races as he looks to add to his win earlier in the month.
“It’s good when you can say you hate to run third again, but we’ve had a bunch of them,” said Swindell. “We’re going to get there sometime. That restart on the outside, that wasn’t the place to be. We got a little run on Sam (Hafertepe) and Jason (Sides) was there. Late in the race you had to be on the bottom and I just did what I could.”
Donny Schatz, who was victorious in 2008 with the World of Outlaw at Sedalia, came home fourth in the Armor All/STP J&J, to earn his 13 th Top-Five finish of the season. The four-time and defending series champion got around Swindell on a lap-16 restart and closed right up on Hafertepe for second before Swindell got back around him.
“It was an all right night,” said Schatz. “We had a new car we were trying and it does a lot of things that we like it to do and some things we don’t like it to do. We qualified good for when we came out and I thought we raced pretty well. Everything we did, we made some headway and it feels like my cars from four or five years ago, so that’s kind of what we were trying to do. It was good, just not good enough to win the race.”
Wayne Johnson finished a very solid fifth in his first start with the World of Outlaws aboard his own Townline Variety Maxim.
Jason Meyers was sixth in the GLR Investments KPC, after starting the night by setting fast time. He took over the lead in the standings for the Showdown for the Bud Crown heading into the finale next week at LaSalle Speedway in Illinois. The California native has a 36-point lead over Paul McMahan, with Steve Kinser one spot behind. The Top-Three finishers will split a $15,000 point fund for the four-race mini-series.
McMahan finished seventh on Tuesday night in the Great Clips Maxim, with Craig Dollansky eighth piloting the Big Game Treestands Maxim. Steve Kinser worked his way from 18th to finish ninth in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim. Joey Saldana, the current World of Outlaws point leader, came all the way from 22 nd to finish 10th aboard the Budweiser Maxim, to earn the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award and also retain his spot at the top of the standings as he chases his first title.
Kasey Kahne, who helped promote the event finished 14th after starting 20th in his Budweiser Maxim as a teammate to Saldana and McMahan.
The World of Outlaws return to action on Thursday, July 1 at Huset’s Speedway in South Dakota.
FORCE’S CASTROL TEAM WINS FULL THROTTLE HARD-WORKING CREW AWARD
YORBA LINDA, CA (June 29, 2010) — It was announced today that for their difference-making performance at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Full Throttle Energy Drink saluted the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang team as one of this week’s recipients of the NHRA Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award. Other winners included Larry Dixon’s Al-Anabi team in Top Fuel, Greg Anderson’s Summit backed Pro Stock team and Steve Johnson’s WyoTech Suzuki team.
A week after winning his fourth Wally of the season, John Force had a lot of track to cover from his No. 16 qualifying spot at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Continuing to prove that no one should count him out this season, the 14-time champion knocked off the No. 1 qualifier, his daughter, Ashley Force Hood, as well as fellow Funny Car driver Paul Lee and John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight en route to the 208th final appearance of his legendary career.
“I came all the way from the cellar, the 16th spot, but Mike Neff, (Austin) Coil and Bernie (Fedderly) they have done a great job with this Mustang to put us up in the points lead,” Force said.
“I have a great group of guys on my Castrol GTX High Mileage team and it is not just my team that can accept this award. All three of my teams including Robert’s Auto Club guys and Ashley’s Castrol GTX guys helped us throughout the day on Sunday. We win together and that is part of the One Ford approach we have here at John Force Racing. I want to thank Full Throttle for this award and for their support of all of NHRA drag racing.”
Full Throttle celebrates the diligence and extra effort of crewmembers who strive to make an impact in every race, whether it’s to overcome an obstacle, or the odds, to get their car on track.
For each team’s performance at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, the team will receive a check for $3,000, along with the opportunity to be named the overall NHRA Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award winner as determined by fan vote on NHRA.com at the end of the season.
In a letter sent to each team Full Throttle expressed their appreciation for each team’s efforts
“On behalf of Full Throttle Energy Drink, we congratulate your team as well as the other three professional teams to win on their achievement and applaud your crew’s hard work throughout the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.”
In Top Fuel the Al-Anabi Racing team picked up the NHRA Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award for their efforts racing to their fourth pole of the season with a 3.780 run at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals on Friday night. Larry Dixon ultimately stayed perfect by going 7-for-7 in the finals, while also recording his second consecutive win in Norwalk and the 55th victory of his career.
The Pro Stock NHRA Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award was the most obvious choice as the Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GXP team banked $50,000 on Saturday for winning their third K&N Horsepower Challenge, setting up an even bigger payday for Greg Anderson when the three-time champion cashed in again on Sunday by racing to victory, earning a sweep bonus of $25,000 by doubling up at the event backed by Anderson’s sponsor at the facility that holds its naming rights.
Steve Johnson’s Racing/WyoTech Suzuki team was the final NHRA Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award winner. He was able to stay atop the field at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals to give him his first No. 1 qualifier in 15 years. The veteran rider’s last No. 1 came at the Atlanta event in 1995.
Previewing Kasey’s King of Sedalia Presented By Budweiser
Sedalia, MO-June 28, 2010- The third round of the Showdown for the Bud Crown is on tap at Missouri State Fair Speedway as Kasey’s King of Sedalia Presented By Budweiser takes to the historic half-mile on Tuesday, June 29, after being delayed by rain on June 16.
With two rounds of the four-race mini-series in the books, just seven points separate 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser and Jason Meyers at the top of the standings in the chase for the Bud Crown. A total of $15,000 is on the line for the drivers that finish among the Top-Three in the competition, with Brad Sweet currently third, Paul McMahan fourth, just eight points behind him and hometown favorite Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, fifth, just eight markers out of the fourth spot.
In addition to donning the promoter hat, Kasey Kahne will also compete for the second time this season with the World of Outlaws as he joins his pair of drivers Joey Saldana and Paul McMahan, who is a former winner at Missouri State Fair Speedway with the series. Kahne finished third at Sedalia in 2008 and was second in his debut at the track in 2007. The native of Enumclaw, Washington competed in the opener of the Showdown for the Bud Crown in March, setting a new track record that night in time trials before having some trouble in the feature.
Joey Saldana leads the series into Sedalia as the current series point leader on the strength of a series-best six wins and 20 Top-Five finishes. He leads the series in laps led and money earned as well as he chases his first title. The second generation driver has nine career Top-10 finishes in 10 starts with the series at Sedalia.
Steve Kinser has five wins with the series at Missouri State Fair Speedway to lead all drivers. He has racked up 19 Top-10 finishes over the years with 15 of those being Top-Fives. The Hall of Famer has won four times this season including three on half-mile tracks, with the most recent coming on Saturday night and is currently second in points on the strength of a series-best 27 Top-10 finishes, as he seeks his record 21st title.
Jason Meyers won for the first time at Missouri State Fair Speedway in 2005 and has finished ninth or better in each of his last five starts with the World of Outlaws at the track. He is tied for the series lead with six wins this season and is just seven points behind Kinser in the battle for the Bud Crown and is currently third in points as he looks for his first series title.
Danny Lasoski, who hails from nearby Dover, Missouri has won three times with the World of Outlaws at Sedalia and has eight overall wins at the track in his career. He has an average finish of 5.3 with the World of Outlaws in 17 starts at Missouri State Fair Speedway to lead all drivers.
Donny Schatz, the four-time and defending World of Outlaws champion, has won twice at Sedalia including the series last stop at the half-mile in 2008. He has 11 career Top-10 finishes at the track including in eight of his last nine starts there. He recently moved into the fourth spot in points.
The World of Outlaws raced for the first time at Missouri State Fair Speedway in 1978 with Hall of Famer Rick Ferkel taking the checkered flag. A total of 12 drivers have picked up wins with the series at the historic half-mile over the years.
- Steve Kinser is the current leader in the overall standings in the Showdown for the Bud Crown, holding a seven-point advantage over Jason Meyers. Kinser has won five times with the World of Outlaws at Missouri State Fair Speedway and has 19 Top-10 finishes with the series at the track.
- Donny Schatz was victorious last time the World of Outlaws visited Sedalia in 2008, and also won the companion Modified event that night. The four-time and defending series champion has two career wins at the track with the World of Outlaws.
- Jason Meyers, who leads the World of Outlaws in wins this season with six, was victorious at Missouri State Fair Speedway in 2005 and has five career Top-10 finishes with the series at the track.
- Danny Lasoski who hails from nearby Dover, Missouri has won three wins with the World of Outlaws at the half-mile and has finished in the Top-10 in 16 of his 17 starts with the series at the track.
- Paul McMahan, who drives for Kasey Kahne Racing, scored his first career World of Outlaws A-Feature win at Sedalia in 2001. The veteran has six career Top-10 finishes with the series at the track.
- Joey Saldana, who is the current World of Outlaws point leader, is looking for his first career win at Missouri State Fair Speedway. He is tied for the series lead with six A-Feature wins this season.
- Kasey Kahne is still chasing his first career World of Outlaws A-Feature win. He has eight career Top-10 finishes with the series with one of those being a Top-Five.
- Lucas Wolfe, Brian Ellenberger and Ben Gregg will each be making their first starts at Missouri State Fair Speedway this week.
- Toni Lutar, one of the contenders for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award will be making his first start at Sedalia since 2004, when he set fast time in qualifying.
- By the Numbers: Kasey’s King of Sedalia Presented By Budweiser
- Read more »
World of Outlaws Wrap-Up: Junction Motor Speedway & Lakeside Speedway
Concord, NC-June 28, 2010-
Biggest crowd in track history: The World of Outlaws debuted at Junction Motor Speedway last Friday night to the largest crowd in the history of the state-of-the-art high-banked 3/8-mile located in McCool Junction, Nebraska. The event marked the first 410-winged Sprint Car race at the track since 2006 and just the fifth-ever 410-winged Sprint Car race at the facility. Fans began arriving very early in the afternoon and by race time many were standing alongside the grandstands to catch a glimpse of the action as nearly every seat in the bleachers was filled.
“We get to go to a lot of race tracks and don’t get to go to too many that are this nice,” said four-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz after finishing third at Junction Motor Speedway on Friday night. “This is an awesome facility and I’m glad to get to come and run it. I kind of wish this was sitting in Fargo, North Dakota to be honest, but it’s sitting in McCool Junction and we’re glad to be here.”
A new track record: Lucas Wolfe set a new track record in time trials at Junction Motor Speedway last Friday night, touring the high-banked 3/8-mile in 14.184 seconds to break the existing mark by almost two-tenths of-a-second. A total of five drivers broke the track record on a very hot and muggy evening. For Wolfe, it was the second track record he has established this year and the third time that he has been fastest in time trials. He is currently seventh in the series standings as he closes in on his first win.
“The night started off well,” said Wolfe. “We were able to get a good draw and a good lap of qualifying and that’s always good. We had a pretty decent night. We were struggling a little in the middle and kept working and really got going there toward the last part of the feature. It was another good night for us and hopefully we can keep it up and continue to have good nights down the road.”
Top qualifier Coughlin exits Norwalk after quarterfinals
NORWALK, Ohio (June 27) — Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s weekend in his home state of Ohio finished a tad sooner than the five-time world champion would have liked, but after qualifying No. 1 on the Pro Stock grid and taking the early lead in the new K&N Horsepower Challenge points, the Delaware, Ohio, resident was mostly pleased with his quarterfinal finish.
The only racer to post a 6.5-second run all weekend, a feat he accomplished in qualifying when he posted a 6.592 at 208.97 mph, Coughlin opened Sunday’s action against No. 16 pro Justin Humphreys. A late motor swap Saturday afternoon for the JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt team added some drama to the race, but when the lights flashed it was Coughlin coolly taking the victory with a 6.722 at 205.41 mph to Humphrey’s 6.745 at 204.51 mph.
“Something was corrupt in the ignition box and we found the problem last night so it turns out the motor wasn’t the problem,” Coughlin said. “It wasn’t much of an issue either way because the guys at Victor Cagnazzi Racing only give us top-notch horsepower. Still, it was good to feel the car accelerate when I dropped the clutch against Hump.”
Up next was Greg Anderson, a three-time NHRA champion who has mostly struggled this season. As is usually the case, Coughlin got a jump on his opponent, leaving with a .029-second reaction time to Anderson’s .049-second launch, but this time Anderson was able to track down Coughlin and win by a few feet. The final numbers had Anderson crossing in 6.713 at 204.85 mph to Coughlin’s 6.749 at 205.38 mph.
“We knew Greg had run pretty well in the first round (6.698) so we figured we needed to pick it up a touch,” said Coughlin, who turned 40 this week. “We over-adjusted by a hair and our two-hundredths of a second advantage at the starting line turned into a one-hundredth of a second loss at the top end.
“It was a big win for him and a bummer for us, but that’s drag racing.”
Coughlin remains third in the Full Throttle championship points.
The eliminations rounds of the NHRA Norwalk Nationals will be shown in primetime Sunday on ESPN2.
The NHRA tour takes a weekend off before heading to Seattle for the 23rd annual NHRA Northwest Nationals, July 9-11 at Pacific Raceways.
FULL THROTTLE POINT STANDINGS (unofficial after the 4th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals)
FUNNY CAR – 1. John Force, 1024; 2. Robert Hight, 951; 3. Matt Hagan, 849; 4. Jack Beckman, 835; 5. Ashley Force Hood, 813; 6. Bob Tasca III, 792; 7. Tim Wilkerson, 777; 8. Ron Capps, 751; 9. Del Worsham, 741; 10. Tony Pedregon, 637.
TOP FUEL – 1. Larry Dixon, 1256; 2. Tony Schumacher, 1080; 3. Cory McClenathan, 1030; 4. Antron Brown, 929; 5. Doug Kalitta, 901; 6. Brandon Bernstein, 843; 7. Shawn Langdon, 622; 8. Morgan Lucas, 608; 9. Steve Torrence, 534; 10. Terry McMillen, 474.
PRO STOCK – 1. Mike Edwards, 1379; 2. Allen Johnson, 987; 3. Jeg Coughlin, 857; 4. Greg Anderson, 799; 5. Jason Line, 699; 6. Greg Stanfield, 681; 7. Ron Krisher, 673; 8. Rodger Brogdon, 563; 9. Shane Gray, 561; 10. Rickie Jones, 509.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE – 1. Hector Arana, 721; 2. Matt Smith, 601; 3. Andrew Hines, 562; 4. Michael Phillips, 543; 5. Steve Johnson, 502; 6. LE Tonglet, 481; 7. Eddie Krawiec, 453; 8. David Hope, 416; 9. Craig Treble, 386; 10. Karen Stoffer, 379.
FORCE REACHES 208th CAREER FINAL IN NORWALK
NORWALK, OH — 14-time Funny Car champion John Force almost missed qualifying for the 4th annual Summit Equipment NHRA Nationals but almost 24 hours after grabbing the last qualifying spot he was one of only two Funny Cars still standing at the Norwalk track. Force upset daughter and No. 1 qualifier Ashley Force Hood in the first round and then blasted past Paul Lee and Robert Hight before he was upended by fellow Ford driver Tim Wilkerson in the final.
“I came all the way from the cellar, the 16th spot, but Mike Neff, (Austin) Coil and Bernie (Fedderly) they have done a great job with this Mustang to put us up in the points lead. I guess what bothers me is when you take out Ashley who was low and she had a shot at winning. Then I got lucky against Robert when he had a problem with the Tree,” said Force.
“At the end of the day you really want that win for them for it to pay off. Then you can’t get it. I was happy for Ford with Wilkerson getting that win. Thank God all the sponsors are on all my cars. It is the Ford One approach too. I you look at what I said on the ESPN2 RaceDay show. I said Edwards can’t be beat by anybody even though Greg Anderson is a great racer the good Lord needs to move the money around. I think that the Lord is just moving the money over to Wilkerson. I had a good hot rod and I don’t know what happened and I don’t care. I know my guys fought all day and that is just way it is.”
In the final Force ran his slowest ET of the day, 4.272 seconds, at the worst possible time considering Wilkerson made his best pass of 4.191 seconds. With the win Wilkerson evened his final round record with the winningest driver in NHRA history at 3-3.
Force opened his race day with a startling 4.212 second pass as Force Hood smoked the tires of her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. An emotional Force practically apologized for defeating one of the fans’ favorite drivers over the Summit Motorsports Park public address system.
“She’s my kid. She knows I love her with all my heart. She is trying to move up in the Countdown and I thought she had me covered. She smoked the tires at the top end and I drove around here at the last second. She knows how to handle that race car. (Co-crew chiefs) Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas do a great job. The fans love Ashley and nobody loves Ashley more than me and her mom,” said a subdued Force.
Force overpowered the Jim Dunn owned Funny Car driven by Paul Lee in round two and he expressed his appreciation to the legendary driver and team owner afterwards. Force recorded the third quickest ET of the session as once again his opponent smoked the tires.
“You go up against big Jim Dunn and hell he is as old as me. They have a great racer in that kid Paul Lee. That is a family team and they do a great job over there. For DeWalt, Stanley and Mac Tools all the sponsors that really carry us we appreciate it. I know it is hot out here and God bless the fans but come on Jimmy Prock and that Auto Club Mustang with Robert Hight,” said Force prior to Hight’s second round run.
Force’s triumphs over Force Hood and Lee coupled with Robert Hight’s opening round wins over Jeff Diehl and Ron Capps set up an all JFR semi-final round and one of the most bizarre rounds of racing in recent memory.
As the Christmas Tree activated in the semi-final round Force’s Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang launched and flew down the track tripping the finish line sensors with a quickest of session and winning time of 4.249 seconds. Hight’s Auto Club Mustang did not move initially as Force’s car raced away. 2009 Full Throttle Funny Car champion Hight explained what was going on as he watched his chances of possibly equally Force’s 2010 win total of four disappear.
“I honestly don’t know what just took place. When I pull up, I don’t look at the Tree. I am looking down track to make sure that my Mustang is straight. I see (Jimmy) out of the corner of my eye stop me and I stop. He does his deal and he walks away. When he walked away (this time), the bottom stage bulb flashed. I stopped in my tracks. I thought maybe he pulled me clear through the beams and (asked myself) ‘am I way too far in?’ I saw the flash and thought, ‘how did that just happen?’
“I rolled forward and the top pre-stage bulbs lit. I blacked that out and never thought of it again until it was over with. I saw John pre-stage. I pulled my (fuel) pump on, took my foot off the clutch and started bumping in. I got staged I looked over and he was staged. I looked at the Tree and I never saw anything. He left. You can see on our video it did flash, the Tree did, but I swear I did not see it. It was a quick one,” said a dejected Hight outside the Auto Club hauler.
“For some reason, something was weird and it was a quick flash. I don’t know what took place. It wasn’t anything more than driver malfunction. I have no idea. I did not see the Tree come down.”
In the final Force smoked the tires in the preferred left lane as Wilkerson took the win light for the second time in 2010. The win by Wilkerson was the 10th for Ford Racing in 13 NHRA national events. With the runner-up finish Force increased his series lead to 73 over teammate Robert Hight.
The final round loss also kept Force winless at one of his favorite stops on the NHRA tour. Summit Motorsports Park is the only track currently on the NHRA Full Throttle schedule that Force has not visited the winner’s circle.
“I won here last year at the Night of Fire match race. I love the (track owner) Bader family. They are the best promoters on the circuit. They are right up there with the Bill Doners (owner of Orange County Raceway and a number of other SoCal tracks) and the (Jim) Rockstadts (a Doner promoter) of the old days. They are the best now. They still promote. Bader was with me all over Cleveland on Thursday doing media and Robert was in Toledo. At the end of the day I really wanted to win here. I have never won this race as a national event. I have won it as a match race but never at the nationals,” said Force.
In the Top Alcohol Dragster ranks both Brittany and Courtney made second round exits. The hot track was too much for their BrandSource and Ford Racing A Fuel dragsters. For Brittany who has spent most of her time recently in a middle school classroom teaching English to 7th and 8th graders her time at the track was a nice diversion.
“I really am comfortable in my BrandSource A Fuel dragster. I still feel the butterflies but the more races I get the more comfortable I get. I am feeling confident in the car and just more relaxed. I am really excited to be heading into the summer. Being able to come out here and race all summer lets the team get better prepared. That will help us get a more consistent car. The team gets more information when you can make a lot of runs,” said Force.
While heat was a contributor to Courtney Force’s early exit an uncharacteristically slow reaction time ended her day well before her Ford Racing A Fueler crossed the finish line. Force did not shy away from taking responsibility for her error.
“I am not sure what happened. I know it was my own fault for not leaving. It was a horrible reaction time. Sometimes something goes through your head or you blink and you just miss it. He didn’t make we wait long but I was just ready to go and I just took too long. My foot just didn’t want to leave,” said the youngest Force driver.
“I thought we would have a little better outcome today. I can’t complain. You get hard on yourself when you lose a round. The good news is we both got qualified in the top half of the field. We both won first round. The second round didn’t go as well as we hoped. I think it is good that I have been out of the car for almost a month but I don’t think we have slacked off too much. We did alright for ourselves.”
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2010 World of Outlaws Championship Standings through June 26
|12.||Sam Hafertepe Jr.||3365||-696||$33,800||0||1||5|