It was announced earlier today during a press conference at John
Force Racing headquarters that Ashley Force will turn pro this season
and drive a Ford Mustang Funny Car for John Force Racing with
sponsorship from Castrol, Auto Club of Southern California, Brand
Source, Mac Tools and Mach 1 Air Services.
The crew chief of the new team will be Dean “Guido” Antonelli,
long-time crew member for her father's team. A little background on
Ashley. She's been racing in the sportsman ranks. Last April she earned
her Funny Car license. Since then in testing she's posted performances
of 4.809 seconds, 4.826 seconds at speeds over 320 miles an hour. Her
first NHRA event victory came in Top Alcohol dragster at the 2004 U.S.
Nationals (in Indianapolis).
She also won that year at Dallas, and also at the Auto Club Finals at
Pomona, where she shared the winner's circle with her father. It's the
only father-daughter event winners n NHRA history. In three seasons in
Top Alcohol dragster she won five times in nine final-round
appearances, finishing fourth, seventh and fifth in national points
during that time.
She'll be the 10th female to compete in a Funny Car in NHRA history.
The last female to drive a Funny Car was Cristen Powell during the 2000
season. No female has ever won or qualified No. 1 in Funny Car.
The best race day effort for a female in Funny Car was accomplished by
Della Woods in 1985 at Reading, Pa. She advanced to the semifinals of
that race where she lost to Kenny Bernstein.
Ashley will join her father John, Eric Medlen and Robert Hight on the
team that has claimed 15 NHRA world championship titles and 168
national event victories in NHRA competition since 1987. Ashley plans
to test at Las Vegas this weekend, and Phoenix the following weekend
before her official pro debut February 8, at the CARQUEST Auto Parts
NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, where she will
join her fellow Funny Car competitors as the 2007 NHRA POWERade
Countdown to the Championship begins.
We'd like to welcome Ashley to the teleconference. A little later we'll
have John Force on the call to answer some questions as well.
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