Force gets first victory of season in NHRA; Roush puts three fusions in top four in sprint cup race
DEARBORN, Mich., June 1, 2008 – John Force's Mustang showed plenty of Force-power, and with it came the first victory of the season for the legendary racer, to highlight Ford Racing's efforts this past weekend.
In addition to Force earning his first victory of the season in the NHRA race in Topeka, Kan., Roush Fenway put three Ford Fusions into the top four spots in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Dover, Del., and Rick Crawford used his F-150 to jump into first place in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship standings, also in Dover.
John Force drove his Mustang Funny Car to victory just eight months after suffering a career-threatening injury, defeating series point leader Tim Wilkerson in the final. The win marked the 22nd straight year that Force has captured at least one NHRA victory. Force thanked Ford Racing fans by taking to trophy into the grandstand and celebrating with them.
"It's huge for me mentally," Force said of his first win since last August. "At the end of the day, winning is what it's all about. I know every driver says that, but when you've won like me, you begin to take it for granted. And then I got slapped [in last season's crash] and I don't take it for granted any more."
The win helped Force jump up two spots to third place in the standings. His daughter, Ashley Force, remains second in the standings, 81 points behind leader Tim Wilkerson.
In NASCAR action, Ford Racing started the weekend as strong as it finished as all three series competed in Dover. Greg Biffle captured the pole in the Sprint Cup race, while Carl Edwards got the pole in the Nationwide Series race.
Roush Fenway Racing had three of the most dominant cars in the Cup race as Edwards finished second, Biffle took third and Matt Kenseth wasn't far behind in fourth place. Biffle and Edwards combined to lead over half of the race as Biffle led for all but five of the first 172 laps and Edwards led for a total of 64 laps. The top-five finish was Biffle's second in a row and fifth of the season.
"Our team has been building really, really fast race cars – really good cars," said Biffle. "We've been super-fast about everywhere. At Darlington [S.C.] we were on the pole and we led a tremendous amount of the race… and then we came to Charlotte [N.C.] and had two good cars and come here and sit on the pole and had a great car for the whole race. I really feel like we've sort of turned the corner and are super-competitive. Now we just have to get all of the gremlins out of it that keep us from finishing good every week."
Jamie McMurray put another Roush car into the top 10 as he crossed the line in 10th place. Travis Kvapil was right behind, finishing 11th in the No. 28 Fusion.
Edwards moved up two spots in the standings to fourth place, while Biffle jumped six spots to fifth place.
One day earlier, Edwards grabbed another second place finish in the Nationwide Series race. Biffle joined Edwards in the top five of this race as well, taking fifth place in the No. 16 Fusion.
"It was a good points day for us," said Edwards, "which is the only conciliation for not winning the thing, but it's good. I'm proud of my guys for getting this car fast. In practice we were not good at all. We qualified on the pole and ran second, that's a step forward and hopefully we can continue this and run better and gain some more points for this championship."
The finish was Edwards' sixth top-five finish of the season through 14 races. Edwards remains third in the standings, 144 points behind leader Clint Bowyer.
In the Craftsman Truck Series race, Rick Crawford was able to land a ninth place finish and propel himself into the points lead. Crawford holds a 20-point lead over second place driver Matt Crafton. Travis Kvapil was the top Ford finisher in the race, placing fourth in the No. 09 F-150.
"We were getting through turns one and two pretty good and we were really tight off of four," said Crawford. "With my arms crossed over pedaling this Ford F-150 with Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International power under the hood and with this Roush Yates engine, this thing just wanted to drive forward and wouldn't turn left.
"How about that? End the race with the points lead in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series."
Next weekend, all three NASCAR Series will all be in competition at different locations. The Sprint Cup Series will be in Pocono, Pa., the Nationwide Series will be in Nashville, Tenn., and the Truck Series will be in Fort Worth, Texas. Also in action is the NHRA, which is in Chicago, and the Grand-Am Rolex Series at Watkins Glen International, N.Y.
- John Force, driver of the Castrol GTX Mustang, won Sunday's NHRA race in Topeka, Kan., adding to his record with his 126th victory. Force moved up two spots in the standings to third place.
- Carl Edwards was the top Ford driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Dover, Del., finishing second in his No. 99 Fusion. Edwards moved up two spots to fourth in the standings. Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Fusion, was on the pole for the race.
- Carl Edwards was the top Ford driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Dover, finishing second in the No. 60 Fusion. Edwards, who was on the pole for the race, remains third in the standings, 144 points behind leader Clint Bowyer.
- Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 F-150, finished ninth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and moved into first place in the championship point standings. Travis Kvapil was the top Ford driver in the race, finishing fourth in the No. 09 F-150.