ASHLEY QUALIFIES NO. 1, BUT SETTLES FOR RUNNER-UP AT PHOENIX
Demke Takes Top Alcohol Dragster Final by .006 of a Second
PHOENIX, Ariz. – By a tantalizingly close .006 of a second, Ashley Force and the Castrol/Hot Wheels dragster had to settle for runner-up honors in Sunday’s opening race in the 2005 NHRA Lucas Sportsman Drag Racing Series at Firebird Raceway.
Ms. Force, the No. 1 qualifier for the Southwest Division (Division 7) opener at 5.452 seconds, was beaten in the final by Chris Demke of Sunland, Calif., in a classic battle between cars using different engine combinations.
Demke, driving a supercharged, alcohol-burning entry, used a .047-.058 starting line advantage to make a slightly slower 5.473 second quarter mile a winner against the 5.468 posted by the non-supercharged, nitromethane-fueled dragster driven by Force and owned by Jerry Darien and Ken Meadows.
It was a disappointing, though far from catastrophic, result for the 22-year-old Force who, after finishing fourth in last year’s Lucas national driver standings is poised this year to make a run at the championship.
The daughter of 13-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force, Ashley also is trying to repeat as the South Central Division (Division 4) champion in the Top Alcohol Dragster class. Her next regional appearance will be in a Division 4 race at Houston, Texas, this weekend.
Last year, in addition to three regional victories, Ashley won NHRA national events at Indianapolis, Ind., Dallas, Texas and Pomona, Calif.
Ironically, John Force won the Checker/Schuck’s/Kragen Nationals at Phoenix just one week ago, beating Ron Capps by only .019 of a second.
Anaheim’s Dennis Taylor beat Steve Gasparrelli of West Covina to win the Top Alcohol Funny Car title and Vinnie Deceglie of Alta Loma won in Competition Eliminator. Because of rain delays that wiped out Saturday qualifying, racing in Super Stock, Stock and three other categories continued late Sunday.
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Ashley Force’s results from Sunday’s Lucas Sportsman Series drag racing event at Firebird Raceway, first event in the Southwest Division (Division 7):
TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER -- Chris Demke, Sunland, Calif., .047, 5.473, 265.53 mph, def. Ashley Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., .058, 5.468, 264.08 mph. (First round, Ashley Force, .085, 5.408, 262.08 mph, def. Larry Miersch, .056, 5.714, 241.37 mph; Second round, Ashley Force, .108, 5.434, 263.51 mph, def. Ed Schmeeckle, .081, 5.602, 255.34 mph).
TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR FINAL – Dennis Taylor, Anaheim, Calif., 2005 Chevrolet Camaro, .062, 5.717, 247.07 mph, def. Steve Gasparrelli, West Covina, Calif., 2003 Pontiac Firebird, .085, 5.744, 250.18 mph.
COMPETITION FINAL – Vinnie Deceglie, Alta Loma, Calif., 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, def. Colt Mikel, Hempstead, Texas, 2002 Chevy S-10 truck.