Ashley Force eliminates dad John in Funny Car

Updated: April 29, 2007, 9:06 PM ET
Associated Press

COMMERCE, Ga. -- Ashley Force won the first father-daughter race in NHRA history Sunday, edging 14-time series champion John Force in the first round of Funny Car eliminations in the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway

Ashley finished in 4.779 seconds to easily edge John (5.783 seconds). The 24-year-old rookie advanced to the semifinals, equaling the best Funny Car effort for a female driver in NHRA history, before losing to eventual runner-up Mike Ashley.

"She's a great young driver and she's probably gonna whip me a bunch, but I'm OK with it because she's my baby."
-- John Force

"Today, I'm a proud father," John said. "I've dreamed of this day for a long time and it makes me emotional to think it finally came true. She's a great young driver and she's probably gonna whip me a bunch, but I'm OK with it because she's my baby."

The Funny Car final was a classic battle between the top two qualifiers, with Robert Hight taking advantage of some late tire smoke from Ashley.

The two were side-by-side most of the way down the track until Ashley's Dodge Charger started spinning its tires around 1,000 feet. That was all Hight needed to take the win in his Ford Mustang, crossing the finish line with a 4.882 at 314.61 mph to Ashley's 5.167 at 229.66 mph.

Second-generation driver Brandon Bernstein won the Top Fuel event to move into first place in the series standings. The son of NHRA star Kenny Bernstein has won the last two races to push his career victory total to 14. Bernstein had a 4.662-second run at 305.01 mph in the final to beat Doug Herbert, who posted a 4.714 at 297.02.

Greg Anderson raced to his fourth Pro Stock win of the season to take a 212-point lead in the standings. Racing former boss Warren Johnson in an all-Pontiac GTO final, Anderson claimed his 47th career victory by posting a 6.671 at 207.62 to hold off the International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee's performance of 6.719 at 205.79.

Karen Stoffer's second win of the year helped her regain the Pro Stock Motorcycle points lead. Stoffer took an easy win on her Suzuki in the final when opponent Matt Smith's Buell broke as he let the clutch out at the start of the race.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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