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NHRA: Force Hood Expecting Child; Neff Steps Back Into Driver's Seat; Hight Named President of John Force Racing


force hood

FORCE HOOD EXPECTING CHILD; NEFF STEPS BACK INTO DRIVERS SEAT; HIGHT NAMED PRESIDENT AS JOHN FORCE RACING MAKES MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR 2011: Funny Car driving sensation and two-time reigning Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winner Ashley Force Hood announced that she and husband Dan Hood are expecting their first child and that she will sit out the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season. Former John Force crew chief Mike Neff will take over driving and tuning duties on the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang for the 2011 season.

“This past November, after watching my dad clinch his 15th championship, Dan and I decided we would try to start a family,” said Force Hood. “We felt that if God wanted it to happen, it would happen. Well, God didn’t waste any time and I am pregnant and due at the end of the summer. Dan and I know there is always a risk at the beginning of a pregnancy so we waited as long as possible to say anything to make sure everything was all right and there were no problems.”

Also included in the announcements from John Force Racing was the move of crew chief Dean “Guido” Antonelli as general manager of the John Force Racing facility in Brownsburg, Indiana, while 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Funny Car world champion, Robert Hight, was named president of John Force Racing. Also announced was the formation of John Force Entertainment, a JFR subsidiary that has been charged with responsibility for building the JFR brand on a variety of new and existing platforms, including a new reality show featuring the JFR drivers and family members. Force Hood will serve as president of John Force Entertainment. John Force Racing also announced the creation of a mobile road show that will display at sites in the same market as NHRA events to further spread the word about his team and NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing. For more information, visit


NHRA ANNOUNCES PLANS TO IMPROVE FAN EXPERIENCE AT FULL THROTTLE EVENTS: Furthering the ongoing initiative to improve the racing experience for fans at NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events, NHRA has announced a two-pronged approach to minimize excessive downtime as a result of oildowns and track preparation. The NHRA has invested in additional trackside cleanup equipment and implemented strict oildown penalties, which include monetary fines and championship point deductions for violations. The NHRA has added equipment to the NHRA Safety Safari presented by AAA, including an additional drag tractor and more jet dryers available for each Full Throttle Series event. With the additional equipment, the NHRA can significantly decrease track-preparation and cleanup time. In addition, the NHRA has decided to reinstate and enforce strict oildown penalties for all classes competing at NHRA national events. In 2011, the first violation for competitors in each of the four NHRA Full Throttle Series categories will result in a $1,000 fine. If the violation occurs during qualifying, it will result in a loss of five points and the loss of elapsed time and speed for that run. During eliminations, a violation results in a $1,000 fine plus a loss of 10 points and the loss of elapsed time and speed. If the oil violation occurs on a winning run, the driver will advance but will lose lane choice and run-order selection the next round. Second violations at the same event will result in a $2,000 fine plus a loss of 10 points in qualifying and 20 points in eliminations. All teams will receive one oildown credit at the beginning of the season; however, no further credits will be awarded during the season. For more information, including the oildown penalties for NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competitors, visit


The 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and 60th anniversary season of NHRA kicks off at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California, at the 51st running of this event. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or go online at For media credentials, please contact Director of Public Relations Michael Padian at

TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, March 10–13: The second stop in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and first race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, this showdown in the swamplands of Florida will bring added excitement as the NHRA celebrates its 60th anniversary. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or go online at For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at



I’M COMING HOME: Pro Stock Driver Erica Enders on returning in 2011 to the team where she began her Pro Stock career, Cagnazzi Racing: “If you look at what Victor and his team have accomplished over the past several years it’s really exciting to think about the possibilities. Victor and Brita Cagnazzi have remained great friends of my family ever since I drove for them and I believe we’re going to pick up right where we left off and really have some fun this year.”


rick stewart

1996, CHANGING OF THE GUARD: In January 1996, former Top Fuel driver Rick Stewart was named NHRA’s Chief Starter, taking over for the legendary and original Chief Starter Buster Couch. Stewart had raced in the Top Fuel category for NHRA in the early ’60s.



1: After failing to qualify for the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals in 2009, his first season with new team Al-Anabi Racing and the first time in his 16-year career that he had failed to do so, Top Fuel pilot Larry Dixon then went on to collect 17 No. 1 qualifiers, 109 round wins, the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel world championship and 17 wins in 21 final-round appearances, including the 2010 Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals. Dixon will look to defend that win in 29 days at the season-opening race at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.



…that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch has announced that he will be making his NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series debut at the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, March 11–13 at historic Gainesville Raceway? The 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion will be competing in the Shell Dodge Avenger for Allen Johnson and J&J Racing.

“Pro Stock is the tightest pro category as far as the elapsed time is concerned and it’s not going to be an easy task,” said Busch. “I feel that teaming up with Allen Johnson and the Mopar folks, we’ve given ourselves the best opportunity to make the show.”

For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.