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Courtney Force

Courtney Force

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1 For almost a year, Goodyear has been under a great weight, all the result of one of its tire coming apart during the 2008 Brickyard 400.

It was a public-relations disaster for the company, a black eye for the sport and a blow to efforts by Indianapolis Motor Speedway to sell tickets.

Under fire, Goodyear threw caution to the wind, spending untold millions on fixing the tire and holding seven tire tests at Indy.

"It's unbelievable how much time, money and effort has been spent by them," driver Jeff Gordon said of Goodyear.

"I don't think it was 100 percent their fault.

I think there were other contributions, but they took the fall and they contributed the most to fix it.

I'm just confident and glad that they did fix it." There's quite a bit riding on Sunday's race.

The Brickyard 400 has become the second-most-important race on the Sprint Cup schedule, and it's imperative that fans have confidence in the racing.

"The fans were disappointed and they should have been.

We all were disappointed," said Gordon on the weekly teleconference call.

"It might not turn around in one race.

It might take a couple of races to repair that, but I believe it can happen.

"I think the fans that come out this year will see a whole different type of race.

I was very pleased at the test.

We're not going to have issues with the tires wearing down cords every 10 laps." 2 These days, the Force girls are earning more Advertisementattention than their famous father, 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force.

Ashley Force Hood trails only Ron Capps in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car points race, and 21-year-old Courtney Force scored her first victory last Sunday in the alcohol dragster finals in Kent, Wash.

"It was a rush," said the proud dad.

"It is a moment of emotion where you want to scream and cry at the same time.

These are little kids that I watched them grow up and her mother raise.

I wanted my children all to feel what I felt.

Even if they don't stay in the sport, to know one time the feeling of being the greatest show on earth, NHRA Drag Racing ...

Courtney got a taste of that." Force Hood, her dad and teammate Mike Neff are all in the top 10 in points.

Robert Hight, Force's son-in-law, is 12th, 43 points behind 10th-place Matt Hagan with just four event left before the Countdown cutoff.

"My teams moved up in the points," Force said.

"Ashley is just a round or two out of the points lead.

Robert is struggling right now.

We are going to put a lot of focus on his car right now this week with (Auto Club crew chief) Jimmy Prock on how we can get her to run at Sonoma.

It is just not where it needs to be.

"My Mustang is finally coming around.

I am excited and I am starting to come around mentally.

At the end of the day, to see three daughters racing is great.

Brittany had that fire to win in the semifinals against her sister Courtney.

She wanted to win, too.

"I am very proud for Courtney, but I have to be honest: I am proud for her mom, Laurie.

These are her children.

She raised them, God bless her.

I know what it means to her to see them deliver, and Courtney delivered." 3 Among the new sponsors this year in NASCAR is, the official Web search engine for the sanctioning body.

Its logos adorn Bobby Labonte's No.

96 Ford, and its commercials during race telecasts are often thought-provoking.

"We've seen very strong results," said Ask president Scott Garell.

"We selected NASCAR because of its famously loyal fans and because we thought we could create the best search experience for the fans on the Web." A Brand Image study indicated that among NASCAR fans, usage is up 12 percent, awareness up 43 percent and positive impressions up 14 percent.

For the week that concluded Sunday, three of the 10 most frequently asked questions on were: 1.

How do NASCAR drivers use the bathroom? 3.

How many times has Jeremy Mayfield been married? 5.

Who is Tony Stewart dating? The answers: 1.

Drivers take measures to prevent needing to go during a race.

Drivers have been known to relieve themselves in the car, but since cars get hotter than 120 degrees, dehydration is a bigger concern.


Jeremy Mayfield has been married twice.

He married his current wife, Shana (Sessions) Mayfield, on January 4, 2003.

He was previously married to Christina Keith.


Tony Stewart is currently reported to be dating Renee White.

4 Auto Club Speedway president Gillian Zucker is serious about taking care of her race fans, especially the season-ticket holders.

In advance of Monday's reception with driver/owner Michael Waltrip, Zucker personally baked five trays of zucchini bread that was distributed to those in attendance, to high acclaim.

It's all part of her "Zucchini Tuesday" promotion for the Oct.

11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 in Fontana.

Prior to the question-and-answer session, Zucker and Waltrip donned overalls and were working on the speedway's zucchini patch under the hot sun.

Any purchase of a $35 seat this month on a Tuesday will also result in a dozen donuts.

In August, the added prize is a locally grown zucchini.

Another ticket promotion is the "Can't Drive 55 Package." For $55, fans get a reserved seat to the race, a prerace pit pass, and an opportunity to win a pair of tickets to Sammy Hagar's birthday party in Can San Lucas in Baja California two days after the race.

The grand prize is air travel, three nights accommodations and dinner at Cabo Wabo Cantina, Hagar's nightclub and restaurant.

5 Jim Conklin, a two-time Late Model champion at Orange Show Speedway, has not missed a race in the class for nearly three years, and only hard work will keep that streak alive Saturday night.

In his last appearance at OSS in San Bernardino, Conklin's Chevrolet-powered Pontiac Grand Prix was involved in an accident that bent the frame and destroyed the rear differential, drive shaft, shock absorbers, springs and right rear brake assembly.

"I'm not sure if it was one of the hardest crashes I've been in," said Conklin of Big Bear City, "but I'm positive it was the most expensive ($3,000)." Conklin and the remainder of the Late Model class will be in action along with Factory Fours and Stock Cars USA.


Perris Auto Speedway will host a six-division show, utilizing both half-mile and inner quarter-mile ovals.

Heading the program will be the California Lightning Sprint Cars, along with PASSCAR Super Stocks, Street Stocks, Modifieds, Factory Stocks and the Sport Compacts.


Four races and a Demolition Derby are on the card Saturday night at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

Youngsters 15 years of age and under get in free to see a Late Model 40-lap race and a 40-lap Super Truck race.

Also scheduled is a 35-lap Legends Cars race, a 20-lap Outlaw Figure 8 race and a much-anticipated Demolition Derby.

Larry Cerquettini of Redlands took the lead on lap 25 and went on to win the Super Stock feature last Saturday, extending his winning streak to seven consecutive races this season.
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