Sunday, April 13, 2008 | 6:45 p.m.
Ashley Force did not leave Las Vegas with her first career Funny Car victory but she did manage to make a little history Sunday at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
By advancing to her second consecutive final, Force vaulted from fifth to first in points and became the first female to lead the Funny Car standings since it was introduced as a professional category in 1969.
”I didn’t know about it because nobody tells me anything in the camp,” said Force, who lost to Tim Wilkerson in Sunday’s Funny Car final. “I was surprised, but maybe it’s better not to get that in your head. It definitely made not winning a little easier.”
Force, already the only female driver to compete in a Funny Car final, was denied her first Funny Car victory when she was beat off the line by Wilkerson in the final. The winner turned in a 4.962-second pass at 292.58 mph to Force’s 4.993 at 313.95.
Force holds a five-point over Wilkerson, 326-321, after five of 24 races.
”I never even knew it was possible to leave with the points, I was just trying to stick in the top 10,” Force said. “We’re enjoying it now while we have it but we know that there are three others in our own camp alone who are gunning for that number-one spot.”
Other professional winners Sunday were Cory McClenathan in Top Fuel and Jason Line in Pro Stock.