A nitro-sniffing bonus

It’s Monday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and I’m watching John Force and daughter Ashley Force Hood chat near the dragstrip starting line.

Their teammate, Mike Neff, just made a test pass down the track and shut off early with a 4.41-second, 220-mph run when the car veered to the left near the finish line.

Force hopped on his moped and Ashley jumped on the back of another one driven by her husband, Danny Hood, who is a crew member on her team.

Another family day at a racetrack for the Force family.

Ashley was testing her Funny Car and taking laps in the Top Alcohol Dragsters of her sisters, Brittany and Courtney, to help them get prepared for this weekend’s NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing series event at Las Vegas.

Brittany and Courtney had to return to their respective colleges Monday so Big Sis tested their dragsters.

I love coming out to the speedway the day after one of the track’s two NHRA national pro touring events. It’s a great time to chat with some friends when we’re not busy.

The Force Funny Cars are testing some new parts. So too are Tony Schumacher, who won the Top Fuel title Sunday at the track in the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals, and Don Prudhomme’s Top Fuel rookie driver Spencer Massey.

It’s a laidback day at the track.

Pro teams are off this weekend but a few hundred NHRA Sportsman racers will be at Las Vegas, including John Force and his two youngest daughters competing in an event that originally was scheduled to be held in Fontana, Calif., but was moved because of noise issues.

Thoughts from the weekend

Monday was a beautiful day as was Sunday.

Too bad Friday sucked; rain midday and high wind during the early evening caused the day to be cut short and affected attendance for the rest of the NHRA nationals.

If you bought a Friday ticket I hope you kept it. That ticket can be used toward the purchase of a ticket to any NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event for one year. That includes this fall’s Oct. 29-Nov. 1 NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, or Friday at next year’s NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at LVMS.

Attendance for the weekend was down significantly. That’s partly due to the economy but mostly because of the weather.

The spring and fall NHRA events at the speedway usually average about 20,000, but the crowds for Saturday and Sunday must have been at least 20 percent to 30 percent off.

Good for Gordon

Glad Jeff Gordon won the Sprint Cup race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. He’s had the best car this season so it’s good to see him get his first win in 47 races.

Another good run by Kurt Busch, finishing eighth for his seventh top 10 in seven races. He is third in the season standings.

Younger brother Kyle, however, finished one lap down in 18th and fell one spot to seventh in the standings. Some loose or missing lug nuts and a pit-road speeding penalty hampered the team.

IndyCars officially begin season

The IndyCar season opened Sunday with 27-year-old Ryan Briscoe winning for Penske Racing on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

But the real action began on the 31st lap when Danica Patrick and rookie Raphel Matos collided to end the day for both.

Patrick seemed to be lecturing the young Brazilian in the error of his ways regarding trying to pass on a tight turn.

Maybe Patrick should retire and become a driving coach.

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