TEAM JFR QUALIFYING REPORT
2009 NHRA Saturday Qualifying Summary
5th of 24 races in the NHRA Full Throttle Series
10th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nev.
Mar. 2-5, 2009
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Team John Force Racing Qualifying Highlights: Robert Hight raced to No. 2 qualifying position with Auto Club Ford Mustang followed by Mike Neff and Ashley Force Hood in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, respectively…Team leader John Force landed in top half of the field in No. 7 with a two day consistent qualifying effort of 4.15... Three John Force Mustangs could reach the semi-finals during tomorrow’s eliminations.
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JFR MUSTANGS GRAB THREE OF FOUR TOP SPOTS AT LAS VEGAS
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Building on a foundation put in place last week in her victory at Houston, Texas, Ashley Force Hood shrugged off a first day misstep at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and sped to the No. 4 qualifying position for Sunday’s 10th annual SummitRacing.com Nationals.
The 26-year-old daughter of drag racing icon John Force drove her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang through the 1,000 foot timers in 4.139 seconds at 303.23 miles per hour Saturday as Team Castrol Mustangs qualified 2, 3, 4 and 7.
A resurgent Robert Hight led the Castrol assault by pushing his Auto Club of Southern California Ford through the 1,000 foot timers in 4.115 seconds at the fastest speed of the day (305.15 mph).
“(Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) made the right call by going back after Houston to the old clutch system that we used to run for a number of years. We weren’t having a lot of luck with our systems before that. Right off the bat here we dropped a cylinder if we would have still had the old clutch system that was one less run we would have had to figure out what was going on,” said Hight.
“Today he knew how to tune the old clutch system and he did it. The first run was real conservative and then tonight he just stepped it up a little bit. He didn’t want to give it up and smoke the tires. It ended up being close to low. In some respects after we saw that Del Worsham was going to be 16th that is a tough draw for the No. 1 qualifier. Being No. 2 is OK because Jeff Arend isn’t an easy first round draw either. We are in good shape. We haven’t made two good runs in a row this year. We are moving in the right direction. We ran top speed, 305 mph that is fast. We aren’t hurting anything. We have a good baseline for tomorrow. I feel good about it.”
He was followed by Mike Neff in the Ford Drive One Mustang at 4.125 seconds. Neff was pleased with the effort today and is looking forward to getting back to the track tomorrow.
“(The last qualifying run) was a good run for us. We were actually trying to run a little bit quicker than that. All things considered to end up No. 3 we’ll take that any day. The track seemed like it was in better shape today than yesterday. The conditions were a lot better today the wind died down. We could keep the track clean. When we smoked the tires yesterday it just gave us the idea that something wasn’t quite right with the track. It seemed to be pretty good today. The weather was nice. We are excited to be No. 3. We are excited to see Robert Hight get up there to the No. 2 spot. His Mustang definitely looks like it is back on the right track,” said Neff.
After failing to qualifying the last two years, the elder Force put his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford solidly into the field and stamped himself as one to watch with runs of 4.149, 4.156 and 4.158 seconds.
“We have a job to do. Ashley winning last week was exciting. Mine is the one car we have to get right. It is starting to show potential. Ford will be happy along with Castrol and Auto Club. I am just proud of the whole team. A lot of the technology is starting to work. That is going to pay off for our sponsors like BrandSource, Nordic Boats, Sanyo, and all these guys like the DiPinto Brothers,” said an exuberant Force. “Let’s not forget the greatest tool company in the world Mac Tools. They put my cars back together after every run. A lot of times they don’t get the credit they deserve. They do today. We have a shot at winning now. We are stacked up a little on one side of the ladder but we are going to try and get three Mustangs to the semi-finals.”
In the first round of Top Alcohol Dragster eliminations both Brittany and Courtney Force dropped their first round match-ups. Both drivers will be back at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend for the Lucas Oil Divisional event.
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JOHN FORCE, 59, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 7th at 4.149 seconds, 300.00 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Tim Wilkerson (24-8)
Quotable: “We have a job to do. Ashley winning last week was exciting. Mine is the one car we have to get right. It is starting to show potential. Ford will be happy along with Castrol and Auto Club. I am just proud of the whole team. A lot of the technology is starting to work.” - JOHN FORCE
ASHLEY FORCE HOOD, 26, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 4th at 4.139 seconds, 303.23 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Jack Beckman (1-1)
ROBERT HIGHT, 39, AAA Texas Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 2nd at 4.115 seconds, 305.16 mph
First Round Qualifying (W-L): Jeff Arend (7-0)
Quotable: “We are moving in the right direction. We ran top speed, 305 mph that is fast. We aren’t hurting anything. We have a good baseline for tomorrow. I feel good about it.” -ROBERT HIGHT
MIKE NEFF, 41, Drive One Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 3rd at 4.125 seconds, 304.46 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Gary Densham (1-0)
Quotable: “That was a good run for us. We were actually trying to run a little bit quicker than that. All things considered to end up No. 3 we’ll take that any day. The track seemed like it was in better shape today than yesterday. The conditions were a lot better today the wind died down.” - MIKE NEFF
BRITTANY FORCE, 22, BrandSource Top Alcohol Dragster
Final Qualifying: 11th at 5.596, 252.24 mph
First Round Results: Lost to Jeff Isbell
COURTNEY FORCE, 20, BrandSource Top Alcohol Dragster
Final Qualifying: 16th at 5.870, 250.74 mph
First Round Results: Lost to Jim Whiteley
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Sunday, April 5
Opening Ceremonies 10 a.m.
Eliminations 11 a.m.
FOLLOW JOHN FORCE RACING AT www.twitter.com/jfr_racing.com