TEAM JFR QUALIFYING REPORT
2010 NHRA Saturday Qualifying Summary
5th of 23 races in the NHRA Full Throttle Series
23rd annual O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals
April 9-11, 2010
Houston Raceway Park
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FORCE HOLDS ON TO TOP SPOT IN HOUSTON, JFR STAYS 1-2-3
BAYTOWN, TX --- John Force took a shot at the national record as the sun set on Houston Raceway Park today and he came up short in his bid to grab 20 bonus points. He did leave the track on Saturday as the No. 1 qualifier, the 133rd of his career, and he will have another day to go after the record. Force launched and at the 300 ft. mark his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang shook its Goodyear tires loose and crossed the finish line at a pedestrian 5.324 seconds.
“I am thinking about getting two shots tomorrow at that record. We got that BOSS 500 motor and we would like to really prove what it can do. We have two shots tomorrow; in the first round it will be cool and we could take a shot and then if we get to the final we might have another shot. I had two shots today and couldn’t make it. The first run it wasn’t there. It got too warm it was 100 or 99 degrees on the track. This one had it and I thought I had it. Ashley wasn’t trying to go for it and she put up a big number. We weren’t trying to run 4.02 we were trying to run 4.05. I thought I made it but we got to 300 feet and it blew them off. I have to focus on Tony (Pedregon). He knows how to race. I have to run good. We’ll just see how far we can push it. If the conditions are right we will go for the record in the first round,” said Force.
Force is just five No.1 qualifiers from tying Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson as the most prolific top qualifier in the history of the NHRA. That record was not on Force’s radar on Saturday night.
While Force was holding onto his top spot his daughter Ashley Force Hood was improving her position moving around brother-in-law Robert Hight to head into Sunday as the No. 2 qualifier. The 2009 championship runner-up made the quickest runs of each session today picking up six valuable qualifying bonus points today alone. Over the course of the weekend the 2007 Rookie of the Year grabbed eight bonus points total. She will race Jeff Diehl in the first round and it will be the first meeting between the two drivers.
“We do have a really good race car. I think that is the quickest I have run in my career at 1000 feet. We are really pumped about that. It is a really good way to end the day. It is also a really good way to go into race day. We will hope we can do it all again tomorrow four times. For Castrol, Ford, Auto Club, Mac Tools, BrandSource and everyone that supports us I think they will be happy with that. They will be really happy if I am talking to you tomorrow night,” said Force Hood from the top end of the race track.
2009 Full Throttle Funny Car champion Robert Hight made a shake-down run during the first run on Saturday but in the last session paired with 14-time champion John Force Hight and his Jimmy Prock tuned AAA Texas Ford Mustang took a shot at the top spot. They also shook their tires lose but remained in the No. 3 position by virtue of his explosive 4.051 second run last night.
In the pressroom at the end of the day Force was asked if he thought a Funny Car could make a three second 1000 ft. run. The winningest driver in NHRA history thought it was possible.
“Those conditions right there (during Saturday’s second session) were the best of the weekend. It (a three second run) is out there. When we ran the 4.02 it was soft you know what I mean. Everything went right but it wasn’t hopped up. There is a three out there. If you remember I missed that (being the first driver to break the four second barrier) a long time ago against (Chuck) Etchells at Topeka. I ain’t going to make no statement and look stupid. I have a real good race car and a real good team. The kids really prepare it good. If I can’t do it all Robert has to do is step up. You can see Jimmy was definitely trying. It is Auto Club land for us. We are trying too. They keep flying those banners over and it is kind of neat. They take care of you. We are going to try tomorrow,” added Force.
After seeing his daughter make a great 4.042 second run Force knew that his Mustang was capable. The confidence of his crew chief combo of Mike Neff, Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly had the three time finalist in 2010 ready to a record run.
“He (Neff) had already made up his mind. He knew right where he was at. I thought it was going to make it. I really think we might address our wheelie bar. The front end got up really high and when it sat down it hiked the front end up again. I think I might have had the wheels a little crooked. When it sat down that is when it blew them off. You have to keep that front end on the ground. We’ll learn from it. I have never had a car that really carries the front end. This car she is an animal. She is a good old race car. It is a lot of fun to drive it.”
It was a banner weekend for Ford Racing. The weekend couldn’t have started any better for Ford Racing, which has seen its drivers capture five number one qualifying spots in five different series.
“It is great to be a Ford fan right now with a day like today. To be able to pick up the newspaper or go online and see that in any major racing series Ford has the No. 1 spot is a great feeling,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsports.
Ford’s run started in Birmingham, AL, where Joe Foster and Ricky Taylor tamed the Barber Motorsports Park road course. Foster took his No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports/Bayshore Recycling Ford Mustang Boss 302R to the top spot for today’s Barber 200 in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge while Taylor captured his first pole by putting the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara up front for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 in the Daytona Prototype division.
The Blue Oval pole streak continued at Phoenix International Raceway, where Carl Edwards won the NASCAR Nationwide Series pole in his No. 60 Copart Ford Fusion.
But the crowning achievement came later in the evening when Ford driver AJ Allmendinger captured the first pole of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in the famed No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford Fusion, sponsored by Insignia/Best Buy.
Force capped off the weekend for Ford Racing picking up the fifth pole position at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.
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JOHN FORCE, 60, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 1st with a 4.021 at 316.08 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +6 (Quickest of Q1 and Q2)
First Round Opponent (W-L): Tony Pedregon (53-23)
Quotable: “This car she is an animal. She is a good old race car. It is a lot of fun to drive it.” - JOHN FORCE
ASHLEY FORCE HOOD, 27, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 2nd with a 4.042 at 314.90 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +8 (3rd quickest of Q1 and Q2, quickest of Q3 and Q4)
First Round Opponent (W-L): Jeff Diehl (0-0)
Quotable: “We do have a really good race car. I think that is the quickest I have run in my career at 1000 feet. We are really pumped about that. It is a really good way to end the day. It is also a really good way to go into race day.” – ASHLEY FORCE HOOD
ROBERT HIGHT, 40, AAA Texas Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 3rd with a 4.051 at 312.64 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q2)
First Round Opponent (W-L): Paul Lee (0-0)
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Sunday, April 11
Final Eliminations 11:00 a.m.
FOLLOW JOHN FORCE RACING AT www.twitter.com/jfr_racing.com
11th annual SummitRacing.com Nationals, April 16-18, Las Vegas, Nev.
14th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals, April 30-May 2, Madison, Ill.