Atlanta: John Force Racing Friday report

FORCE HOOD AIMS FOR 1ST No. 1 OF SEASON; PROV. LEADER IN ATL COMMERCE, GA --- Ashley Force Hood was surprised when her second qualifying run at the 30th annual Summit Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals held up and had her leading the Funny Car...

FORCE HOOD AIMS FOR 1ST No. 1 OF SEASON; PROV. LEADER IN ATL

COMMERCE, GA --- Ashley Force Hood was surprised when her second qualifying run at the 30th annual Summit Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals held up and had her leading the Funny Car category at the end of the day. Her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang covered the historic track at Atlanta Dragway in 4.104 seconds but she ran in the middle of the pack and as she explained to the media in the press center she fully expected that time to be eclipsed.

"I thought for sure at least one or two cars would bump past us. My Castrol GTX Mustang went right down there and didn't have any problems. I thought for sure someone would beat me out of that spot," said two-time Southern Nationals finalist. "We are happy that we didn't let this night session go by. We utilized it for our benefit. Tomorrow we'll get to run at the back of the pack and you'll have a little advantage. We still have to keep it (No.1 spot) thorough the race tomorrow. It will be pretty challenging to run that quick tomorrow during the day."

If Force Hood holds onto the top spot it would be the first of 2010 for her and the 10th of her career. The 4.10 run was right where her crew chiefs thought they would run.

"We were shooting for a 4.11. It all worked out," said co-crew chief Ron Douglas. Force Hood also echoed this sentiment in the press room crediting her crew chief combo of Douglas and Dean "Guido" Antonelli with getting her Mustang turned around.

"My Mustang has been running well (considering) how few rounds we have actually gone this year. Our car has really been doing really well. That is the frustrating part, it is not that our car is stumbling our car has just been getting out run. You want to push it but you don't want to push it too much. My tuners are really good at walking that fine line," said the 2008 Southern Nationals winner. "This car does like to go from A to B and that is the best feeling you can ask for with these race cars. We'll do our best and hopefully we can really turn around our season. We ran well in Charlotte and then we trailed off. That is not the way we wanted to start our season. We are not going to look behind us we are just going to look forward."

Force Hood took the top spot from Robert Hight her teammate and brother-in-law. Hight made the quickest run of the first session with a 4.182 second run. The reigning Funny Car champion had a shot at grabbing the top spot back but his Auto Club Mustang could only muster an improved 4.124 second pass. As crew chief Jimmy Prock left the starting line he let the crowd know that there was more power in this Mustang.

"We still had one more move to make there and I went on the conservative side. We got about what I thought we would get. (On being conservative) Maybe I am getting older and wiser," said Prock.

Hight did record the top speed for the Funny Car class an impressive 305.98 mph.

Team leader John Force made two uncharacteristically slow runs on Friday but will have two shots on Saturday to make a run quick enough to race on Sunday.

-source: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Ashley Force , Robert Hight