Charlotte: Mike Neff preview

MIKE NEFF MIKE NEFF, FORD DRIVE ONE TEAM FOCUSED FOR COUNTDOWN CHARLOTTE, NC (September 14, 2009) --- The momentum is building for Mike Neff and the Ford Drive One Mustang team. The second year driver has been on the sidelines for a number the...

MIKE NEFF

MIKE NEFF, FORD DRIVE ONE TEAM FOCUSED FOR COUNTDOWN

CHARLOTTE, NC (September 14, 2009) --- The momentum is building for Mike Neff and the Ford Drive One Mustang team. The second year driver has been on the sidelines for a number the huge storylines at John Force Racing in the past month.

He has seen teammate Robert Hight claw his way into the Countdown to 1. He watched as teammate Ashley Force Hood raced her way into the record books with her big win at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. He was a brain-trust contributor for Bernie Fedderly when an absent Austin Coil necessitated an all hands on deck tuning effort. While Coil called in from the hospital Castrol GTX crew chiefs Dean "Guido" Antonelli and Ron Douglas as well as former crew chief Neff all pitched in.

With the start of the Countdown to 1 Neff is ready to make a serious run at the championship. Last year he was the only rookie to make the Countdown to 1 and he is drawing on that experience in 2009.

"Last year as a rookie I was still figuring out my Mustang when the Countdown started. We clinched our spot in the Countdown in Reading but we raced at a couple of tracks I had never made a pass down. This year I am excited to take that experience and build on it," said Neff.

Neff is arguably one of the biggest threats in the Countdown. He has five final round appearances, a handful of No. 1 qualifiers, and a strong crew led by John Medlen. Sooner or later something has to give for the Fishers, Indiana resident. In the past two races he has raced to a final in Reading and his Ford Drive One Mustang was in a great position to go all the way at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals until he was up-ended by Tony Pedregon in the second round.

"John Medlen and the boys have this Ford Drive One Mustang ready to go. We've been running great the last two races. We are building momentum at the perfect time. I have always been a big believer in building momentum. I think we are peaking at the right time. These next six races will be a lot of fun and I can't wait to get to Charlotte," said the 2005 world champion crew chief for Gary Scelzi.

"The level of focus on our team is unbelievable. Medlen knows the Mustang will be ready to go because my crew guys are working their tails off. I am as focused as I have ever been. We want to get that first win and follow it up with another win as quickly as possible. With the new NHRA qualifying points I think we are in as good a position as anybody to move up the points," said Neff.

Neff's newness as a driver makes him a competitor to keep an eye on. While he does not have a positive record versus many of his Countdown competitors no one has completely dominated the former off-road racer. In many cases he is simply one or two round wins away from evening his win-loss record.

"There are so many great drivers in the Countdown whoever wins the 2009 Full Throttle championship should hold their head high. I think we have as good a chance as anybody. We don't have anything to lose so we are going to go out there and give it our best shot."

-credit: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Austin Coil , John Medlen , Mike Neff