PROV. No. 1 FORCE TAMES MOUNTAIN ON FRIDAY DENVER, CO -- John Force and his Castrol GTX High Mileage team were not spectacular in the first session of the 31st annual MOPAR Mile High Nationals but they got the job done. In the second session...
PROV. No. 1 FORCE TAMES MOUNTAIN ON FRIDAY
DENVER, CO -- John Force and his Castrol GTX High Mileage team were not spectacular in the first session of the 31st annual MOPAR Mile High Nationals but they got the job done. In the second session Force brought the crowd to their feet and drove away with the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot at Bandimere Speedway.
In the final pair of the first session Force covered the 1000 ft racing surface in 4.401 seconds. At a track closer to sea level this time would most likely not even have carried over until Saturday as a top twelve time at the mile high elevation of Bandimere Speedway Force cashed in three qualifying bonus points for a quickest of the session pass.
"We really held it back on that first run. We wanted to see what would happen. I was at half track and thinking this is almost embarrassing. That is what the crew chiefs are making decisions for. It is very critical to get down there," said Force of his first pass.
That run put him at the back of the pack for the second session and Force's crew chiefs were able to flex their collective muscles. Their time of 4.191 seconds was equal to Del Worsham's quick run but Force grabbed the provisional top spot based on his superior mile per hour of 296.76 vs. Worsham's 294.74. Having the top spot was a luxury that Force understands pays dividends throughout the weekend.
"Coming into this race and being low qualifier along with being No. 1 in the points puts me and Robert (Hight) at the rear of the pack. It allows us to watch the rest. Then on that run that put us low we were at the rear of the pack. We saw Worsham step up and run that great number. That was a 4.19 on the hill. We have done it before but we were just off right now. Then it went out and did it and got it by speed," added Force.
Force also knows the impact of having his Ford Mustang at the top of the field at the MOPAR NHRA Nationals. Three of the top five qualifiers are Ford Mustangs and Force knows that sponsors notice that kind of manufacturer success.
"I've been with Castrol for 25 years and with Ford up on MOPAR's hill. There are a bunch of Fords up here Robert and Tasca along with (Tim) Wilkerson and Ashley (Force Hood). It is just great to be back here in Denver," said Force.
While Force was collecting six qualifying bonus points for his quickest runs of the sessions his teammate and closest competitor Robert Hight was also making strides to dominate on the mountainside. Hight's Auto Club Ford Mustang was the third quickest Funny car of each session. For Hight and the Auto Club team it is all about building momentum going into race day.
"There is no doubt it is tricky to race here. In the first session the track was a little bit of a problem. We stepped up in the second session and honestly we could have run better but we needed to put up a number. I definitely think someone could go to the top spot tomorrow. I know Jimmy (Prock) and my guys will have this Auto Club Mustang ready to go," said the 2009 Funny Car champion.
Ashley Force Hood and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang team will head into Saturday as the provisional No. 7 qualifier.