High shows progress on tough Friday at Gatornationals

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It was a welcome run for Hight who has struggled in the opening two races of the season.

GAINESVILLE, FL – The Auto Club Ford Mustang of Robert Hight made the most positive impact for John Force Racing at the 44th Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals today.

Robert Hight
Robert Hight

Photo by: NHRA

After a lackluster opening session for all four JFR entries Robert Hight piloted his Jimmy Prock tuned Mustang Funny Car to the provisional No. 6 spot with a run of 4.117 seconds at 308.21 mph.

“For the Auto Club team this is a step forward. I know being No. 6 isn’t what we strive for and we want to be up near the top or the top, but sometimes you gotta walk before you can run and since we’ve been struggling so much not just this year, but last, I’m excited.

That was definitely a step in the right direction,” said Hight, the 2009 Funny Car champion.

“Now, the test is going to make two more good runs tomorrow. You don’t feel good going into race day only having gone down the track one run. And that’s what we’ve done a lot of lately.

You always wonder when it’s going to come that you don’t go down the track at all and you don’t qualify. It almost got us in Phoenix. If we can go two times tomorrow, I’ll be excited.”

“This is a brand new car. It’s cool that we’ve kinda taken a step backwards and put this car like we had it last year when we won this race and won four-in-a-row. I think we just got ahead of ourselves.

Having all three Funny Cars the same and being able to work with each other is going to be a plus. It was a good day,” added Hight a 27-time Funny Car national event winner.

It was a welcome run for Hight who has struggled in the opening two races of the season. After the Arizona Nationals the team stayed over on Monday and tested all day.

Based on the testing results the team went back to the shop and rebuilt Hight’s Auto Club Ford Mustang for this race.

In the first session today Hight’s Auto Club Mustang smoked the tires but Prock and the Auto Club team reined in the Funny Car power and made a solid run in the second qualifying session.

There are four Funny Cars that posted runs in 4.11 seconds range at the end of the day.

Courtney Force, currently No. 2 in the Mello Yello points, did not have a strong showing on Friday behind the wheel of her Traxxas Ford Mustang.

The Winternationals winner smoked the tires in each session today which is the first time this season the Traxxas Mustang has not gone down the track in two consecutive runs.

The 2012 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner as the NHRA rookie of the year posted the 15th quickest time of the day, 4.826 seconds and will go into Saturday trying to get in the show for Sunday.

Team leader John Force also had a couple issues today as the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. His quickest time of the day was 6.577 seconds at 101.51 mph which was only good enough to be the 17th quickest time of Friday.

Crew chief Mike Neff, the 2011 winner as a driver of the Castrol GTX Mustang at the Gatornationals, will have two shots to get the seven time Gatornationals winner into the top sixteen.

Rookie of the year candidate Brittany Force continued her education as the first John Force Racing driver to race in Top Fuel. The Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster wound up 19th at the end of Friday and will face tough competition to make the top sixteen.

Force’s best time of the day was 5.306 seconds at 128.75 mph which was good enough to be the 11th quickest run of the first session. In the second session Brittany smoked the tires and did not improve.

John Force Racing

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Series NHRA
Article type Qualifying reports
Tags ford, funny car, gainesville, gatornationals, hight, mustang, nhra

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