Las Vegas II: John Force Racing Friday notes

JOHN FORCE BACK ON TOP AT VEGAS NATIONALS (LAS VEGAS) --- John Force is back. With optimal conditions John Force's Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang was the quickest Funny Car at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He powered down...

JOHN FORCE BACK ON TOP AT VEGAS NATIONALS

(LAS VEGAS) --- John Force is back. With optimal conditions John Force's Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang was the quickest Funny Car at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He powered down the track with a 4.062 second pass at 307.37 mph leading the charge for his John Force Racing team. Force was not convinced his second session time would hold up with teammate Robert Hight still in the wings.

"I was surprised Robert's car did what it did. I thought he would run low because he did the round before. They had a mechanical problem. I can read Jimmy Prock's face. Something was wrong. I picked a good time in front of all these Vegas fans to have a good run but a bad time for this championship chase," said the 14-time champion.

Even though his championship hopes for 2008 have been dashed by Tim Wilkerson the ever optimistic Force is still looking for a miracle as well as accepting the fact that he may have already reached his miracle quota.

"I am still looking for that Hail Mary. I need a miracle but I believe in 'em. I already had one in Dallas. It is just good to be back and be able to come up here and have my old hot rod running good. It has been a while," said Force. "All of our focus has gone into safety. I let my other cars do the running. Robert has been teaching Mike Neff and Ashley. I have a well rounded team. We are going to be OK. By next year I'll be back to play the game."

If Force's time stands and he remains the No. 1 qualifier it will be his first No. 1 since the Mac Tools US Nationals in 2006 or the last fifty races. Tonight Force was relishing the feeling of success for the first time in a long time but it was not a totally new experience for the winningest driver in NHRA history.

"I was twelve, thirteen years coming up the ladder. You think I have fires now? In the early days we had junk parts and I was on fire every week. I even tried a little tuning in the early days. That was the excitement of having a shot to chase Don Prudhomme. Then I got on top and I rode the wave for a while and now I've been smacked down. To get on top pretty soon it becomes old hat. We were guilty of taking it for granted," said the only winner to have won over 1,000 rounds. "I can remember saying another winner's circle. We thought it got old week after week of winning. Boy when they take it away from you and I knew it in the hospital when I got hurt. I thought I was going to win last year. At the end of the day you don't know how much you'll miss it."

Two other John Force Racing Mustangs, Ashley Force and Mike Neff, stepped up their performances in the second session at The Strip. Force blasted down the track in front of her father in spite of some early trepidation involving a mysterious vibration.

"I am really proud of my team. My Mustang felt a little different and it sounded different. I was a little nervous and we were all on the radio which isn't really our style," said Ashley Force. "Fortunately it ran good so I got on the radio at the top end and said don't ever listen to the driver obviously what I was just feeling was the power. We'll take that in this Ford Mustang any time we can get it."

Rookie of the Year favorite Mike Neff started off the season for the Ford Mustangs with a solid 4.096 second run that was good enough to hold onto the No. 8 spot.

The only blemish on the day for JFR was Hight's disappointing second round run. Hights open session run, 4.094 seconds, which was the quickest of the first round held up to keep Hight in the No. 7 spot heading into tomorrow's final day of qualifying.

***

JOHN FORCE, 59, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 1st at 4.062 seconds, 307.37

Quotes: "I picked a good time in front of all these Vegas fans to have a good run but a bad time for this championship chase. I am still looking for that Hail Mary. I need a miracle but I believe in 'em. I already had one in Dallas. It is just good to be back and be able to come up here and have my old hot rod running good. It has been a while."

ASHLEY FORCE, 25, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 4th at 4.089 seconds, 305.01 mph

Quotes: "I am really proud of my team. My Mustang felt a little different and it sounded different. I was a little nervous and we were all on the radio which isn't really our style. Fortunately it ran good."

ROBERT HIGHT, 39, Auto Club/Los Angeles Dodgers Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 7th at 4.094 seconds, 301.60 mph.

MIKE NEFF, 42, Old Spice Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 8th at 4.096 seconds, 308.07 mph

-credit: jfr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Don Prudhomme , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Mike Neff