John Force Racing press release
NEFF IN MONSTER MATCH-UP AT AAA TEXAS FALL NATS
ENNIS, TX --- Mike Neff and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang have a feeling of déjà vu all over again. For the third race in a row Neff will square off with Matt Hagan and this is a classic 1 vs. 2 battle in the Full Throttle point standings. Neff will have lane choice in the match up as the No. 5 qualifier and he is looking forward to exacting some revenge on his Charlotte final round loss against Hagan. “That is what it is all about. We raced last week in the final round and now to be matched up in the first round it is going to feel like a final to race him. He is right on my butt in points and it is going to be a do or die moment in this Countdown,” said Neff.
Neff has never met Hagan in the first round. In their two previous meeting Neff was victorious in the semis at the Mac Tools US Nationals and then he dropped a close race in the final at Charlotte.
This match-up almost didn’t come to pass when you consider Bob Tasca III raced into the top half of the field pushing Neff off Hagan in the first round. Unfortunately for Tasca his Ford Mustang Funny Car was light on the scales and his final run of 4.15 seconds was disqualified. Tasca reverted back to his No. 9 qualifying time and will face 15-time Funny Car champion John Force in the first round. Tasca 2-1 in first round races and the pair of Ford racers is 6-6.
“Listen I do this for a couple of reasons. I love my family and I love my fans. Being here at Billy’s Texas Motorplex at the AAA Texas Fall Nationals for all my sponsors Castrol, Ford, Auto Club, Mac Tools, and BrandSource I want to perform,” said Force a six-time AAA Texas Fall Nationals winner. “I have Tasca in the first round and he is a tough racer. I will get up for him just like he is going to get up for me. We are going to put on a show for the fans tomorrow and I want everybody to come back and be ready for some exciting racing. We have five Mustangs in the show and I hope we get another win for Ford and all my other sponsors.”
Robert Hight will be flying the blue and white of AAA Texas on his Ford Mustang and he has one color at the top of his mind, pewter. That is the color of the 60th anniversary Wally trophies the NHRA gives to the national event winners. Hight has collected four Wally’s this season and in 2009 he won the AAA Texas Fall Nationals.
“This is what my goal is for tomorrow with this AAA Texas Mustang. At the end of the day I want to be in the winner’s circle with the three Texas legends Raymond Beadle, Kenny Bernstein and Billy Meyer raising another pewter Wally,” said Hight the 2009 Funny Car champion. “This is my sponsor’s race and I want to perform for them. We have a great qualifying position and I think lane choice will be important tomorrow. Jimmy and my guys are going to give me a great race car tomorrow and I am going to be at the top of my game. This is the Countdown and we need to go rounds. We are not out of it by any stretch but going rounds tomorrow will be key for our championship success. I am excited to get back on the track.”
Hight will have to start his race day against one of the hottest non-Countdown Funny Cars, the In-N-Out Toyota Solara driven by Melanie Troxel. The pair has matched up three times with Troxel holding a 2-1 edge over Hight.
The heat of the Texas sun kept elapsed times consistently lower than Friday night’s session. The stand out for John Force Racing was Mike Neff who’s final run of 4.211 seconds was the second quickest of the final qualifying session and good enough for two qualifying bonus points.