FORCE LEADS JFR AT READING
READING, PA --- John Force continued his mastery of Maple Grove Raceway today posting track record times in the first qualifying session on Saturday. His opening run of 4.011 seconds at 319.22 mph had both ends of the track record until Johnny Gray snagged the top spot by one thousandth of a second. Gray now has the track ET record but Force holds onto the mile per hour record. Force will go into race day as the No. 2 qualifier but in a better position thanks to Gray’s effort.
Had Force remained No.1 he potentially could have run teammate Mike Neff in the second round, assuming both JFR Funny Cars won in the first round. Since he was bumped back to No. 2 now the earliest he could reach a teammate could be the semi-finals.
“I have had a really good race car so far this weekend. I just have to go some rounds tomorrow. We are not out of this. I am going to fight until Pomona for this championship. Castrol, Ford, Auto Club, Mac Tools and BrandSource pay us to perform and Mike Neff and Robert (Hight) have done a lot of damage and this weekend I did some damage,” said Force. “I want to congratulate Johnny Gray, that was a great run and we were going for it too. We can get three of my Mustangs to the semis and two cars to the finals if we go some rounds. That is what I plan on doing.”
In the final run of the night with improving conditions Force’s Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang was tuned up to make a record run. Unfortunately like so many attempts at record runs this one ended in tire smoke at about 200 feet.
“The conditions were there and we were going for it. It almost went. John has been doing a great job these past two days driving this Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang. Ron (Douglas) and I are glad we have given him a good race car. We will be ready for tomorrow,” said Dean Antonelli, Force’s co-crew chief.
Season long points leader Mike Neff continued to fine tune the performance of his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. While Matt Hagan made up some ground in qualifying and now has a two point lead over the driver/tuner, Neff is confident going into Sunday.
“I am going to pick this thing up a little bit for tomorrow. We will be up for the fight. We have had killer conditions this weekend,” said Neff. “We are going to try and go some rounds tomorrow. That is the key. Tomorrow is a new day and we are going to set this Mustang up to do what we need it do. We will step it up and get it to run low ohs consistently tomorrow.”
Neff will have long-time friend and veteran Funny Car driver Jim Head in the first round.
Robert Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang could make a big impact on the point standings tomorrow. He will match-up with Ron Capps in the first round and he could potentially face Matt Hagan in the second round. Knocking out two team Schumacher Funny Cars in the first round could turn around the 2009 Funny Car championships season.
“Today was tough. We are working some things out obviously. This is a team effort and Mike Neff has been talking with Jimmy. Our goal is to go rounds,” said Hight. “It has been a while since we won first round in the Countdown but I plan on changing that tomorrow. I am going to be at the top of my game and I know I’ll have a good race car. This is crunch time and if we want to make a move up the points we have to win first round tomorrow. I’ve got Ron Capps and he has had a good race car so we will have to bring our A game.”