Pomona: John Force Racing Saturday notes

HIGHT, NEFF HEAD INTO WINTERNATIONALS ELIMINATIONS With temperatures rising at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona the pressure mounted heading into qualifying today for Robert Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang team led by Crew Chief Jimmy Prock.

HIGHT, NEFF HEAD INTO WINTERNATIONALS ELIMINATIONS

With temperatures rising at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona the pressure mounted heading into qualifying today for Robert Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang team led by Crew Chief Jimmy Prock. Proving once again that he has a team to be reckoned with Hight laid down his best run of 2008 with a 4.837 second, 319.14 mph pass in the first qualifying session.

In the final session a dropped cylinder was the only thing holding the 2005 Rookie of the Year from possibly grabbing the No.1 qualifying position.

"If it hadn't dropped a cylinder we would have run quicker than 4.78. We aren't going up there trying to run in the 80s. We are trying to go up there and run harder. It is close. It is very close. Based on going down the track both runs today we'll be in pretty good shape tomorrow," said Hight.

The former trapshooting champion will be zeroing in on one of the toughest competitors in the first round when he pulls up beside Ron Capps. Hight is looking forward to this match-up knowing that it will be an exciting race for the fans.

"He doesn't want to run me any more than I want to run him. It will be exciting. I'm looking forward to being back here in the heat of battle and racing one of the guys who you know is going to contend right off the bat."

While his performance and qualifying position, No. 9, might deter many drivers from dreaming of a date with the winner's circle Hight has taken his Auto Club Ford Mustang to wins in Pomona from the 12th and 14th qualifying spots at the 2006 Winternationals and the 2007 Auto Club Finals, respectively.

2008 Rookie of the Year contender Mike Neff continued to gain experience in his Old Spice Ford Mustang even though his performance today was not as consistent as the previous two days. Neff and crew chief John Medlen made some adjustments and with each run they gathered valuable information as they head into eliminations.

"We didn't make it down the track today but we made a few changes to the fork and it made more power. We were looking for more power and it went further down the track but we didn't go far enough. We didn't make a big enough move. It was the best that it had run to 330 feet so I feel confident we are one little move away from running a good number tomorrow," said the former world champion crew chief.

While Neff is still learning the ropes of handling his 8,000 hp Ford Mustang his confidence level in his abilities as well as his team's abilities have their expectations for tomorrow at a veteran's level.

"I am a rookie at this and I am starting over but the expectations are for us to win the race tomorrow. I know John (Medlen) can do it. The team can do it. If I do my job we can put four big solid runs tomorrow I think we have as good a chance as anyone at winning the race."

Courtney Force dropped her first round match-up with Joey Severance in her debut event in the Top Alcohol Dragster class. The former Esperanza High School cheerleader and Super Comp driver is gaining confidence with each quarter mile pass.

"I was trying to picture that first round as just another round. Surprisingly, I was just as relaxed as testing or qualifying. I think I was surprised that I made to the first round. I just pictured it as a qualifying run. I am getting more comfortable and working with Jerry and the team is making everything run smoother. We are making better runs."

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THE DRIVERS

ROBERT HIGHT, 38, Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 9th, 4.837 seconds, 319.14 mph.

Quotable: "Based on going down the track both runs today we'll be in pretty good shape tomorrow. It is very close. If it hadn't dropped a cylinder we would have run quicker than 4.78. We aren't going up there trying to run in the 80s we are trying to go up there and run harder. I think hopefully we are a run away from doing that. They keep giving us chances and we get Capps first round."

MIKE NEFF, 40, Old Spice Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 10th, 4.840 seconds, 317.64 mph.

Quotable: "I am a rookie at this and I am starting over but the expectations are for us to win the race tomorrow. I know John (Medlen) can do it. The team can do it. If I do my job and put four good runs together tomorrow I think we have as good a chance as anyone at winning the race."

COURTNEY FORCE., 19, John Force Racing A Fuel Dragster
Results: Lost to Joey Severance

Notable: Qualified for her first national event behind the wheel of the Jerry Darien tuned A Fuel Dragster.

Quotable: "I was trying to picture that first round as just another round. Surprisingly I was just as relaxed. I think I was surprised that I made to the first round. I just pictured it as a qualifying run. I felt more comfortable in the seat."

-credit: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Robert Hight , John Medlen , Mike Neff , Courtney Force