Pomona: John Force Racing Thursday report

HIGHT STARTS SEASON WHERE HE LEFT OFF... NO. 1 POMONA --- Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang picked up in 2010 right where they ended the 2009 season. They raced to the provisional no. 1 qualifying position at the 50th annual Kragen ...

HIGHT STARTS SEASON WHERE HE LEFT OFF... NO. 1

POMONA --- Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang picked up in 2010 right where they ended the 2009 season. They raced to the provisional no. 1 qualifying position at the 50th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The run moved Hight around good friend Del Worsham who was sitting in the no. 1 spot before Hight ran. It also garnered him three qualifying bonus points giving him the points lead after the first official day of the 2010 Full Throttle Drag Racing season.

"I do kind of feel bad for my buddy Worsham. Today is his 40th birthday and I bumped him down. That is what we have to do here. It makes you feel good that people see you start strong after you just won the championship. We proved today that last year was not a fluke on the performance side. Going to no. 1 right off the bat was cool. That won't stick. There will be a lot quicker runs later in the weekend. It gives us a start and a chance that we can really get after our Auto Club Mustang and get close to national record stuff," said Hight.

Hight was the no. 1 qualifier at the 2009 edition of the Winternationals but immediately after that race his season went into a tailspin that he barely recovered from by the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. He does not want to start 2010 in the same manner.

"My no. 1 qualifier here last year was the highlight of my season until Indy. We were terrible. We started out good even though we only got one qualifying run. It is definitely nice to get off on the right foot. Looking at the rest of the weekend it is going to be great weather," said Hight.

Along with the Mustang's performance running at a very high level Hight's crew chief Jimmy Prock is also tuning with confidence. Hight feels that Prock's attitude improved right alongside of the car's performance Labor Day weekend in 2009.

"Since Indy last year Jimmy has been totally different. He has a confidence and you can just see it. He is not second guessing himself and he is not going back and forth to the box making changes. He leaves the pit with a good tune up and he sticks with it. He has a lot of confidence now. As the driver that gives me confidence. It is a lot of fun. I figured it would run a 4.05. That is what we did in testing and we didn't change it a whole lot. That track in Phoenix was real tricky," added Hight.

Ashley Force Hood was in the lane beside Hight and her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang also made a stellar run to start the 22010 Full Throttle season. Fans were treated to an awesome side-by-side performance by the top two Funny Car finishers. Force Hood was right with Hight clicking the finish line timers in 4.093 seconds at over 310 mph.

"We are still getting all the little kinks worked out. The run was really great. I think that was the smoothest run I can remember having. It didn't just physically feel smooth visually it was crystal clear. There never any rough spots or anything like that. It was pretty exciting to start with a run like that," said Force Hood. "Now Guido and Ron (co-crew chiefs Dean Antonelli and Rob Douglas) and work from there instead of not getting down the track. It was cool and kind of overcast in Phoenix when we were testing and here it is kind of similar conditions. I think that might have helped us set up for this track."

Team leader John Force made a strong opening run in his 25th anniversary Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang but his time was disallowed due to a rear wheel start. The NHRA released a statement which stated in part, "In review of the data, it was determined by Compulink Timing System representatives that Force's Castrol GTX Ford Mustang left the starting line prior to the timing system activating. Once the timing system started Force's car had advanced forward and the rear-wheel on his car was recognized by the beams at the starting line and initiated the elapsed time clock in his lane, thus resulting in the 3.800 second elapsed time."

Overall Force's crew chief combo of Austin Coil and Mike Neff were pleased with the run and feel that they can easily improve on his performance. To the casual observer Force's elapsed time looks equal to or quicker than Matt Hagan's 4.109 second pass in the lane beside him.

-source: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , John Force , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan , Austin Coil , Mike Neff