JFR MAKES EARLY EXIT IN READING READING, PA -- It was a tough day for the Ford Mustangs of John Force Racing at the 26th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals. In a bizarre turn of events all three JFR Mustangs failed to advance out of the...
JFR MAKES EARLY EXIT IN READING
READING, PA -- It was a tough day for the Ford Mustangs of John Force Racing at the 26th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals. In a bizarre turn of events all three JFR Mustangs failed to advance out of the first round at Maple Grove Raceway. This was the first time in 2010 that John Force Racing failed to send at least one Funny Car to the second round.
2009 Full Throttle Funny Car Champion Robert Hight dropped his race to former JFR driver Tony Pedregon when his Auto Club Mustang struck the tires at about 300 feet. This was a terrible turn of events for Hight's championship hopes considering he has dropped first round match-ups for four consecutive races. Hight will leave Reading still in 6th place.
"This was a tough loss no doubt about it. We are not giving up. No one at John Force Racing will ever give up. There are two races left in the play-offs and anything can happen. There could be more national records set and there are qualifying bonus points available. No doubt it will be tough but there is no quit in this Auto Club Ford Mustang team," said a dejected Hight.
In the shock of the day 14-time Funny Car champion and points leader (at the time) John Force was not able to race Dale Creasy Jr. when his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang would not shift into reverse. Force sat at mid-track trying desperately to get his Mustang to roll backwards but a broken part in the clutch pedal assembly kept him idling. Eventually he was directed by NHRA officials to drive to the top end of the track. Creasy was awarded a single and beat Force for just the second time in fourteen attempts.
"Stuff happens. I want to apologize to Dale Creasy Jr. up there on the starting line. They were trying to make their run but I wasn't getting any signals. I know I have a problem but I don't know if he has a problem on the starting line," said Force from the top end.
"I don't want to shut off until that last second. Until the NHRA guys tells me to get off the track. I had to drive it off and I didn't want to blow it up. We didn't advance that is going to hurt but I have two races left. I still have one car, Ashley, who can do some damage here against the Schumacher team. We'll see what happens."
In the next pair Force watched as daughter and 2009 championship runner-up Ashley Force Hood left on two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon. She was ahead of him at the 60 foot timer. It was shortly after that mark that her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang instantaneously smoked the tires and grenaded the blower. A huge explosion buckled the body of her Mustang as Pedregon sped past her for the win. Moments later Force Hood stopped the Castrol GTX Mustang and climbed out of the top hatch unscathed.
"There was no warning at all. I remember it leaving great, hooking up and then 'boom.' It was a complete surprise. It felt just like it was on a really good run," said Force Hood, the No. 11 qualifier.
"I am going to put this race behind me and just go home. I won't think about it again. You can only over think things. There is nothing different I would have done. Some days are not our days. Today just went really badly for our team. That doesn't mean that the next race can't go really well for us."
Matt Hagan moved past John Force and officially took the Full Throttle points lead at this event. This is the first time a non-John Force Racing Funny Car has had the points lead since September 24, 2009.
The NHRA Countdown to 1 will resume in at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Halloween weekend, October 28-31.