MIKE NEFF AND FORD DRIVE ONE TEAM LEAD JFR IN SEATTLE -Neff No.2 joined in top half by both Forces- KENT, WA --- Mike Neff and the Ford Drive One team saved their best pass for last at Pacific Raceways today. They made the quickest Funny ...
MIKE NEFF AND FORD DRIVE ONE TEAM LEAD JFR IN SEATTLE
-Neff No.2 joined in top half by both Forces-
KENT, WA --- Mike Neff and the Ford Drive One team saved their best pass for last at Pacific Raceways today. They made the quickest Funny Car pass of the final qualifying session under the hot Northwest sun, blazing down the track in 4.216 seconds at 290.26 mph. The pass launched Neff into the No. 2 qualifying position and into the Full Throttle Top Ten point standings. He is now one point ahead of 2008 Funny Car Champion Cruz Pedregon (663 to 662) and a mere six point behind rookie Matt Hagan from 9th place.
"The hot conditions are the trickiest. I would always rather make a good run in the heat. That is what you are most likely to be racing in. We'll have something to go off of now. It was just a good run for us," said the 2008 Rookie of the Year.
"We have been trying to run good every run we just kept putting cylinders out. We knew that if it would just run on all eight it would run pretty good. That is exactly what happened. We made enough changes to get it to run on all eight cylinders and it put up a good run. We are excited about that. We really needed something good to carry over into tomorrow."
The last session was also beneficial to John Force and Robert Hight. Heading into the last qualifying session the two John Force Racing teammates were lined up to square off in the first round for the third time in four races. Hight was in the No. 10 position and Force was stationed in the No. 7 slot. Luckily Force's Castrol GTX High Mileage stepped up and moved up into the No. 5 spot. He covered the 1000 ft. race course in 4.229 seconds at 290.13 mph. Force will now race veteran Del Worsham in the opening session tomorrow. A Force victory would be good for fellow Mustang driver and long time Force supporter Bob Tasca III who is right behind Worsham in the Full Throttle point standings.
Hight will now face Tim Wilkerson in the first round. While a Ford versus Ford match-up is not ideal it is much better than a JFR versus JFR race. This is the third time in four years that Hight will face Wilkerson in the first round of the NHRA Northwest Nationals. Hight has won the previous two meetings (2006 and 2008). Hight smoked the tires in the final qualifying session but he is still ready to make a move into the Top Ten by going rounds in Seattle.
"We just smoked the tires on that last run. Our plan for tomorrow is to go out there and try and win as many rounds as we can. Tim Wilkerson has a good Mustang and I know (crew chief) Jimmy Prock and my guys can give me a good Mustang too. We'll just see what happens," said Hight.
Ashley Force Hood and her newly designed Ronald McDonald House Charities Castrol GTX Ford Mustang made a solid run of 4.262 seconds in the opening session but on their last attempt they did not step up in the final session running 4.268 seconds. She will race veteran and former John Force Racing teammate Gary Densham in the first round. Force Hood has a 4-1 record against Densham.
14-time funny car champion and team owner John Force also had a successful day in Top Alcohol Dragster ranks as daughters Brittany and Courtney both won their first round match-ups today. This was the first time the youngest Force racers have advanced to the second round at the same NHRA national event. They were both excited about going multiple rounds again.
"The last time I was in my BrandSource A Fuel dragster was Norwalk two weeks ago. It feels great to get back out on the track and to pick up a first round win. We'll get a good night's sleep and be ready to go tomorrow for the second round," said Brittany Force driver of the BrandSource A Fuel dragster.
Courtney Force added her positive feelings on the day as she shoot beside sister Brittany signing autographs for the sizeable crowd that assembled by their pits at the end of Saturday.
"It is great to be going rounds in the Sanyo SuperCharged HD A Fueler. This is the first time Brittany and I have both own first round at the same race. That is exciting. Hopefully tomorrow we can meet in the semi-finals. We didn't drop any cylinders in that first round race and we learned a few things. We are making progress and we'll just keep on making it go quicker down the race track," summed up Courtney Force.