NEFF LOOKING FOR NORTHERN "WIN" LIGHTS IN SEATTLE SEATTLE, WA (July 14, 2009) --- Even though Mike Neff and the Ford Drive One Mustang Funny Car slipped out of the Full Throttle Top Ten as they left Denver headed to Seattle they are not hanging...
NEFF LOOKING FOR NORTHERN "WIN" LIGHTS IN SEATTLE
SEATTLE, WA (July 14, 2009) --- Even though Mike Neff and the Ford Drive One Mustang Funny Car slipped out of the Full Throttle Top Ten as they left Denver headed to Seattle they are not hanging their heads. The NHRA Western Swing is just getting started so there will be all kinds of movement as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the northwest. With five more races before the cut-off for the Countdown to One Neff knows that none of those races will be contested at mile-high altitudes like the most recent MOPAR Mile-High Nationals, the first stop on the NHRA Western Swing.
"This is a great facility but racing here can be tricky. We lost a qualifying day on Friday when my Ford Drive One Mustang got loose at the top end and I brushed the timing cones a couple of times. I barely hit them. There wasn't any damage to my Mustang but those are the rules," said Neff after his first round loss at Bandimere Speedway.
"We had a couple of things go wrong on Saturday and qualified No. 15. We had a good race against Tony (Pedregon) in the first round but we just came up a little short. I am looking forward to getting to Seattle for sure. This Ford Drive One Mustang has a lot of power especially with that BOSS 500 engine and I think we can do some good at Pacific Raceway," added Neff.
Last year Neff started to make his move to solidify his position in the Full Throttle Top Ten when he raced into the second round for the second Western Swing race in a row in Seattle. Also in many eyes he scored some major points in the 2008 Rookie of the Year media balloting when he defeated fellow Funny Car rookie of the year candidate Bob Tasca III in a key first round match-up in Seattle.
After that round the importance of the win was not lost on the eventual Rookie of the Year.
"Tasca is such a good leaver and I knew I had to be ready. I tried to get in there a little bit to not give him any advantage. That was a big race for (our) Ford which is running good," said Neff.
This year Neff is trying to reel in Tasca (+106) who is No. 6 in points, as well as No. 7 Tim Wilkerson (+65), No. 8 teammate John Force (+38), No. 9 Matt Hagan (+7), and No. 10 Cruz Pedregon (+4). Drivers can earn twenty points for each round win so jumping back into the Top Ten would mean Neff just needs to win just one more round on Sunday than Hagan and Pedregon. Reaching the finals and/or winning could catapult the 2005 world champion crew chief turned driver as high as No. 7 depending on his fellow competitor's level of success.
"Our goal is to not just go out and have a good showing. We want to win races and contend for the Full Throttle championship. I know about pressure when I was racing for the championship with Gary Scelzi. These last five races leading up to the Countdown to One cut-off will be exciting. I am glad I have a team led by crew chief John Medlen and this Ford Drive One crew," said Neff.
Neff will be battling together with teammates Ashley Force Hood who is leading the Full Throttle points, team leader and 14-time champion John Force and Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang who is a round behind Neff in 12th place.
"We have a great team atmosphere here at John Force Racing. I know Ashley, John and Robert will do everything they can to help knock out some of these other guys. I will be doing the same for them. I love the competition and I am ready for it," concluded Neff.