FORCE HOOD RACES TO TOP ON RAIN SHORTENED FRIDAY BAYTOWN, TX --- After only one session of the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park Ashley Force Hood sits atop the Funny Car field. If she retains possession of the top spot this...
FORCE HOOD RACES TO TOP ON RAIN SHORTENED FRIDAY
BAYTOWN, TX --- After only one session of the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park Ashley Force Hood sits atop the Funny Car field. If she retains possession of the top spot this will be the fourth No. 1 in her young career. Her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang covered the Houston Raceway Park track in an impressive 4.139 seconds nearly six tenths quicker than points leader Ron Capps who is in the number two spot.
"It was a good run for us. We were pleasantly surprised especially when it looked like some of the other cars were struggling. You never know on your first run how it is going to run. To have that good of a run we definitely have a lot more confidence. We were hoping to make another pass tonight. We changed some stuff since we saw the temperature going down and they knew tonight would probably be a really great session. It didn't turn out that way. We'll hopefully get two runs tomorrow," said Force Hood.
Moving into the second day of qualifying on a rain shortened event also is a plus for Force Hood's team considering they can be a little more aggressive knowing that they are solidly in the show.
"Any time you can make a good pass like that you can build some momentum. You know what the track can handle and you are given the chance on your next run to push a little more. That is the advantage that we have," said Force Hood. "Tomorrow the crew chiefs can go out do what they do to see what the track will take. Come Sunday we can take a step back maybe and have a good day then. We want to go four rounds on Sunday. That run today was one of the best runs, most smooth runs, I have ever made in my Castrol GTX Mustang."
Three of the four John Force Racing Mustangs are carrying their qualifying times over into Saturday. In addition to Force Hood, team leader John Force racing again in his traditional green and red Castrol GTX High Mileage colors raced to the No. 5 spot with a solid 4.329 second pass. Force's pass was even more impressive when you consider the next closest elapsed time in the left lane was Bob Bode's 5.156 second run. Force executed a picture perfect pedaling maneuver to gather his Ford Mustang underneath him during his run.
Robert Hight, the 2005 rookie of the year, rounds out the top twelve with a tire smoking 8.142 second pass in the somewhat troublesome left lane. Hight lost traction at about 500 feet and was able to keep is AAA Texas Ford Mustang straight as he crossed the finish line.
Finally, Mike Neff is looking forward to getting back to the track tomorrow in hopes of improving his less than stellar 9.014 second run on Friday. Neff is excited to be re-joined with crew chief john Medlen after a two race absence by Medlen to recuperate from a heart condition that kept him at home in Indianapolis the last two races.
JOHN FORCE, 59, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 5th at 4.329 seconds, 296.57 mph
ASHLEY FORCE HOOD, 26, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 1st at 4.139 seconds, 304.46 mph
Quotable: "It was a good run for us. We were pleasantly surprised especially when it looked like some of the other cars were struggling. You never know on your first run how it is going to run. To have that good of a run we definitely have a lot more confidence. We were hoping to make another pass tonight."
ROBERT HIGHT, 39, AAA Texas Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 12th at 8.142 seconds, 82.34 mph
MIKE NEFF, 41, Drive One Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 15th quickest pass at 9.014 seconds, 72.28 mph
BRITTANY FORCE, 22, BrandSource Dragster
Friday Qualifying: No. 12 at 5.648 at 241.76 mph
Quotable: "Climbing back into the BrandSource dragster for my first run always gives me butterflies. I'm a little nervous but after I go down the track once I always feel better. Once I get that first run behind me I am good."
COURTNEY FORCE, 20, BrandSource Dragster
Friday Qualifying: No. 16 at 5.772 at 247.02 mph
Quotable: "Driving is always an adrenaline rush. You get in that BrandSource dragster and it is just a whole other feeling. You are in your own world. It is the best feeling ever to get down that race track and make a good pass. When you make a good run it is just a great feeling."