Baytown: John Force Racing Saturday notes

JFR MUSTANGS LOOK TO RACE TO WIN IN HOUSTON BAYTOWN, TX --- A cool and windy day at Houston Raceway Park left some John Force Racing drivers trying to hold onto top qualifying positions while others hoped to improve. At the end of the day all ...


BAYTOWN, TX --- A cool and windy day at Houston Raceway Park left some John Force Racing drivers trying to hold onto top qualifying positions while others hoped to improve. At the end of the day all four JFR Ford Mustangs will have a shot at the 22nd O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals title and the possibility exists for three JFR Mustangs to reach the semi-finals based on qualifying.

Leading the way was Ashley Force Hood who made two consistent runs today but slipped to No. 3 in the final qualifying order. Her first run of 4.09 seconds was one of the quickest of the morning session and she stepped it up in the last session to a strong 4.08 second run.

"I really don't think I could be happier heading into Sunday. I know we are not number one but I would rather have three solid runs and not end up number one than one amazing run and trouble on the others. It seems like a lot of the other guys have had turbulent qualifying efforts this weekend. For us we have had smooth sailing. My first run and my last run were I really think they were the two smoothest runs I can remember ever having," said Force Hood.

Force Hood knows that two consistent runs today could be the key to racing success tomorrow. She will match up with Ron Capps in the first round.

"I'll take any run we have made in qualifying for tomorrow's first round. Whether we have Capps or a teammate or whoever, the track is only going to take what the track will take. We are just going to try and push it as far as the track will take it and not be stupid. With the car we have you just don't want to be stupid. I know my crew chiefs won't be and I am going to try and not be stupid on the driver's side of things. We just want to keep doing what we are doing and I think that will pay off for us," said the 2008 O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals finalist.

Team leader John Force held on strong with a solid 4.12 second run to start the day and he ended the day with an improved 4.11 second run that dropped him into the 6th qualifying position. For his efforts he will match-up with Bob Tasca III who most recently beat Force en route to his first career Funny Car win at the Gatornationals.

Driver Mike Neff and crew chief John Medlen improved from Friday with a 4.13 second run in the early session. They relied on that run to capture the No. 8 spot as they blew the tires off Neff's Ford Drive One Mustang in the last session. Medlen who is recovering from a heart procedure was excited about the prospects for tomorrow and being back at the track.

"It feels great to be back at the track. Mike (Neff) gained a lot of input into what we are doing those two races (Phoenix and Gainesville) when he handled everything on his own. He was really successful and we are trying to build on that. We got more information on some of the new things we were doing those two races and that was a building block to what we are doing from now on. Now we have to learn what it too much and what is not enough. Being back together has been great," said Medlen.

2005 O'Reilly's NHRA Spring Nationals winner, Robert Hight, was glad to be qualified after missing the show last year with an uncharacteristic DNQ. He knows he has the biggest mountain to climb considering there has only been one winner at the Spring Nationals in the past twenty-one years that has come from the bottom of the field. Hight currently sits in the No. 12 spot with a first round match-up against veteran Jack Beckman.

After his final qualifying run Hight knew there was more out there and he knew his crew chief Jimmy Prock was the man to find the magic for tomorrow.

"We came here to Texas where I got my first win with a brand new Mustang this year. We are working on it and we are learning. At least we are qualified. We definitely know we can put on a good show for AAA of Texas and Baytown Ford. Don't count out Jimmy Prock. He'll get this things down there tomorrow I guarantee it," said Hight.


JOHN FORCE, 59, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 6th at 4.111 seconds, 303.78 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Bob Tasca III

ASHLEY FORCE HOOD, 26, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 3rd at 4.085 seconds, 308.78 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Ron Capps (4-3)

ROBERT HIGHT, 39, AAA Texas Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 12th at 4.174 seconds, 301.47 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Jack Beckman (3-3)

MIKE NEFF, 41, Drive One Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 8th at 4.138 seconds, 304.12 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Tony Pedregon (2-2)

BRITTANY FORCE, 22, BrandSource Dragster
Final Qualifying: No. 12 at 5.631 at 245.36 mph
Race Results: Lost to Kimmelyn Buff Pesz

COURTNEY FORCE, 20, BrandSource Dragster
Final Qualifying: No. 1 at 5.302 at 273.66 mph
Race Results: Lost to Bill Evans
Notable: First career number one qualifier in TAD

-credit: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Jack Beckman , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Bob Tasca III , John Medlen , Mike Neff