ASHLEY FORCE GRABS 2ND NO. 1 QUALIFIER OF CAREER AT BRAINERD -JFR MUSTANGS DOMINATE FUNNY CAR QUALIFYING- (BRAINERD, MN) --- A tricky track solidified the top spots in Funny Car for JFR and helped Ashley Force stay atop the Funny Car field....
ASHLEY FORCE GRABS 2ND NO. 1 QUALIFIER OF CAREER AT BRAINERD -JFR MUSTANGS DOMINATE FUNNY CAR QUALIFYING-
(BRAINERD, MN) --- A tricky track solidified the top spots in Funny Car for JFR and helped Ashley Force stay atop the Funny Car field. The 25 year-old California driver used her 4.110 second run from Friday night to win her second consecutive No. 1 qualifier of her young career. Force had an up and down day today but was optimistic about her chances tomorrow.
"We are hoping to go out tomorrow and go some rounds. We have really struggled the last few races. We have a really good car we just haven't had the luck. We are hoping to change that. It is exciting to be number one. At the same time you don't want to get too excited you know that there are plenty of times that you are number one and everyone is gunning for you. They want to take you out," said Force.
Right behind the 2007 rookie of the year is her 14-time Funny Car champion father John Force. His time from Friday night, 4.112 seconds, carried him to the number two position and moved him within fighting distance of the final spot in the US Smokeless Showdown bonus race to be contested at the Mac Tools US Nationals Labor Day weekend. If Force can qualify one or two in Reading (site of the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals and final race before Showdown) and the drivers in front of him in the standings qualify in the bottom half of the field or fail to qualify, Force will land in the No. 8 spot.
Robert Hight piloted his Auto Club Ford Mustang to the No. 3 qualifying position and was also a victim of the tricky track conditions. His confidence level was high knowing he had one of the best tuners in the business working out of his pit.
"The conditions were a little tricky out here today. We are doing a little testing with a little different clutch lever in it. Obviously that worked. (Crew Chief) Jimmy Prock is the master," said the two time Funny Car championship runner-up.
The final John Force Racing driver racing into the show tomorrow will be Rookie of the Year favorite Mike Neff and the Old Spice Ford Mustang. A win tomorrow would be an emotional moment for the driver from Hemet, Calif.
"This was the first race Eric Medlen won in his career and for me to win my first race here with John Medlen as my crew chief would be pretty special. I have some much confidence in John and my team I think we will do a good job tomorrow. I am focusing on staying in or moving up higher in the Top Ten and going rounds would definitely make that happen," said Neff.
Neff made the quickest run of the final qualifying session and was enthusiastic about his chances on Sunday.
"As a driver I'm just trying to do my job, keep that thing going straight down the track and keep it in the groove. Yesterday I had her all over the place one run and it kind of rattled my confidence a little bit. As far as the crew chief goes that is John Medlen's job and I give him a lot of credit right there because this place has been a little tricky," added Neff. "We made a pretty solid run in the first run today. He said he wanted to step it up when we came back. The Boss motor is running good. For Old Spice this is one of our better qualifying rounds that we have had in a while."
ASHLEY FORCE, 25, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Saturday Qualifying: 1st at 4.110 seconds, 299.40 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Ron Capps (3-1)
Quotable: "We have a real good car. We just have to go some rounds tomorrow and take what we have learned from the qualifying sessions. Hopefully we will put it to good use and go some rounds tomorrow. We want to get back into those final rounds. We haven't been there in a while and we are missing them."
ROBERT HIGHT, 38, Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Saturday Qualifying: 3rd at 4.119 seconds, 300.26 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Melanie Troxel (0-0)
Quotable: "It is a little tricky conditions out here today. We are doing a little testing with a little different clutch lever in it. Obviously that worked. Jimmy Prock is the master."
MIKE NEFF, 41, Old Spice Ford Mustang
Saturday Qualifying: 5th at 4.176 seconds, 298.80 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Tim Wilkerson (0-4)
Quotable: "We made a pretty solid run the first run today. He (crew chief John Medlen) said he wanted to step it up when we came back. The Boss motor is running good. For Old Spice this is one of our better qualifying rounds that we have had in a while."