CAROLINA HEAT TOO MUCH FOR JFR AT ZMAX DRAGWAY CONCORD, NC -- With track temperatures soaring to an unbearable 131 degrees it was a day of surprising upsets and disappointment for John Force Racing. While the team had their high points in ...
CAROLINA HEAT TOO MUCH FOR JFR AT ZMAX DRAGWAY
CONCORD, NC -- With track temperatures soaring to an unbearable 131 degrees it was a day of surprising upsets and disappointment for John Force Racing. While the team had their high points in qualifying race day did not unfold according to script. Last season at the O'Reilly NHRA Nationals Robert Hight made a major move from the 10th spot in points with a win but today no one made a major move in the JFR camp.
In the opening round Robert Hight lost a mega match-up versus Don Schumacher driver Matt Hagan when the throttle cable broke on his Auto Club Ford Mustang. As soon Hight passed the Christmas Tree his Mustang lost all momentum as Hagan made a tire-smoking run of 4.486 seconds to advance to the second round.
"We had a throttle cable break in the first round. That was the worst thing that could happen to us. I had no chance once that happened. We will go to Dallas and try to get a win. We won at the Texas Motorplex last year and we have had some good luck there. Today was disappointing but my Auto Club team is ready to fight for this championship. With (crew chief) Jimmy Prock making the tuning calls with Eric Lane and my guys we will be OK," said Hight.
14-time Funny Car champion John Force smoked the tires of his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang in his first round race with Paul Lee. This was the third event in a row that Lee has advanced to the second round over a JFR Mustang. A month ago he upset Ashley Force Hood in the first round of Brainerd event and at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Lee upset Hight. The loss was especially painful for Force when you consider Jack Beckman advanced to the final and closed the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 in Full Throttle points to four. 2-time Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon became the 10th different Funny Car driver to win in the 2010 season ensuring that Force would leave Charlotte with the points lead.
"I don't count the points. If your car won't go down the race track every run you are not going to win a championship. Right now there is one car in and it is the Tasca Ford. He has been doing his job. We just want to wish him luck and hope that he can get there. We want to keep Ford (winning) you know they have invested in NHRA Drag Racing as the official car as well as with teams. I'd like to see them get a win with Tasca if it can't be one of my Mustangs for Castrol, Auto Club, Mac Tools, and BrandSource," said Force before the semi-final round which Tasca dropped to Beckman.
"My daughter Ashley (Force Hood) held her own. Robert and I, we struggled in the first round. We were in the heat but so was everybody else. We just didn't get the job done."
Force Hood took out veteran Del Worsham in the first round for the second race in a row. In the second round she dropped a tight race to fellow Mustang driver Bob Tasca III. Force Hood felt that the heat today was a factor for every team as they battled the elements.
"(The heat) was hard for everybody. You are sweaty and you are trying to keep your energy up. The guys are all just pouring sweat even when they are standing doing nothing. Imagine when you are tearing down a motor. It is just tough on everyone. My crew guys did a really good job. They kept their energy up. We went into second round. It was not ideal conditions for racing," said Force Hood.
"Hopefully these next couple of races the weather will cool off a little. The cooler weather is a little better for our Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. The cooler weather is also nicer for the crew guys and the fans. The weather this weekend seemed like it was the worst of the season for some reason. Maybe it was the humidity. I have never seen so many oil downs in Top Fuel. It seemed like every time I got in and was belted in there was another oil down. One time there were two in a row. That just goes to show you how tricky this track is. No car is happy to go down a track this hot."
While Force Hood did not race deep into the race day she did pick up a round worth (20 pts) of points on the Funny Car leaders and closed the gap on her first Full Throttle Funny Car championship. Her teammate Robert Hight has suggested that if a team averages a semi-final finish over the six races in the Countdown to 1 they should be in the championship hunt. Force Hood is on pace for just such an average.
"You always want to go a lot of rounds on race day. We struggled today but everyone else struggled too. There are a couple of cars that are running very good but they aren't in the Countdown. That is a shame for them Cruz Pedregon and Jeff Arend. They both seem to have gotten down this track but it hasn't hurt us too bad," said Force Hood.
"We are still at a point in the Countdown that going out in the second round is not the end of the world. Since we won in Indy we are right there. We haven't changed position from this morning when you consider who is around us. We can go to Dallas without too much stress and know that with some testing runs tomorrow we will be more confident."