EARLY EXIT FOR JFR AT ENGLISHTOWN ENGLISHTOWN, NJ --- For the first time in five races John Force Racing will not advance a Ford Mustang Funny Car to the final round. At the 41st annual United Association NHRA SuperNationals for the first time...
EARLY EXIT FOR JFR AT ENGLISHTOWN
ENGLISHTOWN, NJ --- For the first time in five races John Force Racing will not advance a Ford Mustang Funny Car to the final round. At the 41st annual United Association NHRA SuperNationals for the first time since Houston JFR did not advance a Mustang out of the second round. The most notable positive from the weekend is 2009 Funny Car champion Robert Hight will leave Englishtown as the Funny Car points leader trailed by team owner John Force in the number two spot.
No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight's Auto Club Ford Mustang smoked the tires versus veteran Del Worsham in the second round. Hight had his final round appearance streak stopped at four races. The team is working through a new clutch pack system that by Hight's own admission has a few kinks to work out.
"It is a letdown after four finals in a row. You get greedy but you know that kind of streak will end eventually. We got qualified No. 1 and we ran good last night in the heat. We thought we would be in good shape for today. Like I said earlier we set all our clutch packs aside that we have been running and we have enough to run throughout the Countdown. We bit the bullet and decided to run some new packs so that if it is worse we still have the other stuff saved for the Countdown. Maybe we will stumble onto something better. We just don't have enough runs on this new stuff yet. It was plenty aggressive," said Hight.
"I had the best 330 yesterday and it didn't even make it to 330 against Del. It was too aggressive. We did the same thing first round. It revved up higher first round so Jimmy took some out of it. It was still really stout. We addressed the clutch but the motor was still way too stout. We'll get to the bottom of it. I am just glad we don't have another off weekend to think about it. We'll be running in Bristol and get right back at it. We'll try and qualify No. 1 for four in a row."
The team will get back at it next weekend at Thunder Valley Dragway in Bristol.
"I like getting back to the track either way. If you are doing bad or doing good. You are either carrying the momentum or you are going out there to try and fix it. Getting all these No. 1s it shows what kind of race car I get to drive. I have a great car and I am very fortunate to drive it. I wanted to do well here for Castrol and Auto Club."
No. 2 qualifier John Force was also upended in the second round by fellow Ford racer Bob Tasca III. Tasca, a finalist at the SuperNationals, made the quickest and fastest run of the session to defeat the 14-time champion.
2009 Full Throttle Championship runner-up Ashley Force Hood was the lone JFR Mustang to not advance out of the first round. She was also a victim of a resurgent Tasca. Force Hood struggled in qualifying entering race day in the No. 10 position.
"This was a tricky weekend. The weather was always changing and the track was a little tricky. It was a tough weekend with the loss of Neil Parker, the Top Alcohol Funny Car driver. I think everyone just wanted to get through this weekend and do well. The biggest positive for me was we got to meet a lot of the Castrol employees," said Force Hood.
"That was really nice and it helped break up the tension of the race. It was fun to go over to their tent and they had a band and there were lots of kids over there. It was just a challenging weekend for everybody. You never want to go out early. We'll move on to the next race in Bristol. We aren't going to get stuck in this weekend and let it affect how we race in the future. This was just one weekend early in the season. This weekend was just not the weekend for John Force Racing. Fortunately we have plenty of time to make it up before the Countdown."
The final rounds were delayed by rain and with an upcoming 7 p.m. noise curfew the outcome of the race was in doubt on Sunday night.