JFR FORDS DOMINATE FRIDAY QUALIFYING IN ENGLISHTOWN (ENGLISHTOWN, NJ) --- Great conditions during the night-time qualifying session at the 39th annual Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals provided the perfect opportunity for the quartet of John Force...
JFR FORDS DOMINATE FRIDAY QUALIFYING IN ENGLISHTOWN
(ENGLISHTOWN, NJ) --- Great conditions during the night-time qualifying session at the 39th annual Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals provided the perfect opportunity for the quartet of John Force Racing Ford Mustangs to put on a super show for the fans.
Led by Castrol GTX driver Ashley Force who ran one of the quickest elapsed times of the day, 4.803 seconds at 314.75 mph, the JFR Mustangs held down three of the top four qualifying spots. While Force's ET tied her in the top spot along side veteran Jim Head, Head's faster mile per hour of 320.50 gave him the provisional No. 1 qualifying position going into Saturday.
Right behind the 2007 Rookie of the Year was her father and 14-time Funny Car Champion John Force. Force held the No.1 qualifying spot after the first session and improved on his time in the second session much to the delight of the SuperNational fans and nearly 800 Castrol and BP Lubricant employees in attendance.
Force has been commemorating the 40th anniversary of Castrol with a retro paint scheme on his Ford Mustang throughout the season but today his crew sported retro red pants in a nod to the fashion statement he wore when he won his first POWERade Funny Car Championship.
"Seeing all my team in the red pants was pretty cool. It brought back a lot of memories of my first championship. We all looked like a bunch of bowlers. Castrol has been a great marketing partner and they knew what would stand out back then and be exciting," said the driver who recently extended his streak of seasons with at least one win to 22 season with a win in Topeka. "We are celebrating Castrol's 40th anniversary here in New Jersey. I love driving this Castrol Ford Mustang and it is a great feeling to have all our Mustangs qualified."
The Auto Club Ford Mustang piloted by Robert Hight nailed down the fourth quickest ET of the day even though he continues to battle an engine combination problem that thwarts top end performance. In the second run there was no doubt he was on his way to the top of the qualifying sheet but as he closed in on the finish line a loss of power relegated him to the No. 4 position with a solid, but not spectacular, 4.810 second run.
"We are just trying to make our motor happy. If we can get this thing running at the top end we will be in great shape. We didn't have any power at the top end again. It was making great power at the start of the run and I'm just glad it held on as long as it did. We will go out tomorrow and try and figure this motor out. I know (crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) can get this motor happy," said Hight.
Rookie Mike Neff and the Old Spice Ford Mustang team were on the outside looking in after the first qualifying session but blasted into the Top 12 with a 4.870 second run as the sun set that has him qualified ninth. If the field positions remain the same heading into Sunday's eliminations he will meet fellow Mustang driver and rookie of the year contender Bob Tasca III in the first round.
Neff is pleased to be solidly in the show heading into Saturday so he and crew chief John Medlen can continue to put the pressure on the rest of the very tough Funny Car field.
"Now that we are in the show tomorrow we can concentrate on getting ready for Sunday. I look at it as it is always better to be on the offensive side of things as opposed to the defensive. You are either making moves to try and go faster and improve which is what I consider being on offense. If you are trying to back it off and make sure it just goes down the track is more a defensive position," said Neff.
JOHN FORCE, 59, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 3rd at 4.810 seconds, 321.12 mph
Quotable: "Castrol has been a great marketing partner and they knew what would stand out back then and be exciting. We are celebrating Castrol's 40th anniversary here in New Jersey. I love driving this Castrol Ford Mustang and it is a great feeling to have all our Mustangs qualified."
ASHLEY FORCE, 25, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 2nd at 4.803 seconds, 314.75 mph
Quotable: "That second lap was a good lap for us. We are excited because you never want to waste a good Friday qualifying session. I knew it was on a good run. I am just excited for my team and Castrol."
ROBERT HIGHT, 38, Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 4th at 4.810 seconds, 303.71 mph
Quotable: "We are just trying to make our motor happy. If we can get this thing running we will be in great shape."
MIKE NEFF, 41, Old Spice Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 9th at 4.870 seconds, 306.12 mph
Quotable: "I have all the confidence in the world in (crew chief) John Medlen. He knows what he is doing. He does his thing and I have to concentrate on doing my job. I'm not worried about the tune-up. I just have to take care of doing my job as a driver."