JFR WRAPS UP SUCCESSFUL TEST SESSION IN FLORIDA
YORBA LINDA, CA (February 10, 2011) --- After five days of testing at Palm Beach International Raceway, the Ford Mustangs of John Force Racing are geared up for the 2011 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Mike Neff, crew chief to John Force when he won the 2010 Full Throttle Championship, both tuned and drove the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to the weekend's best time of 4.034 seconds on Saturday morning.
Later the same day, Force, the 15-time Funny Car champion, tripped the lights with a near identical 4.037 second pass during the inaugural PRO Winter Warm-Up event. Robert Hight, the 2009 NHRA Funny Car champion, was not too far off the pace at 4.040 seconds at a JFR-best 314.39 mph speed on Sunday.
Over the five-day test session, JFR Ford Mustang Funny Cars recorded thirteen passes of less than 4.10 seconds with another seven passes quicker than 4.15 seconds.
Neff's Mustang particularly was in championship form, at one point clicking off successive times of 4.062, 4.070, 4.075, 4.348 (smoked tires) and 4.064 seconds after the initial 4.034.
"I think we got the most out of the test session for our team. The guys worked great together and we made consistently quick passes," said Neff. "This track was awesome. It felt good to get back in the driver's seat and everything came back to me. Running low ET of the weekend was just icing on the cake for us. Our goal was to come out here and try and run consistently in the ohs and we did that."
The Dean Antonelli-and-Ron Douglas-tuned Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang team was breaking in a few new crew members as well as getting used to a new driver in Force, who is in the car this year for daughter, Ashley, who is expecting a child in August. It did not take long for the team to gel as it ran 4.092, 4.037, 4.073 and 4.102 seconds on its last four attempts.
"First, I want to thank the team at Palm Beach International Raceway. They put together a great show with the PRO on Friday and Saturday night," said Force, a 132-time NHRA national event winner. "The stands were packed on Saturday and it was great to see so many fans. Their track crew was great and very helpful.
"I also need to thank Lanny Miglizzi and Eric Frampton from my team for staying on top of the track prep. We had great conditions every day and that made for quality runs for all my Ford Mustang Funny Cars."
For Robert Hight and the Auto Club team, the test session could not have gone better. Jimmy Prock and Eric Lane had their Mustang dialed-in on the first day, making a blistering 4.063 second pass, the first 4.0 run of the weekend. Hight consistently dipped into the "ohs" every day with a great 4.075 second pass when track temperatures exceeded 100 degrees on Monday. Hight and the Auto Club team also conducted tires tests for Goodyear during the test session.
"For me, it was great to get my competitive juices flowing with the PRO Winter Warm-Up event. I am so ready for Pomona," said Hight. "I would head to Auto Club Raceway tomorrow if the NHRA said they were ready for us. Jimmy and Eric tested a number of things and we have a really good handle on this Auto Club Ford Mustang,"
Courtney Force also took another step forward in her evolution from Top Alcohol Dragster to Funny Car driver. On Monday and Tuesday, she practiced numerous burnouts and launches. The goal is to continue bring her along slowly to ensure she develops at a comfortable pace, according to Force. Her best run was a nice 4.29 second pass and it gave the 22 year-old former cheerleader a boost of confidence.
"I made eight launches on Monday and Tuesday in my BrandSource Ford Mustang and with every launch I got more comfortable. I know I still have a long way to go but these two days were a big learning opportunity for me," said the youngest Force. "I can't thank Ashley's guys, I mean dad's guys, for helping me out on Monday and Tuesday. They gave me a great Mustang for every run. My best run was the 4.26 second pass and it just felt really good."
The first person to talk with Courtney as she exited her Funny Car was sister and two-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Funny Car champion Ashley Force Hood. Force Hood was in Florida to work with Courtney on some of the finer points of Funny Car (wo)man-handling as well as to begin shooting for the new reality television show.
In addition to Force Hood John Force Entertainment sent producer Brent Travers, editor Josh Miller and cameraman Juan Carlos. JF Entertainment chronicled Courtney Force behind the scenes as well as on track. They also dropped in on the numerous conversations between the Force sisters as well as Courtney and John.
John Force Racing will open the NHRA season at the 51st annual Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona on February 24, 2011.