Joliet: John Force Racing Friday notes

NEFF'S FORD DRIVE ONE MUSTANG LEADS JFR QUARTET JOLIET, IL --- Mike Neff and his Ford Drive One Mustang brought the crowd to their feet at the conclusion of the Friday night qualifying session at Rt. 66 Raceway laying down the top speed of the...


JOLIET, IL --- Mike Neff and his Ford Drive One Mustang brought the crowd to their feet at the conclusion of the Friday night qualifying session at Rt. 66 Raceway laying down the top speed of the day for Funny Cars, 305.68 mph on a 4.110 second pass which was good enough for the No. 2 provisional qualifying position. Former John Force Racing driver Tony Pedregon grabbed the top spot from the other lane with a stellar 4.089 second run.

"If the conditions are the same tomorrow we can step that up. We left some out there. We were a little conservative in a few areas. That was a good run to get into No.2 we aren't going to complain about that. We definitely feel like if we could do that run over again we could run quite a bit better. Hopefully the conditions will be good tomorrow and we can have the chance to do that," said Neff. "It always feels good to make a good clean run like that all the way to the lights without spinning the tires. Lately at the last couple of tracks with it being a hot as it was you are spinning the tires every run so be able to have good conditions to make a full pull is great."

Behind Neff in the qualifying order is team leader John Force (No. 3), Ashley Force Hood (No. 5), and Robert Hight (No. 10). Force Hood was pleased with the effort but knew that tomorrow was going to an even more important day for her Castrol GTX Mustang team. Her second run was a good way to end the day. She knew that her pedestrian pass in the first session gave her competition an advantage as the track cooled on Friday night.

"(The second run) just felt like a normal good run. It was on a good pass and it was really good at the time. I think it was good enough for second at the time but I knew there were teams behind us and they would move up. They could learn from us and make their adjustments. That is one of the frustrating parts about not being at the back of the pack. We are just trying to make sure it gets down the track," said Force Hood, a three time finalist in 2009. "We weren't too surprised people went around us. The field is still really close. Hopefully the conditions will be cool tomorrow and we will try and move up the ranks. More important is getting good solid runs for Sunday. We had a good run in the second session and hopefully we'll get two good ones tomorrow."

Even though his Auto Club Mustang did not land in the top half of the qualified field Robert Hight made progress by grabbing the No. 10 spot going into Saturday second day of qualifying. When you consider some of the struggles the two-time championship runner-up has battled this season carrying a qualifying time over to Saturday is a step in the right direction.

"We made progress today. We have to take baby steps. We can't go out there tomorrow and try and make a big move and then smoke the tires both runs. We are on the right side of this tune up and we just need to make small adjustments. The good news is it is running well early. For the past couple of races we were slow early and then smoked the tires. That isn't the problem now. I am excited about getting on the track tomorrow and moving the Auto Club Mustang up in the order," said Hight.

"I think we are in a position to (move up) and it feels pretty good. There are still some pretty good guys not qualified yet. I know they will step up tomorrow so that means we'll have to improve. I think we can do that which feels pretty good."

Before the second session 14-time champion John Force and his long-time crew chief Austin Coil talked about how hard they might want to push their Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Force responded that he would drive whatever tune-up Coil put in his hot rod. For the last session Force was in the next to last pair of cars and laid down a solid 4.124, 303.37 mph run to move into the No. 2 spot until Neff pushed him back one position.

In the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series ranks the two Force driven Top Alcohol Dragsters had very different racing experiences. Courtney Force powered the Sanyo Supercharged HD/BrandSource Top Alcohol Dragster to the No. 7 spot at 5.340 seconds, 269.56 mph. She made two solid runs today.

On the flipside sister Brittany Force had her hands full with the BrandSource Top Alcohol Dragster and is not qualified. The good news for Brittany is that she (and Courtney) will both have one more shot to improve with an early morning session at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

"We were hoping my second run was going to be better and it launched hard. Then it really shook the tires and I lifted. I couldn't really get back on it since the run was pretty well shot at that point. The good news is we have one more run tomorrow and it is early in the morning. That is the best time for our dragsters to run. That is the absolute best time we could pick to run. We are looking to make a good run down the track and get right into the show," said Force.

-credit: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Austin Coil , Mike Neff , Courtney Force , Brittany Force