JFR MUSTANG YOUTH MOVEMENT LEADS FRIDAY QUALIFYING Under a setting sun at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway three of the four John Force Racing Ford Mustangs stepped up and blasted to the top half of the field after one day of ...
JFR MUSTANG YOUTH MOVEMENT LEADS FRIDAY QUALIFYING
Under a setting sun at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway three of the four John Force Racing Ford Mustangs stepped up and blasted to the top half of the field after one day of qualifying at the 9th annual Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Led by Ashley Force, No. 3, who also recorded the fastest mph of any Funny Car on the Bruton Smith owned facility, Mike Neff, No. 6, and Robert Hight, No. 7 rounded out the John Force Racing young guns.
The lone JFR driver on the outside looking in was 14-time champion John Force who did not improve on his first round 4.971 second pass during the second qualifying session which was good enough for 15th quickest of the day. His run will not carry over into Saturday and he will be battling eight other drivers including Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, and former teammate Gary Densham for one of four remaining qualifying spots.
"It doesn't matter that we are still in the top sixteen. We have to start again tomorrow. We have to get this Mustang to run. It dropped a cylinder. That time is not going to stay in. I was excited for Ashley. I am excited about the new Ford Drive One program we are involved in," said the driver who has 496 round wins and 125 event wins to his credit. "We are doing our best for all our sponsors like Castrol, Auto Club, and BrandSource. Mike Neff did his job but we didn't get the job done. That is all I can say about that."
2007 Rookie of the Year Ashley Force felt that getting two solid runs, one in each lane, will be critical heading into the weekend.
"I feel a lot more comfortable that we made it down both lanes so that isn't in the back of my head this weekend," said the only female to ever reach an NHRA Funny Car final round. "I was saying on the way back from the top end that it feels nice on Friday evening to be qualified No. 3 and to have made full runs in both lanes."
Robert Hight was also relieved to get two solid runs for his Auto Club Ford Mustang. His team has struggled with consistency this season and today's performance gave the Winternationals winner a needed boost as they move forward.
"It is encouraging. We are still on the slow side of it now. We are learning more. Right now with the information we got from testing in Houston combined with today has us in a good position to improve. We had to take a big step backwards and in the end we are going to be alright."
Mike Neff and his Old Spice Mustang team felt that the information they picked up from today's runs will help the rookie driver get his first round win and more hopefully.
"It is always a good day when you can get qualified on Friday and be in the field. We would have liked to have run a little bit quicker. We definitely feel like we could have. We are trying some new stuff," said the front runner for the 2008 Rookie of the Year award." We are anticipating it being hot. We are learning stuff for when the track warms up. That is what we are concentrating on right now. I can use all the runs I can get. Every time we can make a full run it definitely helps me out."
Neff's day of qualifying was capped with his first side by side run against his former teammate Gary Scelzi. After the run Neff was excited about the experience.
"It was lots of fun racing (Gary) Scelzi. It was really cool when I got to race John Force for the first time and that was a lot of fun right there to line up beside Gary. I didn't get to talk with him at the top end but I talked to him before the run."
Brittany Force made her Top Alcohol Dragster debut driving the Jerry Darien tuned Brand Source sponsored dragster and after two runs sits in the No. 13 position
JOHN FORCE, 58. Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 15th quickest pass at 4.971 seconds, 306.05 mph
Quotable: "We have to get this Mustang to run. It dropped a cylinder. That time is not going to stay in. I was excited for Ashley. I am excited about the new Ford Drive One program we are involved in. We are doing our best for all our sponsors like Castrol, Auto Club, BrandSource."
ASHLEY FORCE, 25, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 3rd at 4.867 seconds, 320.97 mph
Quotable: "This (second) run and the earlier run will give us good information for Sunday. To be able to run in the heat and then as the sun is going down to run good is a big plus."
ROBERT HIGHT, 38, Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 7th at 4.909 seconds, 302.35 mph
Quotable: "We haven't made enough runs to the finish line to tune the motor. We have been battling the clutch and now we need to work on the motor. In all honesty tomorrow is going to be hotter and Sunday is going to be hotter but we have a tune up from the first run that will get us down the track tomorrow. It will be fine tomorrow when it is hot."
MIKE NEFF, 40, Old Spice Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 6th at 4.894 seconds, 320.51 mph
Quotable: ""It is always a good day when you can get qualified on Friday and be in the field. We would have liked to have run a little bit quicker. We definitely feel like we could have. We are anticipating it being hot. We are learning stuff for when the track warms up."
BRITTANY FORCE, 21, BrandSource A/Fuel Dragster
Qualifying position and performance: 13th at 5.591 seconds, 237.21 mph.