NEFF'S NEAR MISS DELAYS FIRST WIN LAS VEGAS (April 7, 2008) --- Mike Neff and his Old Spice Ford Mustang are running out of ways to keep their winless streak alive. The good news is the rookie driver is not making the same mistake more than once...
NEFF'S NEAR MISS DELAYS FIRST WIN
LAS VEGAS (April 7, 2008) --- Mike Neff and his Old Spice Ford Mustang are running out of ways to keep their winless streak alive. The good news is the rookie driver is not making the same mistake more than once and by all accounts he is well overdue for a national event win much less a round win.
Even though he is a rookie behind the wheel and the season hasn't gotten off to the kind of start he envisioned, the front-runner for the 2008 Rookie of the Year award understands how quickly his luck can change.
"I really feel that we are going to do well. Sometimes you just get into a cycle where things aren't going your way and then one day it changes" said the former world champion crew chief. "I've been on cycles when you can't do anything wrong, too. I know an up cycle is coming so we stay positive and keep working hard. There is no doubt that we are going to do good here real quick."
In the first round of the Springnationals in Houston he lost to 2007 Funny Car World Champion Tony Pedregon even though his elapsed time of 4.896 would have advanced him to the second round in every other first round match-up except one. To add insult to injury it was the second quickest ET all day during eliminations.
Racing against the current world champ was not a match-up the rookie backed away from and his attitude was clear heading into eliminations.
"I might as well start at the top and we'll work our way down from there," said the Springnationals No. 3 qualifier.
The rookie from Hemet, Calif., is not discouraged but rather encouraged by the continued improvement of his young team and the consistent performance of his Old Spice Ford Mustang. His team picked up its first Full Throttle Award in Houston -- presented to the Funny Car team that is the most consistent during qualifying -- and a first for John Force Racing in 2008.
"Sure, qualifying three again is good. It was tricky (in Houston) but third is third. That was a good place to be. We picked up the Full Throttle award and that is just another little feather in our cap which is respectable. That first round run was the second quickest of that round and we (got sent) home. I've said it before, it (Neff's Ford Mustang) is just right there, super close and against anybody else we would have been getting ready for the second round."
During his career as crew chief for Gary Scelzi Neff guided that Funny Car to a couple of No. 1 qualifying positions and two final rounds including a victory at the Fall NHRA Las Vegas event in 2004.
"I really like going to Vegas. I've had a lot of success there with Gary (Scelzi). It is a great track. That is where I got my license. I've made a lot of runs there and I feel comfortable with the track."
For two of the first four events Neff has had the best qualified John Force Racing Ford Mustang including a No. 2 qualifying spot in Phoenix. No John Force Racing Ford Mustang has started from the No. 1 position this season but based on the continued improvement of Neff's Old Spice Ford Mustang Las Vegas could be a big race for his team.
"I know my Ford Mustang is coming around and I think Vegas just might be where be break out."