GREAT MEMPHIS TRACK HAS HIGHT FLYING HIGH AGAIN Force Hood joins Hight in top three after first day of Mid-South Nationals MEMPHIS, TN - Robert Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang team continued to dominate at the 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA ...
GREAT MEMPHIS TRACK HAS HIGHT FLYING HIGH AGAIN
Force Hood joins Hight in top three after first day of Mid-South Nationals
MEMPHIS, TN - Robert Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang team continued to dominate at the 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals racing to the provisional No. 1 spot today. Hight picked up six qualifying bonus points by making the quickest runs of both qualifying sessions. He credited the Memphis Motorsports Park track with helping his already hot team add to their on-track success.
"The air is great here. This Memphis racetrack is unbelievable. It is the best race track we have been on in a while. That is saying a lot because you have places like Charlotte and places that are brand new, all-concrete but (crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) told me yesterday after he walked the track that the race track was unbelievable. It is kind of a shame we are coming back here next year in August. This time of year with this weather it is awesome. You are going to see more of the same tomorrow if we get similar conditions."
Hight's confidence level as well as the confidence level of crew chief Jimmy Prock grows with every qualify pass by the Auto Club Mustang. If his qualifying position holds up it would be the third time in four races that his Auto Club team has grabbed the top spot.
"It is so cool to watch Jimmy because he has some confidence. When we were messed up most of the season he would go back to the box a hundred times. You could tell he was second guessing himself. Not anymore. He leaves the pits with a pretty good idea of what he wants to do. He maybe makes one or two little adjustments and it goes. It helps we got down the track so quick during the first season."
Hight is also a fan of the qualifying bonus points and how his team can go after the points and still achieve high performance standards.
"We are not going to put this car anywhere it has never been. We are counting those points. They are big. We are glad NHRA did it. It makes it a little more exciting for the fans and us racers," said Hight.
"Jimmy has just begun to tune it up. To run nearly 311 mph tonight that means all the parts are good. It is happy. It is revving and marching to the finish line. That is a big thing. Jimmy has never had a problem with clutch application. His clutch application has been awesome all along we just needed our engine fixed. That was what Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas (Ashley Force Hood's crew chiefs) helped us with."
Teammate Ashley Force Hood and her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang were right behind Hight sitting in the no. 3 provisional spot. She is bunched up with four other teams running 4.10s. Luckily Force Hood is in the top half of those drivers just a tick behind Jack Beckman who raced to the provisional No. 2 spot with a 4.101 second run.
"It is exciting to know that if everything goes right we have a great chance of getting that number one spot. That wasn't always the case. When we first started I would mess up at times or their tune up might not be able to push it as much. There were times when we would get down the track and move up to No. 1 but we were doing that all the time. It was usually Robert and other teams," said Force Hood.
"This year it has been the best feeling to know that when it goes down the track I am excited to hear how we did. We are usually up there 1-2-3 and we are pretty pumped. Today we moved up to second and got bumped back to third but to be in the top three after seeing so many cars get down the track with good runs is a great feeling. It seems like three or four people ran 4.10s so to be on the higher end of that is good. I knew Beckman ran a 4.101 and I was just waiting to hear what my last number was when they told me we ran a 4.10 as well."
The other two John Force Racing Mustangs just missed having their own dominant Fridays. Team leader John Force drove his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to the provisional No. 7 spot with a 4.116 second run. His Mustang blew up at the top end and still put up a solid number.
Mike Neff made the 13th quickest run of the day. Neff's time of 4.136 seconds will not carry over tomorrow and he will be racing for one of the remaining four qualifying spots. With a superior race surface and the tuning skills of John Medlen and jump into the top half is not out of the question for the Ford Drive One team.