NHRA Driver Mike Neff - Ford Racing Interview

By Ford Racing

This Week In Ford Racing

Mike Neff widened his lead in the NHRA Full Throttle Series point standings when he won his third event of the year, at Norwalk. It was his first win at the Northern Ohio track. Neff has advanced to six final rounds in 10 events this year, so it’s no surprise he is an early favorite for the championship. But Neff’s win record is even more remarkable when considering the fact he is his own crew chief.

Mike Neff
Mike Neff

Photo by: Ted Rossino

TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST WIN AT NORWALK AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, BUILDING UP YOUR LEAD IN THE NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES POINT STANDINGS: “It was exciting. This was a tricky day out here. The track was pretty slick when you got on the asphalt and it was just one of those places where it was hard to get a real confident handle on. Fortunately we hung in there and survived. It’s a thrill. I love coming here. This is a great facility and we’ll be back August 13, 2011 for the Night of Fire. (John) Force is real involved with the Bader family, so it’s exciting just to get another win. I just feel fortunate. I can’t thank my team enough.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED IT’S TAKEN TEAM FORCE SO LONG TO WIN AT A TRACK YOU’RE SO FAMILIAR WITH? (THIS WAS THE FIRST WIN FOR TEAM FORCE AT THE TRACK.) “That is surprising, the fact that this is the only track that Force has never won at. I was surprised. I didn’t even know that. I was hoping he would go to the final. That would’ve just been great if he could’ve gotten there. He had a great car all weekend. Something just kind of went weird with it. Anyway, to get a win here…we lost in the final here last year, with John driving. So to be able to get a win here feels great.”

HOW CONCERNED WERE YOU WITH RON CAPPS (IN THE FINAL ROUND)? “You just have to keep doing what you’re doing. We had been going down the track and the track was still hot in the final. We’re just doing our own thing. They’re a great team over there, so you give them enough shots at it, they’re bound to get it to stick sooner or later. They put up a great race, so that was good to see a good drag race there in the final.”

YOU TALKED ABOUT MENTAL FATIGUE EARLIER IN THE YEAR, SERVING AS BOTH CREW CHIEF AND DRIVER. HAS THAT GOTTEN BETTER FOR YOU AT ALL? “Yeah, the more rounds you go. We’ve been to six final rounds now and that’s like training. I’m getting in the groove and my team, they’ve been in the groove. They went to I think 11 finals last year. They can hack it and I’m getting better at it and getting in a little bit better shape, so there’s not really an issue there. But it is a long day, especially when it’s hot out like it is today. It wears you down.”

HOW HARD IS IT GOING TO BE FOR JOHN TO GET YOU OUT OF THIS CAR AND GO BACK TO JUST TUNING? “It might be tough, but we’re going to need a sponsor probably to keep me in the car next year. But we’ll see how it goes. You never know.”

HOW HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU TO HANDLE DUTIES AS A CREW CHIEF AND AS A DRIVER? “There’s definitely more to do, when you’re doing both. But I’ve got such a great team with Bernie Fedderly keeping an eye on everything and making sure nothing falls through the cracks. My team does 99 percent of all the work, as far as the car and preparation and with all of them involved, it makes it really not that difficult.”

WHAT WAS BEHIND THE DECISION TO PICK THE LEFT LANE IN THE FINAL? YOU WERE THE ONLY DRIVER TO DO SO IN FUNNY CAR ALL DAY. “My car had been just getting really fast in the right lane out about 80 feet and chopping the tire pretty good and it just looked kind of awkward to me. I was actually contemplating taking the left lane in the very first round, but I went in the right and kind of looked funny. It looked worse in the second round, so when we lost lane choice in the semis against Cruz (Pedregon), I was like ‘good,’ because I would’ve taken the left lane in the semis if I had the option. Over there it looked better than it did in the right, so we took it again and it worked out. It’s one of those things though where you’re going to look like a real idiot if it doesn’t, because everyone was winning out of the right. I knew that.”

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Neff
Tags ford, john force, mike neff, norwalk