John Force Racing Indianapolis Friday report

John Force Racing press release


Robert Hight
Robert Hight

Photo by: Ted Rossino

INDIANAPOLIS, IN --- Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang got off to a strong start at the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals but Hight knows there is more than enough room for improvement. Paired up with teammate and Funny Car points leader Mike Neff as the last pair of Funny Cars in the lone qualifying session today Hight raced to the provisional No. 4 position, at 4.196 seconds. For Hight it was a solid start to the longest race weekend of the season at the biggest race.

“I am sure (crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) is not ecstatic about that run. He is happy it went down the track. Looking at it early there is plenty of room to pick it up. Basically what we did is we went back to what we ran when we were winning races. It worked then and that is what got us here,” said Hight a four-time winner in 2011.

“If there are little issues we will just have to live with them. This is not the time to try and reinvent fuel racing. We are just so happy it went down the track. When it got through the shake zone I knew it was gone. I knew it was going to make it. Trust me there are four hundredths there easy. In that run is we had to go up there again we could pick it up two in the middle and two in the beginning and you are really close to what Cruz (Pedregon) ran. It could at least be a 4.15 and we can win with that. I have never been happier with a 4.19.”

In the lane beside Hight Mike Neff and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang smoked the tires at the tail end of the shake zone and will go into Saturday as the provisional No. 12 qualifier with their run of 4.747 seconds. Neff continues to tune and drive the Castrol GTX Mustang and is looking for his first win at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals as either a driver or tuner.

JFR team leader and 15-time Funny Car champion John Force got the crowd at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis to their feet when his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang was unveiled on the starting line with a special paint scheme commemorating his unprecedented fifteen Full Throttle Funny Car world championship. Force made sure the fans knew that this paint scheme was a tribute to them as well as his sponsors for standing by him after him crash in 2007.

“I wanted to do something really special for my 15th Full Throttle championship so I designed a Ford Mustang Funny Car with Full Throttle colors. I’ve got a special fire suit and helmet that match the Funny Car. Winning the 15th championship was special because I battled a great driver Matt Hagan right down to the last day. It was a fight throughout the Countdown and I am really proud of my team led by Austin Coil, Mike Neff and Bernie Fedderly. It was a big comeback for me and I just want to thank all my sponsors Castrol, Ford, Auto Club, Mac Tools and BrandSource for standing behind me,” said Force.

“Most of all I want to thank the fans. I had to really struggle to get back from my crash in 2007 but I go so much support in the hospital in Dallas, then when I was working out at Fanatics in Yorba Linda plus all the people at every race leading up to this championship. The fans kept me going and I will always be thankful to them. I can’t wait to get into this hot rod and try and win another Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and maybe a few more Full Throttle Funny Car championships.”

There will be four more opportunities for the John Force Racing Ford Mustangs to race to the top of the field at the richest and most prestigious drag race in the United States. John Force Racing has won the last three Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and five of the last nine.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan , Austin Coil , Mike Neff
Tags force, ford, hight, indianapolis, neff