Norwalk: John Force Racing Friday report

FORCE HOOD MAKES NORWALK LATE NIGHT WORTH WAIT NORWALK, OH -- After a number of delays due to Pro Mod and Pro Stock accidents the Nitro Funny Cars took to the track nearly two hours later than expected at the 4th annual Summit Racing Equipment...


NORWALK, OH -- After a number of delays due to Pro Mod and Pro Stock accidents the Nitro Funny Cars took to the track nearly two hours later than expected at the 4th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Conditions cooled and as the sun set a number of teams dramatically improved on their first qualifying efforts. Ashley Force Hood took the most advantage of the situation running a top ten 1,000 foot era elapsed time, tripping the clocks at 4.032 seconds and 311.99 mph. The team was swinging for the fences and it paid off.

"The track was really perfect conditions. Everybody knew that going up to the starting line. We were really excited we got to run later in the pack. We wanted to take advantage of it. My crew chiefs were back and forth on whether to push it but risk not getting down the track. We decided we were in the show so if we don't get down we don't get down. It was our best run ever at 1,000 feet and it felt really good. I was getting down the track and I was getting to the point of thinking my body couldn't take much more pressure," said Force Hood. "I am surprised that (Matt) Hagan and Robert (Hight) didn't get around me. When I saw the flames staying lit all the way to the finish line when we were towing back I thought if they are getting to the top end under power they would do it (go to No. 1) but we managed to hang onto it."

Force Hood is the only John Force Racing Mustang without a win in 2010 so all the Blue Oval fans are putting extra support in Force Hood's corner.

"We have struggled this year so no one had hard feelings that we went to No. 1. They were all happy to see us get a good run in the night session. We still have to be focused on Sunday. You don't want to lose your train of thought. It is the day runs that are important for Sunday. Being the No. 1 qualifier going into the race is where everyone wants to be. You have confidence going into race day if you have been making good runs. That is how we feel about it," said Force Hood.

While Force Hood was heading back to the pits there was still one pair of Funny Cars left to run and the tandem of Matt Hagan and Robert Hight had the grandstands buzzing in anticipation. The duo did not disappoint powering to the top end with flames spewing out of their headers but they did not surpass the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang effort.

Hight was pleased to with his 4.067 second pass considering it was his second strong pass of the day. In the opening session his Jimmy Prock tuned Mustang made a solid 4.181 second pass at 296.89 mph. His Auto Club team is working through a new clutch package so seeing progress like the two runs today was promising. Hight however was not ready to proclaim his dominant Auto Club Mustang to be back under his control.

"Last weekend we only made one run down the track and that was the first run. Then four runs in a row it smoked the tires. We have fixed what was wrong but we are still working on it. When you shoot for the moon you never know what you are going to get. Good job to Ashley for getting the top spot. We are well in the field at No. 4 so that will stick. Tomorrow will be hot so we'll get ready for Sunday," said the No. 2 driver in the Full Throttle point standings.

"This has only been two runs so that is not enough to be totally fixed. We need two more runs right at the top tomorrow and we'll be ready for Sunday. That is all you can do."

Team leader John Force did not improve in the night session but his effort paved the way for his next generation drivers. Force smoked the tires at about half track as it was obvious that his crew chief triumvirate of Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly and Mike Neff were trying to put up a monster number. His time ended the day as the 13th quickest of the day so it will not carry over but his team is confident they can make solid runs in the heat tomorrow.

In the Top Alcohol Dragster category the two youngest Force racers both showed minimal signs of rust as Courtney Force drove her Ford Racing A Fuel dragster to the No. 2 qualified spot with an opening session 5.440 second run and Brittany Force wound up No. 6 after she crossed the finish line in her BrandSource A Fuel dragster in 5.505 seconds. The Top Alcohol Dragster teams will have one more shot to improve their positions at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

The final two nitro qualifying sessions will be run at 1:00 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.

-source: jfr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan , Austin Coil , Mike Neff , Courtney Force , Brittany Force