FORCE LEADS JFR ON THURSDAY AT AUTO CLUB FINALS POMONA, CA -- 14-time Funny Car champion John Force led the way for his trio of Mustang Funny Cars on a tough first day of qualifying at the 46th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals. During the lone ...
FORCE LEADS JFR ON THURSDAY AT AUTO CLUB FINALS
POMONA, CA -- 14-time Funny Car champion John Force led the way for his trio of Mustang Funny Cars on a tough first day of qualifying at the 46th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals. During the lone qualifying session of Thursday the left lane gave Funny Car crew chiefs fits as only one car made it to the finish line under power. Force's Mike Neff, Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly tuned Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang was that lone Funny Car and reached the finish line under power tripping the timing lights at 4.170 seconds which was good enough for the fourth quickest run of the session. He narrowly missed grabbing some valuable qualifying bonus points.
"That is a positive but tomorrow they will make a lot of runs so the left lane will come around. We pulled it back to where we thought it would go and I don't think it (the left lane) would have taken much more than that," said the seven time Auto Club Finals winner. "He (points leader Matt Hagan) picked up some points. It is four rounds of qualifying and he could get them all and it only helps him get one round on me. We have never had to count points before and this is making it exciting. I never even looked at the deal before. Race day is another animal. Conditions should be pretty good."
Force is not worried after one day of qualifying. He has won 56 rounds of racing at the famed Auto Club Raceway at Pomona during just the Auto Club NHRA Finals. The veteran driver will stick to his game plan and come out swinging tomorrow.
"I am staying positive. I have a great Ford with great sponsors. The fans have been great and they are counting on us to deliver. We have the same conditions as all the other teams. We are going to stick to our strategy every round. We are just going to keep going and going. We are going to try and get those points back so it is only two rounds and not three rounds. He could win the next two but that won't get him another round. We took it in Vegas and we'll take it here."
Two-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Funny Car winner Ashley Force Hood and 2009 Funny Car champion Robert Hight were also slotted in the left lane and neither was able to keep their respective Ford Mustang Funny Cars hooked up. Force Hood will go into Friday's second day of qualifying with the 7th quickest time of 4.982 seconds and Hight made the 8th quickest run in his Auto Club Ford Mustang with a 5.560 second pass.
"The last few months of the Countdown everyone has been a little on edge. Every round matters and every point matters. I think the biggest pressure is that the whole season is coming down to one race. This race will be the sum of our season. We have also been around enough years to know that you know anything can happen," said Force Hood.
"You can only do the best that you can do. I think it is an advantage for us because we have been around through thick and thin. It helps us put things in perspective. I don't know Hagan and his team but I can image the excitement those guys have over there to be leading the points coming into this race. I am sure it is very different than how we feel. Dad has won many, many championships and we are used to the extreme swings of emotion."
In addition to the battle at the top of the Funny Car point standings there is a tight race between Force Hood and Jack Beckman to see who will wind up third or fourth. Currently Beckman has a slight advantage over Force Hood.
"A lot of different rounds combined together to figure out the championship or whether I finish third or fourth. I don't know the difference in points and I don't want to know. I know dad and Hagan's difference and I am stressing out more about those two. I have an actual number in my head. I know I just ran Beckman and he ran better than me. I don't know if that did anything to our point standings but I am not worried about that," said Hagan.
"I know when dad and Hagan ran Hagan got those extra points. That is not something I should be thinking about. It doesn't help me to know that. Worrying about points doesn't help me be a better driver. If we do really well I know I can move into third. I am going to focus on doing our best and not put extra pressure on myself. I can't control how Beckman, Hagan or dad do. We just need to do our best."