ASHLEY FORCE HOOD'S EFFORT DOUBLES AT RICHMOND Force Hood and Hight Grab Lion Share of Qualifying Bonus Points on Friday PETERSBURG, VA --- Ashley Force Hood and her Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas tuned Castrol GTX Ford Mustang raced to the top...
ASHLEY FORCE HOOD'S EFFORT DOUBLES AT RICHMOND
Force Hood and Hight Grab Lion Share of Qualifying Bonus Points on Friday
PETERSBURG, VA --- Ashley Force Hood and her Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas tuned Castrol GTX Ford Mustang raced to the top of the Funny Car class at the 4th annual NHRA Virginia Nationals today. She had the quickest runs both qualifying sessions and picked up the maximum of six qualifying bonus points for her efforts. In the first session she opened up with a 4.140 and then improved to a 4.094 in the last session.
"Every little point here and there is going to help. It could be today's few points that make or break a championship at the end of the season. We are trying to not give away any runs especially when the conditions are so nice and the track is nice. It is all there," said the Funny Car points leader. "That can be the most frustrating thing when you don't make it down the track when it could have been a stellar run. That we made both runs A to B really strong today means we are pumped up for the weekend. We have started off really strong but we have to keep going."
Force Hood was paired with her teammate and brother-in-law both sessions today and in the pressroom she spoke of the friendly rivalry that is forming between the two Ford backed teams.
"Having Robert's team doing so well definitely motivates us. We have had a strong season and they have struggled. It does put the pressure on when you come down to the countdown and you see that it can all turn around. We don't want to let anything slip through our fingers. If we don't win the championship we want one of our other three teammates to get the championship," said Force Hood.
"You can tell there is that competition between us. They have been on this team for a lot of years and both groups of guys have that competition. It is exciting when I am going down the track and I can feel his Mustang and sometimes see the nose of his car in my peripheral vision. You know he is right beside us and that is a great feeling. If we are both on strong runs we are both probably going to get pretty god numbers. I knew he was somewhere right up there with me. I knew we both made good passes. We are both really happy going into tomorrow."
Robert Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang team we second quickest in the first session and just a tick behind No. 2 runner Jeff Arend in the last session. They finished the day in the provisional number three position. Hight picked up three bonus qualifying points and he feels that his success on Friday puts his team in position to be very aggressive on Saturday.
"We end up number three and at least we are going down the track. The biggest deal is our engine is down on power a little but we will get her. We'll have two shot tomorrow as long as it doesn't rain to go for the throat and try and run some low ohs," said the hottest driver of the Countdown.
Another John Force Racing Mustang team is going to hit the Virginia Motorsports Park track with everything they have on Saturday. Mike Neff and his Ford Drive One Mustang made two solid runs today but they know there is more out there and they are going to go after it.
"We are trying to come up with a baseline. The Mustang the last few races the moves we have been making haven't been getting us the results we want. We are trying some different things. We had to go down the track on the first run so we would have something to look at. The second run we jumped on it pretty good and it ran better yet it still didn't produce the ET that we wanted. We have a direction now," said the provisional number 12 driver.
"The positive is we went down the track both runs today and we are 12th. Being in that top twelve gives us the liberty to be able to go out there and take a risk tomorrow and not have to worry about just getting qualified. Tomorrow we are going to keep making big moves until we get the ET we are looking for."
John Force raced to the provisional number ten spot on Friday night and his team is also looking to make a move on Saturday.
"I told my guys there are three races left. Look at what Robert has done in three races. He went from tenth to first. I'm in seventh place right now so I am not out of it by any means. I am going to get this Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang right and we are going to do some damage," said the 14-time Funny Car champion.