St. Louis: John Force Racing final report

DISAPPOINTING DAY FOR JFR AT NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS MADISON, IL --- Under overcast skies John Force Racing could not find many rays of sunshine at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis. Three of four Mustangs dropped first round ...

DISAPPOINTING DAY FOR JFR AT NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS

MADISON, IL --- Under overcast skies John Force Racing could not find many rays of sunshine at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis. Three of four Mustangs dropped first round match-up and team leader John Force was ousted in the second round by points leader Ron Capps. The 13th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Castrol will be a forgettable event for one of the most dominant teams in motorsports history.

Last year John Force won his 1000th round of racing by defeating Ron Capps in the opening session but this year Capps exacted his revenge in a second round race that saw his NAPA sponsored Funny Car run a round best elapsed time of 4.134 seconds to Force's 4.178 second pass in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. In the first round Force defeated Jack Beckman.

In her first round race Ashley Force Hood had her hands full when her Castrol GTX Mustang drove a little inside and she overcorrected to the right causing her 8000 horsepower Mustang to lose traction. She did a masterful job of regaining control of her Mustang but it was too little, too late as Tony Pedregon took the win.

"This was just one of those weekends. I have been handling my Mustang pretty well but I think you can over think things and that makes them worse. I am just going to chalk this weekend up to I didn't get a handle on this track and I am not going to take whatever problems I had here with me to the next track," said Force Hood.

"We have done fine the last couple of races -- back to back finals in Houston and Atlanta - so for whatever reason there was something about this weekend that every run I felt like I was making mistakes. My Castrol GTX Mustang went down the track every time. From my side of things I know when I get to the finish line and everything went great and I never felt like that this weekend. We'll just go to the next race."

Mike Neff pulled up beside Tim Wilkerson in the first round racing to move up in the Full Throttle Top Ten. It was a rematch of last year's Midwest Nationals final round. Unfortunately for Neff the results were the same only more dramatic. His Ford Drive One Mustang blew the supercharger off at about 500 feet as Wilkerson flew past him for the win.

According to crew chief John Medlen the No. 2 piston loaded up and pushed out. He was surprised it was the No. 2 since that one had never given them problems before.

"It was trucking along then the next thing I knew boom. It happened super fast. It didn't give me any warning at all," said Neff, the 2008 Auto Club Road to the Future Rookie of the Year.

Robert Hight was flying the colors of AAA on his Ford Mustang this weekend but the new logos did not provide him different results. He lost in the first round for the fourth time in five races. For the perennial championship contender his frustration is mounting but he is trying not to let that affect his attitude.

"Like I said yesterday this AAA Mustang has just not been cooperating. (Crew chief) Jimmy Prock and my guys will figure it out. I am not going to get frustrated because that won't help. We need to keep working together. I'm sorry I didn't do a better job for AAA. Those guys are great sponsors and I'll get them more wins. I'm looking forward to getting to Bristol and I just wish it was next week instead of two weeks away. We'll be ready. Neff had an exciting race at Bristol last year so we'll see what happens," said Hight.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, 59, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 8th at 4.170 seconds, 290.32 mph

Race results: Beat Jack Beckman. Lost to Ron Capps

ASHLEY FORCE HOOD, 26, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 7th at 4.162 seconds, 294.95 mph

Race results: Lost to Tony Pedregon

Quotable: "This was just one of those weekends. I have been handling my Mustang pretty well but I think you can over think things and that makes them worse. I am just going to chalk this weekend up to I didn't get a handle on this track and I am not going to take whatever problems I had here with me to the next track."

ROBERT HIGHT, 39, AAA Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 12th at 4.294 seconds, 244.21 mph

Race results: Lost to Bob Tasca III

Quotable: "I am not going to get frustrated because that won't help. We need to keep working together. I'm sorry I didn't do a better job for AAA. Those guys are great sponsors and I'll get them more wins."

MIKE NEFF, 41, Ford Drive One/Auto Club Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 11th at 4.222 seconds, 271.35 mph

Race results: Lost to Tim Wilkerson

Quotable: "It was trucking along then the next thing I knew boom. It happened super fast. It didn't give me any warning at all."

-credit: jfr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Tim Wilkerson , Jack Beckman , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Bob Tasca III , John Medlen , Mike Neff