NHRA Midwest Nationals the three John Force Racing Ford Mustang Funny Cars set the pace of the field provisionally qualifying No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5 after two sessions. Led by 2010 AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals champion Robert Hight with a 4.022 second run the JFR Funny Cars made a strong impression on the near capacity crowd.
Hight smoked the tires in his first run and was relegated to run early in the second session. The AAA Insurance Funny Car made the most of their opportunity on a well prepped track blasting to the top of the field with a 4.022 second run that established the track record for elapsed time. Only Matt Hagan was quicker running 4.001 seconds in the last pair with JFR teammate Courtney Force.
“That was a good run. There is no one hanging their head over here. We didn’t get down the track the first run and we wanted to put up a good number that session. We are excited and ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the time to get a race day combination. That 4.02 run puts us in a great position and we are happy with it. It was great to see all our Funny Car run up close to the top,” said Hight.
Right after Hight ran to the top of the field team leader John Force made his strongest run of the day with a 4.023 second pass. The winningest driver in NHRA history powered his Castrol GTX Funny Car to the provisional No. 3 spot and is ready to make a run at his unprecedented 16th Mello Yello Funny Car championship.
All three JFR Funny Car drivers earned qualifying bonus points today to keep Hagan the point leader within reach.
After day one of the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, Courtney Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang team are holding onto the No. 5 qualifying spot and have tucked away one bonus point for their Friday efforts.
The youngest daughter of John Force was third quickest of the first session with a 4.127 and had the second-best speed at 310.20 mph.
“For our first hit today here in St. Louis, we ran a 4.127 and went to the top spot with top speed at over 310 mph. After a couple more passes, we got knocked down two positions by Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman, but we were able to pick up a point for being third-quickest of that session so we were happy to have that. We were actually going for a 4.10 elapsed time on that run, but had to back it down a little once we saw everyone going up in smoke. We were happy where we were at with that 4.12 right off the bat,” said Force.
The second qualifying attempt brought a 4.062 to the Traxxas Ford Mustang camp and put the 25-year-old driver in the No. 5 spot going into day two of qualifying tomorrow.
“Our Traxxas team was able to improve on that last pass. The conditions were good and we got the car down there running a 4.06. It put us in the No. 5 spot. We’re excited about it. It was on a good run. I’m in the top half of the field with my dad and my brother-in-law and we’re hoping we stay up there through tomorrow.”
“We’re hoping that during qualifying tomorrow we can see some consistent runs out of our car through the heat so we can be ready for race day,” said Force.
Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award candidate Brittany Force put on a show for fans Friday night as she ran her career best 3.79 elapsed time at a national event after two rounds of qualifying.
Force ran a 4.19 ET in round one of qualifying after smoking the tires, forcing her to shut off the engine of her Castrol EDGE dragster early. Despite not making a full pass, the Top Fuel pilot knew the team had one more chance to make a good run.
“First qualifying run we went out there and went up in tire smoke,” Force said. “We only ran a 4.19, so we didn’t get the car all the way down the track. It wasn’t what we had hoped for, but after the run we didn’t hurt any parts so we’re okay with that. We also knew we were going to have one more run at the end of the night. Being later in the night, the temperature drops and the track conditions get better, so we were getting ready for that next run.”
Going into the second qualifying session, the track temperature became cooler, which makes for faster runs. That was exactly what she did. Force raced her way to a career best 3.79 ET at a national event, ultimately landing her fifth in the field at the end of the night.
“The Castrol EDGE team put together a fast race car,” said Force. “We ran a 3.79 and that’s my best ET I’ve run this entire year. I did run it once last year in testing, but never at a national event. It’s completely different. I’m so proud of my team. I’m anxious for tomorrow. We get two more runs and we’ll definitely be in the top half of the field going into Saturday. We’re excited and ready to see what this weekend has going for us.”