INDIANAPOLIS – The 60th annual Chevrolet Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals got off to a slow start for John Force Racing. Luckily there are still four more qualifying sessions for the winningest team in NHRA history. Today the best effort came from John Force and the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car who covered the 1000 foot track in 4.865 seconds at 168.94 mph.

Under hot and humid conditions, the Funny Cars finally got their opening shot down the iconic Indianapolis Raceway Park as over 8000 horsepower echoed through the pits and surrounding communities. For the reigning Funny Car champ that has four Indy wins under his belt, he has the potential to win not the NHRA U.S. Nationals this long weekend, but also the Traxxas Shootout and the Lucas Oil Nationals that had to be postponed two weeks ago in Brainerd due to rain.
However for Force, he’ll need to get his Funny Car dialed in for the track and weather conditions. His Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang smoked the massive Goodyear slick just past half-track and he tried to pedal it to salvage the run but it was to no avail. He turned in a disappointing 4.865 second run a 168.94 MPH.
“We were too aggressive – we thought from testing the run would be better but we just pushed it too hard. Heck, many of the other teams here pushed their car too hard on that first session. We’re not worried, we’ll fix it tomorrow,” said John Force.
Jimmy Prock (crew chief, Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang), also knows the tune-up is critical but with more qualifying sessions scheduled for the weekend, the legendary tuner will have more opportunities to sort things out.
“We missed a little on the clutch set up but the track was fine. The clutch wear was a little different than what we’ve had and the set-up we had just didn’t work. I went out there and got a little fast but the conditions we’ll have tomorrow night will be the same of a little better so we’ll be fine,” said Jimmy Prock.
Right behind Force was Robert Hight who was also on a strong pass but hazed the tires slowing to a pedestrian 5.195 seconds. Hight and Force are 1-2 in the Mello Yello point standings and the three time U.S. Nationals winner is not discouraged by today’s outcome.
“Today was just one session. We have four more over the next two days so we will get this Auto Club Mustang into a better position. We had a good test session before the race so I am totally confident,” said Robert Hight.
Courtney Force and the Traxxas Ford Mustang will use their four qualifying sessions over the next two days to move up into the qualified field. Today she posted the thirteenth quickest elapsed time and will not carry the time over to Saturday.
Brittany Force drove her Castrol EDGE Top Fuel Dragster to the No. 12 spot in the opening qualifying round. The 2013 NHRA Auto Club Rookie of the Year was on a good pass in her 10,000 horsepower Castrol EDGE Dragster until it started to the hazed the massive Goodyear slicks near the finish line.
“I’m definitely excited to be out here at the NHRA U.S. Nationals, I’m pumped because it’s the biggest race of the year. The Castrol EDGE Team got the fan vote and I’m really excited to be racing in the Traxxas Shootout tomorrow, therefor, it’s a really big weekend for us and we’re stoked on that.
With this being Brittany’s second time competing in Top Fuel at the U.S. Nationals, she’s come a long way since her rookie season. Her confidence level is high and despite running a 4.644 second pass at 178.02 mph under tricky track and weather conditions during this evenings qualifying session, she’s ready to challenge her opponents.
“The first qualifying pass didn’t go as well as we’d like. My Castrol EDGE Dragster was on a good run and almost made it to the finish line but it started to come lose so I got out of the throttle. But, we’ll start fresh tomorrow and be ready for Doug Kalitta. Even though he’s qualified number one for the shootout, we’ve beaten him before so I’m ready,” said Brittany Force.