POMONA, CA – The hottest Funny Car team coming into the 51st annual Auto Club Finals continued to impress as Robert Hight and the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car wrapped up the first day of qualifying as the No. 6 Funny Car. Hight picked up right where he left off after his Las Vegas win running 3.978 seconds in the first session and picking up a qualifying bonus point for the effort as the third quickest run of the session.

“That’s a good start. The last few races, we’ve come out of the box hitting it hard and running good. That sets the tone for the whole weekend. That’s a good job by Mike Neff and the whole crew. I’ll tell you what… it’s always nice to show off for the sponsor,” said Robert Hight, 36-time Funny Car winner.

As the sun went down over Auto Club Raceway track conditions improved dramatically and elapsed times dropped to near record levels. Hight stepped up on the performance side and finished the day in the No. 6 spot on the strength of his 3.965 second run beside teammate and boss John Force.

“That was another good run for this Auto Club Chevrolet. We aren’t running as low as some of the other cars but we are quick and consistent. We will have even better conditions tomorrow and we will try and step up. I am really proud of these guys and if you have some time come over to the Auto Club stage for some Nitro School,” said Hight.

John Force and the PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car struggled some on Friday but the 16-time winner at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona will head into Saturday as the No. 12 provisional qualifier.

Earlier in the day Force announced the expansion of his PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant sponsorship to a full major sponsorship starting in 2016. Force will race the blue PEAK Funny Car for all 23 NHRA national events next year and beyond.

“I have to thank everyone at PEAK and Old World Industries for stepping up and sponsoring me as well as my other race cars. This is an exciting day for John Force Racing and for me personally. This relationship started a couple of years ago and we have grown it through a great marketing partnership with Bryan Emrich and his marketing team,” said Force, the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion. “I feel like I am becoming the face of PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant and I want people to think about all these great products when they think of John Force and John Force Racing.”

Courtney Force made two passes today, both resulting in incomplete runs and ultimately putting the Traxxas team behind the eight ball for Saturday at the Auto Club Finals. The 27-year-old Funny Car pilot posted an 8.197 ET at 70.25 mph to kick off qualifying and followed up with a 7.833 ET at 78.26 mph and leaving the team in the No. 19 position.

“Today wasn’t a good day for our Traxxas team. We went out there and had a weak shake during the first run. The second round we went up in tire shake again. We keep pushing this car, but it’s not reacting how we want it to. We’re going back and looking at some data from Vegas when we had it running good and we’ll try to get it fixed back up and sorted out before our two passes tomorrow,” said Force.

The NHRA allows the top 12 cars at the day’s end on Friday to keep their qualified times. If you aren’t in the top 12, your team starts over with a blank slate on Saturday and has to race into the field. There are 20 Funny Cars vying for a position this weekend at Pomona.

“We have two more passes to get in the field. There are a lot of cars here, but we feel confident that we can get this car set up like it was at the last race. Our runs tomorrow will be in the same type of conditions as today so we’re looking forward to tomorrow,” said Force.

The Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster and Brittany Force were very aggressive today and will go into tomorrow as the No. 11 Top Fuel dragster. In the first session Force powered her 10,000 hp dragster to a 4.015 second run at 228.19 mph. In the second session the Monster Energy dragster overpowered the race track and lost traction at half-track.

“We wound up No. 11 and we’ll carry that time over to Saturday. We have two more chances to step up and I think this Monster Energy team will do that on Saturday. We just missed it today and the conditions were really good. I have a lot of confidence in (crew chiefs) Todd Smith and Ronnie Thompson so we’ll get after it on Saturday,” said Force.