CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS
TEXAS MOTORPLEX AT ENNIS, TEXAS
QUALIFYING RESULTS AND DRIVER QUOTES
SATURDAY, OCT. 15, 2016
Chevrolet Drivers Race to No. 1 qualifier spots in Funny Car, Pro Stock
· Robert Hight in Auto Club Chevy records 49th top qualifier honor of career
· John Force Racing driver resets racetrack elapsed time record
· Jason Line tops Pro Stock qualifiers for seventh time this season
· Chevrolet competitors take top six spots in Pro Stock qualifications
ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 15, 2016) – With a lot on the line in the fourth round of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, two Chevrolet Racing drivers set the standard in Funny Car and Pro Stock qualifications..
Robert Hight reset the Texas Motorplex elapsed time record with a pass of 3.839 seconds – the third-quickest in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Funny Car history – at an eye-popping 332.02 mph in the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS to claim the No. 1 qualifier spot for the 31st AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.
The 2009 Funny Car champion, who entered the fourth of six Countdown races in eighth place, picked up important bonus points heading into eliminations Sunday as he seeks his 38th victory. It was the 49th top qualifier honor for Hight, who has garnered at least one every season since entering the division in 2005.
“It was great. We went to St. Louis and made a bunch of changes to our car and ran really well,” said Hight, who earned the top qualifier spot last month at Gateway Motorsports Park. “We didn’t get the win and we had crazy conditions in Reading. To come right back here and pick up where we left off in St. Louis and running this good shows my AAA Texas team is on the right track. All we can do is go out and try and win these last three races and see what happens.”
Pro Stock points leader Jason Line, an eight-time winner this season in the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS, recorded his seventh No.1 qualifier honor of the season (first since Bristol in June) and 48th of his career with a pass of 6.568 seconds at 210.34 mph.
KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS), who is second in the standings, qualified No. 2 at 3.579 seconds. The top six spots through the four rounds of qualifications were filled by Chevrolet drivers. Second-year Pro Stock driver Alex Laughlin (Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet Camaro SS) was third, followed by Shane Gay (Valvoline/Nova Services Chevrolet Camaro SS), Bo Butner (Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro SS), and Reading winner Vincent Nobile (Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro SS).
Texan Chris McGaha (Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevrolet Camaro SS) and Drew Skillman (Ray Skillman Auto Chevrolet Camaro SS) – both of whom also are Countdown competitors – qualified eighth and ninth, respectively.
Hight’s John Force Racing Funny Car teammates also had impressive runs. Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS) qualified fifth with a career-best pass of 3.854 seconds and John Force (Advance Auto Parts PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS) qualified eighth at 3.867 seconds. He is a seven-time winner at Texas Motorplex.
In Top Fuel, Brittany Force qualified fifth in the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster. Force, who has advanced to the final round twice in the past five events – winning at Brainerd and falling at Reading – had a best run of 3.727 seconds and 323.89 mph.
FOX Sports 1 will telecast three hours of live eliminations and finals at 2 p.m. ET Sunday.
CHEVROLET RACING POST-QUALIFYING DRIVER QUOTES
An interview with Funny Car No. 1 qualifier ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB CHEVROLET CAMARO SS:
Q: SEEMS LIKE THINGS ARE HITTING STRIDE?
ROBERT HIGHT: “Definitely. Starting at St. Loui, we’ve turned things around. We were real good there, too. Reading had some weird conditions and we just didn’t get caught up there, but to come out here to Texas – my sponsor’s race – and make four runs in the 3.80s in a Funny Car, that’s showing that we’ve got it going on. They have a good handle on it, they’re confident with it, my teammates are running 3.80s, and we’re right at the top. It’s exciting to have a qualifying like that, but tomorrow is a new day. What we’ve been having problems with is sealing the deal on Sunday. First round we usually do pretty well, and there have been a lot of second-round losses. It’s going to be a tough match tomorrow. It’s going to take the kind of runs we did in qualifying to win this race tomorrow. I believe my team is on to something. I want to win one of those cowboy hats.”
Q: TALK ABOUT THE CONSISTENCY OF YOUR CAR
ROBERT HIGHT: “I believe we got the most out of every run. To come out and run the third-best time in history, that wasn’t a slouch. It was a great run. And to come out here today and back it off just enough and make good runs shows that you have to make a good run on Friday night so you’re not faced with having to improve on Saturday. It’s a whole new game of racing than it was 10 years ago. It used to back it off, go out there and make a run and you’d still have lane choice second round. Not anymore. You have to push and be aggressive every single run or you’re going to be picked off.”
An interview with Pro Stock No. 1 qualifier JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS:
Q: IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET THOSE QUALIFYING BONUS POINTS?
JASON LINE: “We didn’t have a great point day today, but for the weekend we have. No complaints. If you’re not happy being No. 1, you’ll never be happy.”
Q: YOU MADE A GOOD FIRST RUN. CONSIDERING THE CONDITIONS TOMORROW WILL BE SIMILAR, ARE YOU PLEASED HEADING INTO SUNDAY?
JASON LINE: “Yes, I think so. We used the two runs today as a tune-up for tomorrow. Everybody is close and it just comes down to making the best decisions; it’s like a big chess match. I think we used all three cars (Greg Anderson and Bo Butner) wisely today and learned some things, so hopefully all three cars will be ready for tomorrow.”
Q: YOU HADN’T QUALIFIED NO. 1 SINCE BRISTOL. IS IT NICE TO GET BACK TO NO. 1?
JASON LINE: “I didn’t realize it was that long. It’s really good.”
BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (qualified fifth): “I am feeling good about first round. This far in the game you have to feel good. We have to see win lights if we want to end up in the winner’s circle. We are No. 3 in the points and No. 1 isn’t out of reach and that is what we are going for. We are paired up with Terry McMillen and we have made some god runs this weekend but we will need more tomorrow.”
COURTNERY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, TRAXXAS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified fifth): “I think we have had a pretty fast race car this weekend. This Traxxas Chevy Camaro has been flying down the track. I am proud of these great numbers we are putting up on the scoreboard. Running in the 3.8s consistently is really a big deal out here in the heat. I am looking to sweep the state of Texas and this is a make or break time for this Traxxas Funny Car. My team has been working hard all weekend. They have done a great job with this car and I have a lot of confidence going into the race day tomorrow. We have a tough competitor going up against Cruz Pedregon. If we can keep running like we have been this weekend I think we will be in good shape. I want to get this breast cancer awareness Traxxas Funny Car in the winner’s circle.”
JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO ZONE PEAK CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified eighth): ““She’s (first-round opponent Alexa DeJoria) a good racer with a great team over there. Bottom line is we ran 3.86 and we are starting to turn the corner like I have been saying. We are eighth and I am amazed. We have lance choice. Courtney and Robert ran better than me but these Chevrolet bodies are working. Robert running so low that was big for us to show we can run with anyone. We have some work to do but we still have a shot at this title.”
GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified second): “We did a much better job (in qualifying). The last couple of weeks we’ve struggling getting ourselves positioned correctly on the ladder and we got it done this time. We set the table perfectly and now it’s up to us to get the job done tomorrow and put both Summit Chevys in the final round. That’s the goal. We’ll have to come out and race real hard and real smart. It’s a great racetrack and we’ve made great qualifying runs, so I don’t see any reason why we can’t come out tomorrow and challenge for the win.”
SHANE GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, VALVOLINE/NOVA SERVICES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified fourth): “The car hooked up and stayed glued to the track and I knew by the time I shifted into high gear that we were on a good run. When we analyzed (Friday’s) better pass, the 6.61, we knew we had a lot of room to improve so the guys went to work and made it happen. I credit Dave (Connolly, crew chief) a lot. It’s hard to stay committed to your tune-up calls when you see the track temperatures creeping up there and you watch half the cars in front of you spin their tires. But he made the perfect call for the conditions and now we’re in a much better place heading into race day.”
BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER AUTO, BUTNER AUTO SALES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified fifth): “It was a good run and we have the car running good. We gained some qualifying points as well. We’ll see how it works out on Sunday. We’ll be ready.”
CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified eighth): “We always want to run better but to be honest, we didn’t run bad. Our Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro is running as best as it can in the heat and we’re gonna change the motors tonight. We want to do well so we’re putting in our winningest motor in for battle tomorrow.”
DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN RACING, RAY SKILLMAN AUTO CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified ninth): “The car is getting a little better and hopefully we’ll be on track on race day. We tested this week. We made 11 runs in two days. We just struggled down low (at starting line).”