Successful Nitro Spring Training complete,
John Force Racing ready for 2017 season
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 4) – John Force Racing completed a successful preseason test session Saturday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, with Courtney Force leading the way in Funny Car with her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS, and her sister, Brittany Force, the third-quickest Top Fuel dragster driver in her Monster Energy car.
But JFR as a whole was exceptionally quick at NHRA Nitro Spring Training. PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car driver John Force was No. 3 on the speed chart, while Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car driver Robert Hight was No. 4.
Brittany Force made several runs in the 3.7-second bracket, showing consistency with her team led by crew chief Brian Husen and tuning consultant Alan Johnson.
“After three days and 10 runs, our Monster Energy team is ready to go out to Pomona and start our season,” Brittany Force said. “We had a great test this weekend. Our best (run) was a 3.69, and we ran some 3.70s.
“Our crew chiefs are all really happy,” she continued. “The team’s meshing well together. A lot of guys switched roles on the car. Everything is looking good, I’m feeling good in the car, and anxious and excited to be headed to Pomona next weekend.”
The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season kicks off next week with the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, and all four JFR drivers are excited for the start of the season.
JFR underwent some changes in the offseason, as crew chief Jimmy Prock and co-crew chief Chris Cunningham joined John Force’s team, with co-crew chiefs Jon Schaeffer and Jason McCullough moving Hight’s team with crew chief Mike Neff.
Crew chief Daniel Hood and co-crew chief Ronnie Thompson remained with Courtney Force.
“Daniel Hood and Ronnie Thompson are doing a great job,” John Force said. “You’ve got to look at the brain trust: Mike Neff, Jimmy Prock, everybody kind of teams together to come up with something. And we’ve got to learn how to race on race day.
“Life’s good. We put the band back together, and we’ll see where the band goes.”
John Force’s best pass 3.856 seconds at 324.83 mph as Prock and Cunningham worked to dial in the PEAK Chevy.
“Prock and Cunningham led the charge there with the .85,” Force said. “We’ve got a new chassis and got some new things that we’re trying to see how it’s going. Courtney kind of shocked everybody with that .80-flat, but she ran .84 earlier, and she’s been going down the track well every run.”
Courtney Force did have a stellar test, as she actually posted the three quickest elapsed times overall. In addition to a 3.804-second run Friday – which was under the national ET record – she posted two identical passes of 3.847 seconds.
“We’re coming off a great test heading into Pomona,” Courtney Force said. “We had two 3.84s and the 3.80, so we’re really looking forward to going to Pomona and kicking off the 2017 NHRA season. We’ve won the Winternationals before, so we’re hoping to go out there and do it again.”
Hight best pass was 3.859 seconds at 330.63 mph, which was recorded early in the test as his team experimented with tuneups the remainder of the week.
“We started off really well,” Hight said. “We basically started with what we finished last year off with. But there’s no sense in coming to testing if you’re not going to try new things. We didn’t even need to come to testing, and could have gone to the Winternationals and qualified with what we had at the end of last year.
“Once we started putting things in and trying things – a lot of it didn’t go well, but we learned things. Even sometimes when things don’t go well with new parts and new theories, you still learn and you get better, so that’s where we’re at. We made some good runs, but more than likely we’re going to go back to a known setup for Pomona.
“Our goal is to go out and qualify in the top four,” Hight concluded. “But we did learn some things that we need to continue to work on in the future.”