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May 24, 2014 - 07:26 AM
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2014 NHRA: Forces Rule Shortened Friday Topeka Qualifying
Posted by: newsla on May 24, 2014 - 07:26 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Forces Rule Shortened Friday Topeka Qualifying


After struggling during last weekend’s NHRA Southern Nationals, John Force’s Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang has done a complete 180 and rocketed to the number one spot during the first qualifying session here at the NHRA Kansas Nationals. Force’s Funny Car scorched the pavement at Heartland Park Topeka with a 4.021 second run at 318.24 mph and set both ends of the track record. "I’m glad we got one run today. We’ve struggled this year since Pomona, the car is just not consistent and (crew chief) Jimmy Prock and team is working really hard on but it seems that at the last three races, we only got one good qualifying run in but we would make the show. Today it looks like Jimmy got a handle on it," said John Force, a nine time winner at the Kansas Nationals. After dealing mechanical issues and a first round loss earlier this week in Atlanta, the 16-time NHRA Mello Yello World Champion can finally breathe a little and not feel his back is up against the wall during this Saturday’s final qualifying session.

 

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"That 4.02 pass is good for us, as we’d been struggling during qualifying during Atlanta last week. Jimmy Prock swings for the fence but car has not been there for us. We had a malfunction last week in Atlanta and the guys found out what was wrong and fixed it," said Force.

Force’s 8000 horsepower Funny Car has seen some consistency and mechanical issues during the last few races but crew chief Jimmy Prock and crew quickly addressed them before the first run today. For their hard work, Force and the Castrol GTX High Mileage team picked up three NHRA Mello Yello Bonus Points for qualifying number one on the first session.

Force knows the key for another victory is having a fast yet consistent Funny Car. With crew chief Jimmy Prock’s tuned up, the Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang is making a lot of power but it also needs to get down the track and learn the strategy of the power curve of the BOSS 500 engine. "We had a good race track and good conditions today. The car went right down the groove and I’m happy with that. I surround myself with good people and I have a good hot rod right now so let’s if we can do it tomorrow," said John Force.

Rain showers forced the cancellation of the second Pro qualifying session. There will be two more qualifying runs tomorrow and John Force will be looking to hang on to his number one spot going into Sunday’s final eliminations.

Robert Hight was beside Force in the last pair of Funny Cars in the first and only qualifying session. Mike Neff set the Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car to make a strong clean run down the Heartland Park Topeka track. As the scoreboard lit up with a 4.091 at 312.86 mph Neff calmly walked away from the starting line knowing he had a good handle on a workable tune-up. "You have to have a strategy and we wanted to run 4.08 to 4.09 and then get a little more aggressive in the second session. The main thing is we wanted to get in the show since there was weather around the track," said crew chief Mike Neff.

For Hight who is riding a six race final round streak and a three race win streak getting a good run right off the hauler was a good momentum boost.

"We have run well here and we want to keep running well. You never know how many qualifying runs you are going to get when the weather is as unpredictable as it is here this weekend. We did just what we wanted to and we will see what we can get done tomorrow," said Hight, a two-time Kansas Nationals winner.

Before Force and Hight took to the track last weekend’s runner-up Courtney Force made a strong run in the Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car. Force was qualifying beside Jack Beckman and the third year driver outpaced the 2012 Funny Car champion with a 4.078 second run to his 4.095 second run. After the session a few sportsmen racers were able to continue running before the rain moved in and ended the day of qualifying.

"It feels good to go out there and start our weekend off with a good run. We were coming off a good run in Atlanta in the final and to get this Traxxas Mustang down there on the first round out of the box was big. It is a good feeling to go to the provisional No. 2 spot. We had some rain come in so we are losing out on a second run but I think we are in a good position. That is a good place to be heading into the race and we will just see what happens tomorrow," said Courtney Force.

Brittany Force showed her fellow Top Fuel competitors that she means business as her Castrol EDGE Dragster ran a strong 3.824 second pass at 321.88 mph during the opening qualifying session at the NHRA Kansas Nationals. She is solidly in the field and currently in the number six spot "Right now my focus is one thing, making sure I do my job as a driver and going after a win. I’ve made it to a final but have never taken home a Top Fuel Wally," said Brittany Force.

The 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year is in her sophomore season driving the intense 10,000 horsepower Castrol EDGE Dragster but a redesigned chassis that with make the care more consistent along with some new crew members has revitalized the team and they’re poised for their first win.

"I have a strong team standing behind me that I am so thankful for. My crew chiefs and crew guys have put they’re heart into this dragster and I know they want a win as badly as I do. I’m proud of the entire team and I know our win is right around the corner, hopefully this weekend here in Topeka," said Brittany Force.

We today’s second qualifying run cut short due to rain, Force is very happy that her dragster ran a stout 3.82 second pass right off the trailer. She can go into Saturday’s sessions with even more confidence knowing her team is heading in the right direction. "I was proud of that first run. We are solidly in the show and looking forward to making two more good runs tomorrow," said Brittany Force.

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