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May 29, 2014 - 01:06 PM
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2014 NHRA: John Force Racing Ready To Take On Englishtown
Posted by: newsla on May 29, 2014 - 01:04 PM
2014 NHRA: John Force Racing Ready To Take On Englishtown

In every sport there are venues or stadiums that need to superlatives. They are the fields and courts where history oozes out of the walls and rafters. Fenway. The Garden. Lambeau Field. For the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Old Bridge Township Raceway Park is the gold standard. One of the longest standing NHRA national events and it location on the East Coast make winning the Toyota Summernationals a "Major" win for any professional drag racer.


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"I have won Indy a couple times, I have won Gainesville a couple of times, and I even have a Mello Yello Championship but I don’t have that win at Raceway Park. That is something I want to do before I am done. My crew chief Mike Neff has won here as a driver so I feel really good coming into the race this weekend," said Hight who is the current Funny Car points leader.

Hight and the Auto Club Ford team had a six final rounds in a row streak snapped last weekend in Topeka, Kansas. During that streak Hight picked up four wins and was looking for his fourth in a row at the Kansas Nationals. It was a tough loss but did not take away from the team’s hot start. "I have a great race car. When you race guys like Cruz Pedregon no matter where they are qualified you have to dig deep. Trust me I will be digging deep against every driver this weekend to get a win. We are not satisfied with four wins. We want to get every win and be the quickest car every session," said Hight.

The Auto Club Ford Mustang has been the picture of consistency. He had one of the most consistent race cars in qualifying at the Kansas Nationals running 4.091, 4.040 and 4.055 seconds and in the first round Hight posted another solid 4.073 second run. Going back to the final three rounds of Atlanta where the Auto Club Ford Mustang got its 33rd win running 4.053, 4.074 and 4.049 it has averaged 4.053 seconds on it last seven runs down the track.

The racing surface and conditions at Raceway Park could also lead to historically quick times. While Hight and Neff have been solid in qualifying they have been nearly unstoppable on race day. Since Hight has teamed up with Neff before the Denver race last season they have had the quickest car on race day seven times. They have only been outside of being one of the three quickest cars on race day three times. They have also only dropped three first round race reaching at least the semi-finals over half of the time.

"Consistency and focus are really the keys to our success on the Auto Club team. I have a great group of guys working with Neff to put this Ford Mustang Funny Car together. Neff gives me a really high level of confidence and doesn’t put pressure on me. I think it really helps that he was a driver and won big-time races. I will continue to do my job and even step it up so we can get on another hot streak," added Hight.


16-Time Champ looking for 140th win at the NHRA Toyota Summernationals Once again, John Force got bit by mechanical gremlins last Sunday at the NHRA Kansas Nationals and he’s not happy. The 16-Time NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car Champion had looked strong during qualifying but it literally all went up in smoke in round one on race day. The Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang’s 8,000 horsepower B0SS 500 engine boiled the massive Goodyear slicks when John wacked the throttle.

However, that’s in the past and the team led by crew chief Jimmy Prock, have been working hard to eradicate these gremlins which have affected the operation of the clutch. They would like nothing more than to get John Force his 140th career victory and gain some valuable NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car points at this weekend’s NHRA Toyota Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey.

"We are struggling somewhat but I have a great brain trust with Jimmy Prock, Danny DeGennaro and the rest of the guys. We will get the issue fixed because if you’re not consistent on race day, you don’t go rounds. If you don’t go rounds, then you don’t win. Our sponsors like Castrol, Auto Club, Traxxas, Mac Tools, Peak and BrandSource pay us to win, that’s our job," said John Force. For John Force, it might tough as he’s been winless at the NHRA Summernationals for 15 long years. That’s the longest the Hall of Fame Funny Car driver has gone without a victory at any track on the NHRA Mello Yello Series. Surprisingly, John Force hasn’t reached the final round at the NHRA Summernationals since 2004.

At last year’s NHRA Summernationals, John Force only managed to qualify 10th with a 4.132 second run at 291.63 mph. In the opening round of eliminations, he defeated fellow teammate and son-in-law Robert Hight but lost to Del Worsham in the quarter-finals. Like daughter Brittany, coming back Englishtown also holds a special place in John Force’s heart. It was here back in John’s early days as an aspiring Funny Car driver that the track owner, Vinny Napp, booked John in for some match races.

"It’s always special to come back to Englishtown, because that’s where I got my start. I hadn’t even been east of Phoenix when Vinny Napp booked me into one of his Funny Car races for the first time. Once that happened, a couple other promoters gave me a shot and it just grew from there," said John Force. "

On Thursday, John Force along daughter Brittany will be the honorary guests of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Wayne, New Jersey. During this event, the medical staff will receive their first WT-960 TRAN-SIT® Car Transfer Simulator that will help patients reclaim their independence by providing them a convenient and safe method of regaining their basic driving skills within a controlled environment. "I remember my crash and the doctors and nurses that worked in putting this old man back together to race again. Anything we can do to help people who have been in accidents and are trying to learn to drive again is pretty cool," said John Force.

After winning his 16th NHRA Mello Yello world championship in 2013, John Force kicked off the 2014 NHRA tour with a commanding victory at the season opener NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Once again, crew chief Jimmy Prock showed the world he’s one of the best tuners when it comes to 8000 horsepower fire breathing nitro fueled V8 engines as the Castrol GTX Mustang broke both ends of the NHRA national record by going 3.966 seconds at 324.12 mph.

Following his NHRA Winternationals win, John Force has made a final-round appearance at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida and the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte this year. John knows his crew will make sure his trusty steed is tuned-up and ready for whatever conditions he will face during this weekend’s NHRA Summernationals.

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