PALM BEACH, FL (January 21, 2012) --- Robert Hight ended the two day PRO Winter Warm-Up with a thundering, 4.034 seconds at 316.67 mph run, which was the quickest and fastest Funny Car run of testing. Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang were also the quickest Funny Car in the first session posting a 4.071 second run at 315.49 mph.
“I know we have at least one more day, but I’m hoping maybe two more days that we can play around. We’re really learning a lot. We’ve got Ron Armstrong here helping us; kind of a new addition to our brain trust and when you’re not tuning a car, you look at things a little differently. He really looked at some things and brought them to Jimmy’s (Prock, Crew Chief) attention and man, it’s fixed this thing, so along with some of the new things that we haven’t run yet, I’m excited,” said Robert Hight. “And no matter what anybody out here tells you, you know, this is still a race. Okay, yeah, there isn’t a trophy and there’s no money, but you still want to beat those guys. Right now pretty much everybody’s done testing and we’re leaving here with low ET (elapsed time, at 4.034) and top speed (316.67 mph) and that goes along way for our confidence moving into Pomona.”
The PRO Winter Warm-Up got off to an exciting start with John Force squaring off with his youngest daughter Courtney Force for the first time. The standing room only crowd at Palm Beach International Raceway was eager to see one of the future stars of the sports race the winningest driver in history. They were not disappointed as both Force’s launched hard but smoked the tires. In a dramatic pedalfest the elder Force got to the finish line first as both Ford Mustangs were on and off the throttle going down the track.
“That was pretty exciting, getting ready to race side by side with her and watching her learn. I was learning too. Her Traxxas Mustang Funny Car and my car, we’re both struggling. We have complete new combinations and some new crew players, but we’ll work it out,” said John Force. “She got some night racing in, more of it, more side by side and that’s experience that she needs. We’re going to keep testing here for the next couple of days. We may even go to Vegas with one or two cars if we don’t get these straightened out.
“Mike Neff and Robert Hight- they were flying. Robert won last night for Auto Club- with an .05 (4.056 ET) and an .03 (4.034 ET) tonight so can’t complain about that.”
“For our sponsors, Castrol, Ford Racing, Mac Tools, BrandSource, Auto Club, and Traxxas, the fans were loving the show tonight. This was quite a show that Pro put on at Palm Beach International Raceway. They (the track) packed them in here. I’m excited about it and I have no complaints. We’ll figure it out and we’ll get ready to take these guys on in Pomona.”
Courtney raced Jack Beckman in the second round of the Winter Warm-Ups without incident as Beckman cruised to the finish line with a 4.096 second run at 305.70 mph while Courtney once again got valuable experience handling some tire smoke early in her run.
Championship contender Mike Neff and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang took advantage of the hot and cool temperatures today to test a number of different parts and combinations. The driver and tuner gained valuable information that he believes will give his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang the consistency it needs to contend for the championship.
All four JFR Ford Mustangs will continue to test tomorrow and Monday as they prepare for the 52nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, February 9-12, 2012 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
PRO WINTER WARM-UP RESULTS
Palm Beach International Raceway
Saturday Night's Results
SATURDAY NIGHT’S FIRST SESSION
Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang 7.836 sec., 94.84 mph
W-John Force, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang 6.876 sec., 97.13 mph
Johnny Gray, Service Central Dodge Charger R/T 9.471 sec., 73.94 mph
W-Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Ford Mustang 4.174 sec., 271.46 mph
W-Jeff Arend, DHL Toyota 4.180 sec., 286.19 mph
Robert Tasca III, Quick Lane Shelby Ford Mustang 7.560 sec., 79.57 mph
W-Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T 4.092 sec., 308.92 mph
Mike Neff, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang 9.860 sec., 71.88 mph
W-Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang 4.071 sec., 315.49 mph
Cruz Pedregon, Snap-On Toyota 4.096 sec., 310.05 mph
Jack Beckman, Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T 9.248 sec., 83.07 mph
W-Matt Hagan, Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T 4.123 sec., 307.23 mph
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
Hillary Will (solo), Dote Racing dragster 4.217 sec., 231.75 mph
Clay Millican (solo), Parts Plus dragster 4.538 sec., 174.93 mph
Terry McMillian, Amalie Oil/UNOH dragster 3.938 sec., 269.89 mph
Bob Vandergriff Jr., C&J Energy Services dragster 3.830 sec., 322.58 mph
Dave Grubnic, Optima Batteries dragster 3.824 sec., 320.20 mph
W-Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster 3.800 sec., 322.96 mph
Antron Brown, Matco Tools/Aaron’s dragster 3.821 sec., 317.72 mph
W-Spencer Massey, FRAM dragster 3.818 sec., 322.27 mph
SATURAY’S SECOND SESSION
W-Johnny Gray, Service Central Dodge Charger R/T 4.085 sec., 311.99 mph
Mike Neff, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang 9.601 sec., 75.21 mph
W-Jack Beckman, Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T 4.096 sec., 305.70 mph
Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang 11.705 sec., 40.16 mph
John Force, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang 4.213 sec., 297.88 mph
W - Bob Tasca III, Quick Lane Shelby Ford Mustang 4.098 sec., 308.64 mph
W-Cruz Pedregon, Snap-On Toyota 8.126 sec., 83.75 mph
Jeff Arend, DHL Toyota 11.307 sec., 74.56 mph
W-Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang 4.034 sec., 316.67 mph
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T 4.242 sec., 308.92 mph
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
Clay Millican, Parts Plus dragster 4.538 sec., 172.54 mph
Hillary Will, Dote Family dragster 4.063 sec., 275.11 mph
Terry McMillian, Amalie Oil/UNOH dragster 3.931 sec., 304.19 mph
W-Bob Vandergriff Jr., C&J Energy Services 3.871 sec., 311.41 mph
W-Dave Grubnic, Optima Batteries dragster 3.789 sec., 322.96 mph
Antron Brown, Matco Tools/Aaron’s dragster 9.273 sec., 7.78 mph
W-Spencer Massey, FRAM dragster 3.792 sec., 309.84 mph
Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster 9.495 sec., 79.56 mph
Photo credit for John and Courtney Force photo to Ron Lewis Photography.
Photo credit for Robert Hight photo to Gary Nastase Photography