Final round results from Sunday’s 31st annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, second race in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
FUNNY CAR –Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., MOPAR Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T, 3.975, 324.83 mph, def. Del Worsham, Villa Park, Calif., DHL Toyota, 4.010, 318.17 mph.
TOP FUEL – Tony Schumacher, Austin, Tex., US Army dragster, 3.720, 326.56 mph def. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster, 3.758, 325.14 mph.
PRO STOCK – Rodger Brogdon, Tomball, Tex., Rooftec Chevrolet Camaro, 6.560, 211.49 mph def. Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, La., Elite Racing Chevrolet Camaro , 6.640, 205.51 mph
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HIGHT RACES TO BACK TO BACK SEMI-FINALS
CHANDLER, AZ ---- The Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car and driver Robert Hight raced to their second consecutive semi-final finish of 2015 today at the 31st annual CARQUEST NHRA Nationals outside of Phoenix. Hight narrowly missed his first final round of the season dropping the semi-final race to veteran Del Worsham by .004 of a second after Hight grabbed a huge starting line reaction time advantage. Hight’s reaction time combined with his elapsed time of 4.050 second to Worsham’s quicker 4.010 was almost enough to get him the win.
“There was a little bobble early in the run. There was just a little bit of shake and I almost lifted. I moved over just a little and I think that movement was just enough to keep us from getting around Del’s run. We will be ready for Gainesville in two weeks. We are going to test tomorrow and I am ready to get back on the track,” said Hight.
Hight did move up to No. 3 in the Mello Yello Funny Car point standings after two races. He will be the defending event champion at the Gatornationals.
In the opening round Hight had to race teammate and team owner John Force. Both Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Cars left the starting line aggressively and they both lost traction with Hight regaining control before Force to get the win. After the race Force, the 16-time Funny Car champion, was positive about the eventual outcome of an all JFR first round.
“I try and look at the positive when you have to race a teammate. It means for sure one of our Chevrolets is going to the next round. It is hard because I want to win for my sponsors,” said Force, driver of the Peak Antifreeze Chevy Camaro SS. “It is especially hard when I have to race one of my daughters because you are still a father. Racing Robert is tough because you know he has the gut ache just like me. We went up there and raced hard. We talked this morning because you can’t get made at someone for just one day or one round. It doesn’t work like that.”
Courtney Force entered race day in the No. 2 spot; her best qualifying position ever at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The 2012 NHRA Rookie of the Year went up against Shane Westerfield in the opening round and got an automatic win light when the rookie racer left before the tree was activated. Still, Force posted a 4.02 and made the quickest pass in the entire first session of Funny Car.
“We were qualified No. 2 this weekend. We came out here this weekend and had a great qualifying effort. We did a lot better than we have in the past and I think that was our ultimate goal coming into Phoenix. It feels great to be able to take away the fact that we could lay down a 3.99 on this race track. Going into race day against Shane Westerfield we were able to take home the win and lay down a pretty stout 4.02 and go into the next round with lane choice,” said Force.
The 26-year-old matched up against her teammate Robert Hight in the second round. Force lost on a minor hole-shot to the veteran driver, running a 4.057 ET to Hight’s 4.069 ET.
“We had to face our teammate Robert Hight in the second round and unfortunately our Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS didn’t get the win. We had two close side by side runs, but Robert left the line just a little bit quicker than I did so unfortunately for my team we weren’t able to get a win this weekend,” said Force.
Despite not getting a win this weekend or getting past her teammate, Force picked up a total of five bonus points to put her ahead of the game for the start of the season.
“I’ve got to stay positive and look forward to the Gatornationals because we are taking away from this race the fact that we’ve got a great race car. I’ve just got to keep practicing, learning with each run and keep my head high going into the next race,” said Force.
The JFR Top Fuel dragster once again proved that No. 10 qualifying position was not an insurmountable obstacle to success. Brittany Force outran Steve Torrence for the second year in a row at the CARQUEST Nationals this time in the first round. Last year Force took out Torrence on the way to her first final round appearance.
Today Force’s Todd Smith and Ronnie Thompson tuned Top Fuel dragster posted a solid 3.822 second run at 323.19 mph as Torrence went up in smoke beside her. In the second round Force raced another familiar competitor, Mac Tools backed Doug Kalitta. The race was close all the way down track until Kalitta pulled away with a 3.770 second elapsed time to Force’s 3.799 second pass.
“I am pumped and ready to get to the next race. I am proud of my entire team. We had two pretty good runs today and got to the second round. We stepped it up in the second round so that was nice to see that performance improvement on race day. Going into Gainesville we will start all over again. Our plan will be to make some good runs and get a good qualifying spot,” said Force.
“Even going into my third season seat time is so important. I have been out of the seat for a while so now that we are getting the season started I am getting back in the groove. It takes a little while until you are 100% comfortable in the seat.”
For her efforts today Brittany Force held onto her spot in the Top Ten in the Mello Yello points.
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MELLO YELLO POINT STANDINGS
FUNNY CAR – 1. Matt Hagan, 231; 2. Del Worsham, 173; 3. Robert Hight, Auto Club Chevrolet Caamro SS, 145; 4. Ron Capps, 129; 5. Courtney Force, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS, 123; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr, 118; 7. Alexis DeJoria, 110; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 87; 9T. John Hale, 82; 9T. Chad Head, 82; 11. John Force, Peak Antifreeze Chevrolet Camaro SS, 73
TOP FUEL – 1. Shawn Langdon, 200; 2. Antron Brown, 167; 3. Tony Schumacher, 165; 4. Doug Kalitta, 155; 5. Spencer Massey, 130; 6. Richie Crampton, 115; 7. Larry Dixon, 106; 8T. Steve Torrence, 88; 8T. JR Todd, 88; 10. Brittany Force, JFR Next Generation dragster, 85
PRO STOCK – 1. Roger Brogdon, 205; 2. Erica Enders Stevens, 184; 3. Jason Line, 178; 4. Drew Skillman, 177; 5. Chris McGaha, 130; 6. Shane Gray, 108; 7. Allen Johnson, 107; 8. Larry Morgan, 89; 9T. Greg Anderson, 86; 9T. Vincent Nobile, 66
JOHN FORCE, 65, Peak Antifreeze Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 7th at 4.025 seconds, 313.15 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
Race results: Lost to Robert Hight.
ROBERT HIGHT, 45, Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 10th at 4.038 seconds, 296.70 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
Race results: Beat John Force, Courtney Force; Lost to Del Worsham
COURTNEY FORCE, 26, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 2nd at 3.996 seconds, 321.58 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +5 (Quickest of Q2 and 2nd quickest of Q3)
Race results: Beat Shane Westerfield; Lost to Robert Hight
BRITTANY FORCE, 28, JFR Next Generation Top Fuel Dragster
Final Qualifying: 10th at 3.792 seconds, 323.81 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
Race results: Beat Steve Torrence; Lost to Doug Kalitta.