CHANDLER, AZ (January 24, 2015) --- John Force Racing wrapped up the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with three Funny Cars in the top five and a top ten finisher in Top Fuel. As soon as the NHRA Awards Banquet was over the entire operation went to work to get better for 2015. After an off-season of hard work at the sprawling race team complex in Brownsburg, Indiana, the entire team saw success during a four day test session at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, site of the Carquest NHRA Nationals, February 20-22.
“We have a lot of talent here. We had a lot of change in our crews which was our biggest challenge. We are excited to have Lucas Oil on board. Naturally PEAK coming on board with my Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car is big. You look at our new Funny Car body we worked with the NHRA on to get it approved,” said John Force. “We didn’t think it would be any better or any worse. It is 15-17 pounds heavier now. My guys have already put me on a diet.”
“We have had killer conditions and the track has been great. They did a great job prepping it. Having PJ Harvey from PJ1 out here made a huge difference. You look at Mike Neff and Robert Hight’s Auto Club team and they were right on their game every day. Having (Crew chief) Jon Schaffer on my team has been great. Neff leads all my teams from the Top Fueler to the Funny Cars. All our teams are really gelling well. Todd Smith has done a great job with Ronnie Thompson coming over from Al Anabi,” added Force. “Ron Douglas and Dan Hood have a great handle on the Traxxas Funny Car. The proof now is to go to Pomona get qualified and to win would be the icing on the cake. It is a long run to make the Countdown. We have a lot of time to train these guys and we are going to start today with a tear down contest like I used to do in the old days.”
On Wednesday John Force Racing started testing by getting a solid baseline with their new Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Cars as in succession Robert Hight ran 4.058 and 4.098 seconds with planned early shut offs at the top end. Courtney Force closed out the day with as strong 4.021 second run at 320.97 mph.
“I am very excited. I think we are definitely getting off to a good start. We have a new paint scheme for this Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS and with all the new sponsors you want to start strong. I think all the JFR teams have a little boost of confidence that we need going into a new season. We made some pretty solid passes and for the most part we are getting this Camaro down there. It has been exciting to see the progress my team has made in a few days in Phoenix,” said Courtney Force.
The next day the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championship runner-up John Force started the second day of testing with a strong 3.985 second pass at 322.81 mph behind the wheel of his PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car.
Not to be outdone on Friday Robert Hight blasted down the WHP Motorsports Park track in 3.976 seconds at 323.43 mph in his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. The Top Fuel dragster team of John Force Racing also got into the act on Friday with an eye opening run as Brittany Force in the JFR Top Fuel dragster lit up the scoreboard with a 3.698 second pass at 321.88 mph.
Saturday was slated to be the last day of testing and all three JFR Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Cars came out strong under the early morning sun in the desert. Courtney Force and the Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car blasted into the threes with a 3.980 second run at 326.16 mph. Right after the 26 year-old reset the track ET record her father and 16-time Funny Car champion John Force lowered it even further with a 3.971 second run at 322.50 mph run. Robert Hight closed out his four day testing blitz with a 3.985 second run at 323.97 mph.
“This is the most successful test session we have ever had especially to start a season. I think a lot of it has to do with coming to Phoenix. The folks at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park have done a great job getting it ready for us. We had great conditions. I went six out of eight runs with very respectable runs. I am pleased with the overall effort,” said Robert Hight. “We had a chance on the last run to step up and maybe run quicker but Mike Neff made the decision to make a nice safe run and it still ran 3.98 seconds. It was the fastest speed I have ever run almost 324 mph. We wanted to end on a good note. I am proud of all the teams. We have four great teams.”
The last JFR vehicle down the track was Brittany Force who illuminated the scoreboard one last time with a 3.760 second run at 323.12 mph.
“Testing was definitely a challenge. Not just for the driver but for the whole team. I’ve been out of the seat and out of my routine for a few months so it takes some time. We have a new team and some new guys but I am excited. We jumped back into it and got off to a tough start but we got it turned around. Once we got it running it seemed to fly,” said Brittany Force. “We ran 3.80 with an early shut off and then we ran 3.69 in great conditions. Running in the 60s was awesome and I am excited and proud of that. That is something I have always wanted to do. We closed out testing with a 3.76 in the afternoon so I know we have a good set up to go to Pomona.”
Robert Hight, Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS, 4.058 seconds, clicked early
Hight, 4.098 seconds, clicked early
Courtney Force, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS, 4.021 seconds, 320.97 mph
John Force, PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS, 3.985 seconds, 322.81 mph
Hight, 3.976 seconds, 323.43 mph
Hight, 4.036 seconds, 315.56 mph
Hight, 4.014 seconds, 310.91 mph
C. Force, 4.032 seconds, 321.27 mph
Brittany Force, JFR Top Fuel, 3.698 seconds, 321.88 mph
J. Force, 4.001 seconds, 321.73 mph
C. Force, 3.980 seconds, 326.16 mph
J. Force, 3.971 seconds, 322.50 mph
Hight, 3.985 seconds, 323.97 mph
B. Force, 3.760 seconds, 323.12 mph