POMONA, CA – Tomorrow the 2015 NHRA season will conclude and there is unfinished business for John Force Racing as Robert Hight and the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro will be looking for their second consecutive Funny Car win while Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster will be looking to close out her third season with her first win.
The way the qualifying ladder came together three JFR Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Cars could reach the semi-finals and both Hight and 16-time Funny Car champion John Force could have races with championship implications in the second round. Force will face Cruz Pedregon for the 100th time in his legendary career in the first round to start his race day at the 51st annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.
For Force a 16-time winner at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona the first round match-up will pit two of the toughest competitors to every sit in a Funny Car against one another. Force has a 67-32 career record against the two-time Funny Car champion. During qualifying today Force posted a solid 3.990 second run which secured the No. 10 qualifying position for the 143-time Funny Car national event winner.
“Cruz and I have been battling for a lot of years and tomorrow first round will be a good race. I’ll have my hot rod ready and I’ll be ready for ol Cruz. I am excited to be racing thie PEAK Chevy and we have a multi-year deal. I love racing here at the Auto Club race track. They have been a great sponsor and we want to get another win for them,” said Force.
Robert Hight and the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car will race veteran Tim Wilkerson in the first round. Hight made three runs in the 3.9 second range in qualifying including a 3.945 second run in the first session of Saturday that was the third quickest of the session.
In the last qualifying session under the lights Hight overpowered the track and his team will go into race day knowing how hard is too hard to push his 10,000 hp Funny Car.
“The conditions tonight were great. We were pretty aggressive and it was just a little too aggressive,” said Hight. “We will set it up to be aggressive again tomorrow because conditions should be just as good. We made another great run in the first session so we have a good handle on this Auto Cub Chevrolet Camaro.”
This year Hight is 2-0 versus Wilkerson with wins at the season opening Winternationals in first round and a semi-final win on his way to victory the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd. Hight is 2-1 versus Wilkerson at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Courtney Force qualified in the No. 9 spot today and will start her 95th career Funny Car race tomorrow at the Auto Club Finals. Force will face off with Alexis DeJoria, who qualified in the No. 8 position.
“We qualified for the last show of the season so we’re happy. We’re excited to be racing here at my home track for the Auto Club Finals. It’s great to be here, but it’s crazy to think that we’re wrapping up our season. We laid down a stout run today in the heat of the day to get us in the show. It put us in the No. 9 spot, which really shows there is a lot of competition out here and these cars are really flying. We’re going to have to step it up if we want a shot at the Winner’s Circle. I have a lot of faith in my Traxxas team going into tomorrow,” said Force.
Force and DeJoria are 7-6 in previous events. They have met in the first round eleven times including tomorrow. They have raced each other five times already this season, but this is the first time they have raced at Pomona. Their last meeting was the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis this year which ended in Force taking the round win.
“We had a problem with the idler in Q4 so they made the call that it was the best decision to shut the car off. We’re in the show; we’re staying positive. We found the problem and we have it fixed for tomorrow,” said Force.
The Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster and Brittany Force will go into race day as the No. 12 qualifier. She will face Richie Crampton who she is battling for a top finish in the points. Currently Force sits in the No. 5 position just 27 points behind Crampton. Force could realistically move up as high as third in the point standings with a strong finish tomorrow.
“We want to finish the season strong and get that first win. I know my team has been working so hard and I love racing at Auto Club Raceway. This is my home track and would be a great place to get my first win. We struggled a little in qualifying but I have a lot of confidence in my crew chiefs Todd Smith and Ronnie Thompson,” said Force, a two-time finalist this season.
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JOHN FORCE, 66, PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 10th at 3.990 seconds, 321.73 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
First round opponent (W-L): Cruz Pedregon (67-32)
ROBERT HIGHT, 46, Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 6th at 3.945 seconds, 324.20 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +2 (3rd quickest of Q1 and Q3)
First round opponent (W-L): Tim Wilkerson (18-15)
COURTNEY FORCE, 27, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 9th at 3.988 seconds, 323.12 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
First round opponent (W-L): Alexis DeJoria (7-6)
BRITTANY FORCE, 29, Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster
Final Qualifying: 12th at 3.794 seconds, 320.97 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
First round opponent (W-L): Richie Crampton (4-5)