JOHN FORCE PROVISIONAL No. 1 AT MILE HIGH NATIONALS
DENVER, CO – John Force and his Blue Def Peak Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team ran to the top qualifying position resetting his own elapsed time record at Bandimere Speedway in the process tonight. In the final night time session Force blasted down the track in 4.015 seconds at 318.09 mph to open up qualifying at the 36th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
“We have good luck up here on the mountain. We know how to make power. We have done very well here. I ran the first 300 mph run before the dragsters here. We watched Courtney in the Traxxas Chevy run ahead of us and that hot rod if it would have gone it would have run in the threes,” said Force, in the media center. “I saw (crew chief Jon) Schaffer running for the box and he pulled her back. It ran 4.01 and that makes you feel good. I have a lot of new partners like Monster Energy. We are running the Blue Def car for Peak this weekend. It is good to be back here on this mountain. It is just qualifying but it was a great show for the fans and I love to hear them cheer. We know the game plan and we have a lot of work in front of us. Chevrolet is really taking good care of us. I couldn’t have had a better night. I don’t know what to say.”
In the final session Force had a rare error in staging that resulted in a little bit of a delayed start. Fortunately for the 16-time Funny Car champion his mistake in staging did not cost him a round win. As Force explained to the press it was a minor slip of his foot that nearly derailed his run.
“We are working on how the car responds on the starting line. A lot of drivers claim that I am slow when I stage and Tony (Pedregon) is my buddy so I didn’t want to mess him up. I tried to get in there quick and when I did my foot slipped to the bottom of the stirrup,” explained Force. “I raised my foot and I was a day late on reaction time but I got my foot up for leverage. I pounded it and boy she trucked on down there. Driver error there but it is qualifying and not race day. I’ll remember on race day.”
Force picked up four qualifying bonus points today for posting the third quickest run of the first session and the quickest run of the second session.
The Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car stepped up in the second session as well and they held on to the provisional No.5 spot heading into Saturday. In the first session Robert Hight made a solid 4.138 second pass and crew chief Mike Neff ramped up the tune-up in the night session with an improved 4.051 second run.
“We made some progress today and I think the whole team worked well together. We are sharing info and working to get all these JFR Chevrolets qualifying in the top half. That second run felt good and I think we can step it up tomorrow and run even quicker,” said Hight.
Courtney Force qualified her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car in the No. 10 spot today after making a 4.102 second run at 312.71 mph.
“We had a good run out here today and our first run out took us to the top spot for the time being. We still ended up No. 4 after the first session. We came close to picking up bonus points. We ran a 4.10 with this Traxxas car and I think we really have a good car out here this weekend,” said Force.
In the second qualifying session, the Traxxas team pushed the Chevy to its limits and smoked the tires shortly after the launch.
“We pushed it hard on the second run. We had some really good conditions being that it was so late at night and the track had cooled off. Unfortunately we pushed it a little too hard and went up in smoke early, but we are in the top 10 right now and just looking forward to tomorrow. We get two more shots at climbing back up that ladder and hopefully picking up some bonus points. We’re excited to be out here at Bandimere Speedway. There was a huge crowd out here today, even though there was a lengthy rain delay. It’s exciting and we’re just ready to keep his weekend going,” said Force.
While John Force was running to the top of the Funny Car qualifying order Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster team were keeping pace in the other nitro category. The third year driver was the third quickest dragster of the first session lighting up the scoreboard with a 3.839 second run at 323.74 mph. In the second session Todd Smith and Ronnie Thompson gave the Monster Energy dragster even more power and they blasted down the right lane with a track record elapsed time of 3.802 seconds at a track speed record of 326.95 mph. Force was bumped back one spot by Larry Dixon but the 2014 Mile-High Nationals runner-up was not discouraged by moving back one position.
“This was a good start. It was exactly what we wanted. We made two good runs. The second run I knew was a quick run. The first run felt really slow and that was just because we are on the mountain. I am excited to get back out here tomorrow. This Monster Energy team did a great job today and I am proud of all my guys,” said Force.
* * * *
JOHN FORCE, 66, Blue DEF Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 1st at 4.015 seconds, 318.09 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +4 (3rd quickest of Q1 and quickest of Q2)
ROBERT HIGHT, 45, Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 5th at 4.051 seconds, 311.70 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
COURTNEY FORCE, 27, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 10th at 4.102 seconds, 312.71 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
BRITTANY FORCE, 29, Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying: 2nd at 3.802 seconds, 326.95 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +2 (3rd quickest of Q1 and 2nd quickest of Q2)
* * * *
Saturday, July 25
3rd Qualifying 4:30 PM
4th Qualifying 7:00 PM
Sunday, July 26
Final Eliminations 11:00 AM