John Force delivers positive message to JFR teams, fans
JOLIET, Ill. (July 9) – John Force delivered a positive message to his race teams after the Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals on Sunday at Route 66 Raceway. And that message should resonate to fans of John Force Racing, too.
Yes, three JFR Funny Cars fell in the first round, and Brittany Force’s Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster stumbled in the second round.
But Force gathered his three Funny Car teams - his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet, Robert Hight’s Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet and Courtney Force’s Advance Auto Parts/Carquest Auto Parts Chevrolet – and told them to keep the faith.
“We’re moving in the right direction, and it’s a long way to the Countdown,” Force said. “I can’t say thanks enough to my guys. I know they’re bummed right now, but I don’t want them to take it home. I love them all. Let’s get ready and go to Denver.”
Force left first on his first-round opponent, continuing a positive trend of solid reaction times this season. But his Camaro SS struck the tires, and while Force tried to pedal it, he slowed to a pass of 4.982 seconds at 157.34 mph.
Hight was the No. 1 qualifier here, but like the last time he qualified first, he had problems in the first round. His Chevy shook the tires, too, and a pedal job wasn’t enough to overcome a run of 6.473 seconds at 107.50 mph.
But like Force, Hight knows JFR is ready to bust out, and he struck a positive chord, too.
“The good news is our performance is there,” Hight said. “What we have to quit doing is beating ourselves, and that’s what we do every week. We’re not getting outrun, ever. We drop cylinders, we smoke the tires. There haven’t been any races when we’ve went out there side by side and gotten beat. We’re not getting beat by the competition; we’re getting beat by ourselves. We have to eliminate that.
“There is a moving target with dropping cylinders. I hadn’t dropped any cylinders all weekend, and it’s funny that the last time I qualified No. 1 – Epping – did the exact same thing. It’s just one of those things. One thing I don’t have to worry about is (crew chief) Jimmy Prock working hard at this thing. He wants it as bad as I do, and he will figure it out.”
Courtney Force qualified No. 3 but got in trouble early against J.R. Todd. She tried to pedal, but trailed even as Todd struck the tires later in the run.
“Tough weekend for our Advance Auto Parts/Carquest team,” Force said. “Obviously, this wasn’t the run we were hoping to make. We set the car up to perform like it did in Q3 when we were quickest of the session in the heat. It was a hot track, but it was a hot track as well in Q3 and the conditions the most similar to that run. So we had the setup that we thought would be smooth and the car left good and ahead of our competitor, but unfortunately it got down there and spun the tires.
“I had to pedal it, but my competitor was already through the finish line for that win. A rough weekend. I think a lot of cars out there struggled to get down. We’re just going to have to turn things around and get it fixed for the next race. Hopefully, the Western Swing goes better for us.”
Brittany Force had a weird day, as she pedaled and won in the first round, only to make a good run and lose in the second. She struck the tires, got off and on the throttle and made a pass of 4.309 seconds at 240.94 mph in her first-round win, but her run of 3.817 seconds at 322.88 mph wasn’t enough to slip into the semifinals.
“It’s tough coming out here and getting beat,” Force said. “We want to get to that winner’s circle. We want to move up in points, and we’re going for that championship. We’re closing down on the top 10 and Indy, so we have to figure out our game.
“It was a successful weekend for us. We were No. 1 and made it to Round 2, but it ended a little earlier than we wanted. We’ll head to the Western Swing and hopefully have some luck out there, get this race car figured out and get to the winner’s circle.”
The JFR teams return to the track for the Mile-High Nationals on July 21-23 at Bandimere Speedway in Denver.