At the end of the day on Monday the trio of John Force Racing Mustangs that ran down Firebird International Raceway all rang up positive numbers. Led by 2009 Funny Car Full Throttle Champion Robert Hight’s 4.05 second run at over 310 mph in the Auto Club 2010 Ford Mustang every JFR Mustang clocked a time quicker than 4.10 seconds. It was the maiden voyage for Hight underneath his new Mustang body and the Full Throttle Funny Car champ was all smiles at the top end after the run.
“This place is very tricky. It was perfect timing for that run because it was the first run with the 2010 Mustang body. I knew it was a good run. It felt good the whole way. It was pretty awesome. It was cool to hear the excitement of the guys on the radio. It has been a while since we have had some excitement over the radio,” said Hight. “(Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) says if you hit it right could run 4.03 out here. Hitting it right is the trick. This track will produce huge ETs but you have to hit it right. Every little thing counts. After that run the engine ran fine and the clutch came together nice. We have a pretty good baseline going into Pomona.”
Hight’s run came on the heels of John Force’s best run of testing a solid 4.08 second pass in his 25th anniversary Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang. Force’s run was spectacular on the race course and at the top end. The 14-time champion drifted to the left and clipped a timing cone that was set up to record 1320 ft. times for the handful of sportsman racers that are also sharing the track.
“I’m excited about (the 4.08). Last year here I couldn’t get down the race track for four days and then we finally did. It shows the preparation of the track (this year). That is why so many people didn’t come here and chose to go to Florida or even Vegas. I chose to come here (Firebird International Raceway owner) Charlie Allen said it wouldn’t be like last year they would fix it. This is the road to Pomona,” said Force.
“4.08 (seconds) is good. I am starting to feel a little good there. Robert ran right around me. He got an .05 that is big. I feel good. I feel confident. Although it is never good to get too fast too quick because then you almost feel lucky then luck goes away.”
“They (the track personnel) left the cones out because they have so many different categories running. It is a lot of work in all fairness to them, to change it back. They have to go glue them and everything. I went through the lights not thinking anything was there. I am not supposed to cross the centerline anyway. That’s my fault. When I passed the lights it started to drift over and I didn’t jerk it back. I thought (I would) just pull it back slowly. I had nobody in the other lane and I mowed ‘em (timing cones) down.”
Force's team pulled out the Castrol Edge Mustang body for him to run the rest of the day after the top end incident.
Ashley Force Hood
At the end of the day Ashley Force Hood capped the session with her best run of testing a nice 4.09 second run at 310.34 mph behind the wheel of her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Her two runs earlier in the day did not yield positive results.
“We were a little frustrated today. We started the testing sessions good then suddenly today it wouldn’t go to half track. We were dealing with some tire shake but they got it under control for that last run. This run it went right down there. It thought about shaking but it powered through. That was a good feeling. It is good to get these different experiences on the track again since you’ll have to deal with that during the season. You don’t want your first experience of tire shake during the season to be in the semi-finals,” said Force Hood.
“Getting a good pass at the end of the day is important for me but also for the guys. If I make a full run or I shake the tires at the hit that is a huge difference for me as far as what I experience. For my crew guys their job is exactly the same whether it goes to the finish line or not. I know they were happy to see that 4.08. Those are the kind of numbers you need to start the season.”
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