Final round photo courtesy Gary Nastase for John Force RacingEnlarge Photo
After the 25th annual NHRA O'Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway outside Houston, TX one streak ended but another continued.
Robert Hight wasn't able to continue his rampage on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car contingent, but his teammate Mike Neff, who tunes, crew chiefs and drives his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car became the third John Force Racing driver to win a national event this year.
In six races, there have been three Funny Car winners and every single one of them drives a Ford Mustang for John Force Racing. John Force, the 15-time Funny Car champion started the season with a win in Pomona and then Hight went on his tear, picking up Wally trophies in Phoenix, at Gainesville, Las Vegas and Charlotte. Finally it was Neff's turn and he tuned himself to victory over Ron Capps' Dodge Charger R/T in the finals at Houston.
Neff wasn't in the show until the final round of Saturday qualifying and his victory over Capps was improbable, as he drove around the quicker driver who hazed his tires at the 700-foot mark in the hot, humid air, posting a winning time of 4.239 seconds at 301.67 mph to Capps 4.476/211.79 pass down the 1000-foot dragstrip. "I don't know what Capps ran in the final but we were running real close together," Neff said. "I did try and pick it up," for the semi-finals and final round. "I don't get intimidated by anybody that I race; we have a good race car and a good race team. We do our own thing."
Neff began the day by defeating journeyman and good friend Jim Head, but he nearly fouled out (leaving before the green lights). In the second round he dusted No. 1 qualifier Cruz Pedregon and placed last year's Houston winner, Jeff Arend on the trailer in the semi-finals. Neff was the runner-up to Arend in the 2011 race here.
Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo