Force’s record run in jeopardy

first_imgHis son-in-law leads the class. Robert Hight’s Thursday run of 4.693 seconds at 326.79 mph held up despite hard charges by Gary Scelzi and Scott Kalitta. Not since the 1987 World Finals, over the same Fairplex quarter-mile, has Force stood on the sidelines during Sunday’s final eliminations. By comparison, the second-longest active streak is 160 by Doug Kalitta, who last failed to qualify at the 2000 Winternationals. With a 40 percent chance of showers today, Force didn’t sound upset that he may not get in the field. “I’ll take my spanking and go home,” he said. “I’m upside down over this. We need to find out what’s wrong. All I know is that we’re dropping cylinders. “But if ever there was a time not to start, this is the day.” POMONA – One day after proudly watching his daughter withstand the pressure of the drag racing world, John Force faced another dilemma. Will his record streak of 392 consecutive NHRA starts survive? Force, the 14-time Funny Car champion, stands outside the top 16 looking in and wonders if the clouds that hovered over Pomona Raceway on Friday will unload today. After half of the four scheduled qualifying runs for the season-opening Winternationals, Force is almost a quarter of a second too slow. center_img It was a reference to the other three John Force Racing Mustangs that are in the top 16. In addition to Hight, Eric Medlen is fifth and Ashley Force, the champ’s 24-year-old daughter making her professional debut, is 12th. “This is not working out the way I planned,” Force said. “But this is the next generation of racing. I’m very proud of Robert.” Hight’s time on Friday fell off dramatically from a day earlier, and he attributed it to the new combination in the car. “Today it was just too aggressive,” Hight said. “It shook the tires. But we’re still number one. Eric is solidly in the show and John can still get it. “He’s been asking Ashley what to do.” Ashley also failed to improve on her initial run of 4.810 and dropped from sixth to 12th. “We wanted to step it up,” she said. “We didn’t know if the .81 would hold. If it rains, we’re in. You don’t want to get too greedy, but you don’t want not to get greedy enough and miss the boat.” Scelzi jumped to second with a run of 4.726 at 328.54, and Scott Kalitta also improved with his 4.741 run. [email protected] (909) 386-3865 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more