Here is a press release by John Force Racing on how testing went with the John Force 2006 Ford Mustang at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past weekend.....
FORCE STUNS FUNNY CAR RIVALS WITH 4.673, 327 MPH RUN IN TESTING
13-Time NHRA Champion Flexes Muscles with Quickest Run Ever at LVMS
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – John Force provided a spectacular response to reigning champion Gary Scelzi’s jaw-dropping 4.701 second, 325.77 mph quarter mile run Sunday during pre-season testing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
After watching Scelzi put down what, at the time, was the quickest Funny Car run in track history, Force drove a special test version of his Castrol GTX Ford through the timers in 4.673 seconds at 327.51 miles per hour, the best numbers, by far, posted by anyone in the test that concludes Monday.
It was an obvious statement by the 13-time champion that his reign as POWERade Funny Car Champion may have been interrupted last season, but it likely isn’t over.
It was his quickest quarter mile run since Oct. 3, 2004, when he set the current NHRA national records for time (4.665 seconds) and speed (333.58 mph) in first round racing at Joliet, Ill. Moreover, it was his first sub-4.70 second effort since he qualified second (4.697) for last year’s season-opening Winternationals at Pomona, Calif.
“I ain’t dead yet,” Force beamed after laying down a nearly perfect quarter mile performance. “We got spanked last year and we’re not used to that. So (crew chiefs Austin) Coil and Bernie (Fedderly), Jimmy Prock, John Medlen, Guido (Dean Antonelli), they went right to work on things to make us better.
“What’ll really turn some heads is if we can get three cars to run like that. That’s the plan,” Force said. “Robert (Hight, driver of the Automobile Club of Southern California Ford) and Eric (Medlen, driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford) have the same stuff (equipment). They’ll get it figured out
“It’s not any one thing,” Force said of his team’s improved performance. “It’s better cylinder heads, better manifolds, better camshafts, some new clutch stuff. It’s a lot of things.”
Especially gratifying, Force said, was the fact that the team ran those numbers using an old 2003 Ford Mustang body. On Monday, each of the Fords will make at least one run with a new 2006 Ford Mustangs body in place. The new carbon fiber shells, 18 months in development, are expected to further complement the new performance package.
“We didn’t want to run the new bodies while we were working with new engine stuff,” Force said, “because we didn’t want to blow ‘em up. We got no spare bodies right now. Just one for each team and we have to nurse them through at least one more week of testing before Pomona (and the season-opening CARQUEST Winternationals, Feb. 9-12).”
Force, who was quickest in Saturday’s test session at 4.733 seconds, a run on which he posted a finish line speed of just 278.06 mph, never faltered on his record-shattering Sunday run. In fact, he had a personal record best speed of 268.80 mph at half track. When he set the current record, his half track speed was 268.10 mph.
While Force was reasserting himself, Hight and Medlen were struggling to keep pace. Hight, who drove the Auto Club Mustang to a best of 4.747 at only 283 mph on Saturday, overpowered the racetrack on every run Sunday. Medlen, meanwhile, couldn’t get close to his weekend best of 4.868 at just 266 mph.
With the conclusion of the Las Vegas test on Monday, the team will move its base of operations to Firebird International Raceway outside Phoenix for next weekend’s National Time Trials test.
With the presence of the three John Force Racing Mustangs, the Dodges of Scelzi, Ron Capps and Whit Bazemore and the Chevrolets of Tommy Johnson Jr., Del Worsham, Phil Burkart Jr., Mike Ashley, Tony Bartone, Gary Densham and two-time former NHRA Top Fuel Champion Scott Kalitta, the Vegas test has had all the atmosphere of a NHRA national event.
Kalitta, who last year drove in Top Fuel, made his first tentative passes on Sunday at the wheel of the new Kalitta Flying Service Chevy Monte Carlo in which he hopes to challenge for the championship. Although he has driven a Funny Car in more than 10 years, he does have a previous victory in the category. Kalitta’s crew chief is veteran Johnny West.
While Scelzi was the best of the Schumacher Dodges, Capps wasn’t that far behind at 4.724, 317.12 mph in the Brut Stratus. Bazemore, who struggled last season after leading the points early-on, managed a best of just 4.933 seconds in a car now tuned by veteran Brian Corradi, the man responsible for Frankie Pedregon’s 4.70 performances of a year ago.
The only real hitters absent from the Vegas test have been Tony and Cruz Pedregon, whose Chevrolets were Top 10 in 2005; former U.S. Nationals Champions Tim Wilkerson and Frankie P.; and veteran Bob Gilbertson, all of them former tour winners.