Traxxas' Funny Car Drivers force the
competition to crank up their
performance in Atlanta!
(05/07/2012) Atlanta Dragway in Commerce Georgia was the host for the seventh stop on the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, the Summit Southern Nationals. Even after Robert Hight’s four race winning streak came to an end last week in Houston, Traxxas and John Force Racing were still sitting on a six in a row team winning streak, and looking to add another to this impressive feat. Mother Nature raised the temperatures in Atlanta, but would the other drivers be able to follow suit and put an end to this dominance?
When Funny Car rolled into the staging lanes and under the tower, the track temperature was 119 degrees with no clouds in sight. Both John Force and Mike Neff ran sub-par elapsed times, neither of which would get them qualified for Sunday’s race. Robert Hight ran last in the session making a swift 4.140 at 299.86 mph, third quickest of the session. Courtney Force drove her Traxxas Funny Car straight as an arrow during her first pass, putting a 4.227 notch in her belt. When the JFR drivers returned for the second qualifying session, track and weather conditions were nearly identical to their first runs. For the second time in a row, both John and Mike were unable to successfully navigate the racing surface. John’s 4.276 would carry over into Saturday’s qualifying session, but Mike’s 4.465 would not. Courtney’s 4.156 in her second pass looks pretty good on paper, but it did not match the looks of her first pass. Her Funny Car kicked out to the left at the 60’ cone but she was quick to react and pull her Traxxas Mustang back into the groove with little hesitation. Robert Hight stole the show making his 4.104 look easy. When Friday’s curtain fell at Atlanta Dragway Robert and Courtney were comfortably qualified first and ninth, respectively. Both John and Mike would have to step up their performance during Saturday’s sessions.
Rain was in the forecast for Saturday yet when the teams arrived at the track, conditions were nearly identical to the previous two sessions on Friday. Robert Hight and Mike Neff both overpowered the track and John Force only managed to run a 4.24 at 293.22. John did better this time, but not by much. Courtney Force made a decent pass at 4.172, but it wasn’t good enough to advance in the standings. It was, however, the best out of all her Traxxas teammates. When the fourth and final qualifying session rolled around, all the JFR drivers were in the show, except for last week’s winner, Mike Neff. Just like in Houston last week, Mike was again faced with the daunting task of qualifying into the race in the last qualifying session. When Mike left the line his car looked great, was on a great run, and it was a pass that would have qualified him into the show. Around the 900’ mark his Funny Car lost power and he missed the cut by .030. He would not race on Sunday.
John Force finally broke into the “teens” running a 4.190. Robert Hight made one of the quickest passes of the session running a 4.156 at 301.47. He would remain on the pole with his 4.104 and made a statement by running quick in three out of the four runs. It appeared that either Courtney got out of the groove or Ron Douglas threw an aggressive setup into the Traxxas Funny Car. Her car went up in smoke before making the 330’ marker and it made Courtney fight to keep it off the wall. With both days of qualifying in the books, the stage was set for the 2012 NHRA Summit Southern Nationals.
On Sunday teams arrived to a beautiful sunny day in Commerce Georgia. Since Mike Neff didn’t qualify for the Funny car field, that left only John, Courtney, and Robert to continue the team winning streak. John was the only Traxxas John Force Racing driver to make it down the track in all for qualifying passes. Unfortunately, three of those runs were in the 4.20 range, not nearly good enough to be competitive on race day. It finally bit him in round one when his 4.269 was not enough to take down Cruze Pedregon’s 4.143. John did stage deep, helping his reaction time and affected his E.T., but it didn’t make a difference. Robert Hight made quick work of Bod Bode with a 4.169 pass. Courtney Force had a great race with Jack Beckman. They ran side-by-side the entire length of the track with the Traxxas Funny Car just edging out Jack, 4.133 to a 4.158.
The bad news for John Force Racing was that Courtney and Robert were set to race each other in round two. The good news is that they were guaranteed a car in the semi-finals. Both Traxxas John Force Racing drivers put on a great show for the fans. Courtney ran a 4.198 and Robert a 4.165 to take the win. Robert was in yet another semi-final match-up, his sixth in a row! He was lined up next to Jim Head in lane two. The 133-degree track was now the hottest of the weekend, but it was no sweat for Robert. He ran a blazing 4.194 to take the win and a trip into a final round appearance!
An interesting fact about the final round in both Funny Car and Top Fuel was that both the number one and two qualifiers made it to the final in both classes. On paper, it should work out this way every time, but that’s why we run the race! Ron Capps got his second chance in a row to beat a John Force Racing Driver in the final. He lost his final round appearance last week in Houston to Mike Neff. Capps choose the right lane, forcing Robert Hight into the left lane for the final, a lane he had not been in since first round. Ron Capps ran a 4.166 to take the win next to Robert who only ran a 4.349; he was forced to pedal his car down the track. This marked the end of the Traxxas John Force Racing winning streak that dates back to Pomona earlier this year.
After the final we were able to add two new names to the Traxxas Nitro Shootout; Ron Capps and Steve Torrence. Look for our Nitro Shootout update in the next day or two for more details! Remember that Traxxas will be at every NHRA event with its full line of RC cars, support staff, and mobile hobby store. Fans have a chance to drive a 1/16 Traxxas rally car, a 1/10 Traxxas Slash, and get to watch our professional RC drivers showcase the power and strength of the 65mph Brushless E-Revo! Next stop is in Topeka Kansas May 18th through the 20th, see you there!