Neff Extends Amazing JFR Season Streak!

Mike Neff’s win in Funny Car gave John Force Racing it’s 6th straight season win – Morgan Lucas, Vincent Nobile and Andrew Hines also earned Full Throttle Circuit victories at Houston….

California’s Mike Neff continued John Force Racing’s dominance in Funny Car as he raced to his first victory of the 2012 season Sunday at the 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Royal Purple Raceway. With the win, Neff gave John Force Racing its sixth consecutive win to open the season.

Mike Neff continued the incredible 2012 winning ways for John Force Racing

Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also earned victories at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event nearHouston.

Neff powered his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang past Ron Capps’ NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T in the final round of eliminations. Neff’s 4.239 second pass at 301.67 mph was too much for Capps, who hazed the tires in theTexasheat and clocked a 4.476 second pass at 211.79 mph.

“This whole race was one of a kind,” Neff said. “To not be qualified until the last session and then have a wacky couple of rounds today was a nail-biter. Racing Jim Head, my old buddy, it took so long for the Tree to come on. I never let go of the brake but I blipped the throttle. Thankfully, I was staged shallow so I didn’t red-light. I looked down and saw green so I legged it and then it smoked the tires. It was a total mistake on my part as a driver and a crew chief.”

Neff struggled during qualifying and made it into the 16-car field during the final qualifying session in the heat of the day Saturday. That tune up proved to be what the JFR driver needed throughout Sunday’s eliminations as he beat first round foe Head, top qualifier Cruz Pedregon and defending event winner Jeff Arend en route to his seventh career Funny Car victory.

Neff is currently second in the NHRA Full Throttle point standings behind his JFR teammate Robert Hight, who saw his four race win streak snapped with a semifinal loss to Capps.

“That was a heck of a string he had going,” Neff said about Hight. “That’s hard to do in Funny Car or any class for that matter. I’m just glad I could keep the string going for John Force Racing. I feel pressure but that’s just the business we’re in. We’re a top team and we were built on winning. I feel it, but I don’t get pressure from John or anyone else. Just myself.”

In Top Fuel, Lucas proved that he is a championship contender with his win Sunday as he posted low e.t. during each round of eliminations. The GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster outran Antron Brown’s Matco Tools dragster in the final round with his 3.848 second pass at 320.81 to Brown’s losing 5.894 second pass at 117.05 mph.

Morgan Lucas recorded low ET during each round while dominating Top Fuel

“I’m just as proud as can be for this race team, the whole GEICO pit area, and my parents (Forrest and Charlotte),” Lucas said. “Just to be able to go up to the starting line on race day and feel like you can beat anybody is a feeling that I’ve never had before. This is probably the first time in my career, Top Alcohol Dragster included, that I’ve ever had low e.t. of every round of eliminations.”

Lucas started from the No. 1 qualifying spot for the fourth time of the season and the win moved him to third in points. With the runner-up finish Brown took over the series points lead.

Nobile Defends Pro Stock Title

Nobile earned his first Pro Stock win of the season by outrunning veteran driver Dave Connolly in the final round. Nobile’s 6.595 second pass at 210.14 in his Mountain View Tire Dodge Avenger edged Connolly’s 6.604 second pass at 210.41 mph in his Alamo Iron Works/KLR Group Chevy Cobalt to claim his second consecutive win in Houston.

Vince Nobile won the O'Reilly Spring Nationals Pro Stock title for the 2nd year in a row

“It’s an amazing feeling [to win this event two years in a row],” said Nobile, who beat Greg Stanfield, Larry Morgan and Mike Edwards to advance to the final. “In the semis, we actually had to swap motors in that short amount of time [before the final] and the crew did it with now flaws and everything was perfect. The crew produces a really fast race car. I owe it to all of them. My dad taught me everything I know about driving a race car and drag racing period.  This win is a win for the both of us. He never won a Wally because he never had the power. But now we’re doing it both together.”

Nobile’s win moved him from fifth to third in the series standings.

Hines used a perfect reaction time to beat sophomore rider Hector Arana Jr. in the final round in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Arana’s 6.886 second pass at 196.33 mph on his Lucas Oil Buell was quicker than Hines’ 6.905 second pass at 194.52 mph on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, but Hines won the race on the starting line.

“I knew I’d need a good light, but I wasn’t expecting a .000,” Hines said. “I’m lucky I didn’t roll in an eighth of an inch more or I’d have red-lighted. We had to add 20-pounds so I figured I’d need to win on a holeshot in order to have a chance, especially after he [Hector Jr.] ran that 6.84 in the semifinals.”

Hines has won this event three years in a row and he is now the series leader in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

“I knew this was the 25th anniversary of this race so I really wanted to win that silver Wally,” Hines said.

Pro winners: Morgan Lucas, Vince Nobile, Mike Neff and Andrew Hines

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce,Ga., May 4-6.

Rowe Wins All Canadian Pro Mod Final!

No. 3 qualifier Danny Rowe earned his first NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx victory of the 2012 season at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. 

Canadian born racers Danny Rowe (near lane) and Kenny Lang raced for the PM title

Rowe’s Sterling Bridge-sponsored ’68 Chevy Camaro powered to a winning performance of 5.969 seconds at 244.43 mph in the final round of eliminations to beat Kenny Lang’s pass of 6.043 seconds at 238.51 mph driving the Summit Racing Chevy Camaro.

That final round was in fact an all Canadian affair with Rowe who is now based inCaliforniabeing originally from Calgary Alberta and Lang who is from the Winnipeg suburb of Grand Pointe. 

Rowe defeated Mike Knowles, Troy Coughlin and Danny Walsh in earlier rounds en route to his first final round appearance of the season.

Lang’s runner-up effort did mark a strong comeback for his race team which had failed to qualify during a problem plagued previous event at NHRA Concord.

The next NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx event is the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown,N.J., May 31-June 3.

Posted by:  NHRA Communications

Photos by:  Randy Anderson

Hagen Gary drove his very cool '69 GTX to the Stock eliminator title

Event Essentials:  25th O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals – April 27-28th, 2012

TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Morgan Lucas 3.848 320.81 6th
R/UP: Antron Brown 5.894 117.65  
Low ET: Morgan Lucas 3.772    
Top Speed: Morgan Lucas   327.74  
Bump Spot:   4.003    
FUNNY CAR Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Mike Neff 4.239 301.67 7th
R/UP: Ron Capps 4.476 211.79  
Low ET: Cruz Pedregon 4.057    
Top Speed: Cruz Pedregon   313.88  
Bump Spot:   4.490    
PRO STOCK Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Vincent Nobile 6.595 210.14 4th
R/UP: Dave Connolly 6.604 210.41  
Low ET: Allen Johnson 6.546    
Top Speed: Allen Johnson   211.93  
Bump Spot:   6.628    
Winner: Andrew Hines 6.905 194.52 26th
R/UP: Hector Arana Jr. 6.886 196.33  
Low ET: Hector Arana Jr. 6.846    
Top Speed: Eddie Krawiec   197.83  
Bump Spot:   7.035    
Pro Care Pro Modified Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Danny Rowe 5.969 244.43  
R/UP: Kenny Lang 6.043 238.51  
Low ET: Mike Castellana 5.899    
Top Speed: Brad Brand   251.02  
Bump Spot:   N/A   (14 cars)
LUCAS OIL        
Sportsman Winners: Name ET MPH  
Top Alcohol Dragster Jim Whiteley 5.264 273.77  
Top Alcohol Funny Car Jay Payne 5.631 260.06  
Top Dragster Rob McKinley 6.303 220.69  
Super Stock Doug Baumgardner 9.468 143.36  
Stock Hagan Gary 10.13 128.79  
Super Comp Britt Cummings 8.920 164,85  
Super Gas Luke Bogacki 9.918 144.41  

Jay Payne rose to the occasion in TAFC winning with his Ford Mustang

 To view additional Houston event photos visit our photo gallery:  HERE