Home » NHRA

New JFR Camaro SS Balks In Debut

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 21 2016
John Force ran into trouble with his new car. (Photos courtesy of John Force Racing)

John Force ran into trouble with his new car. (Photos courtesy of John Force Racing)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

TOPEKA, Kan. – The folks at John Force Racing will head back to the drawing board – literally – in the wake of Friday’s disappointing debut of its freshly minted Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car at Heartland Park.

It shook and scraped the wall during its second qualifying run at the Kansas Nationals.

Driver/team owner John Force took the wrapping off the car on Tuesday during a press conference in Brownsburg, Ind.

Camera clicked and video cameras whirred as the aggressive looking car with the jutting splitter and panoramic windshield saw it first public light.

On Wednesday in Kansas City, Force and JFR driver/president Robert Hight talked excitedly about the car, which replaced the older and heavier Camaro which Force’s team had put together after Ford pulled out of nitro racing at the end of the 2014 season.

The plan was for Force to race the new car for the first time at Heartland Park. Other cars would then be handed to teammates Hight and Courtney Force.

But once on the track, flaws in the new car surfaced.

In the first qualifying session, which was held in the late afternoon, the car made a run decent down the Topeka strip.

A couple of changes were made to the car between runs.

In the night qualifier, disaster struck. The new SS launched but tire shake jarred it loose. Force smoked the tires, did a quick pedal job, but scuffed the left lane guard wall.

The team went to work after Friday’s runs as they hurried to put the old body back on the car.

After the runs, Force issued the following statement:

“First of all I want to apologize to all the Chevrolet enthusiasts out there, everyone that worked on this car and helped design it.  The first run that we made with the car…..there are two different kinds of shake.  There is an aggressive shake and a weak shake and on those two types, you have to know which way to pedal it. If its weak, it’s got to be real quick snap of the pedal to get off and get back on to catch it.  And that is what I did on the first run, it was weak.

“It still ran 4.10 (in the opening session) and put me in the top 12 in the show and ran a 327 or 326 something.  So it cut the air, steered perfect, and the view was awesome. Everything was good about it.  So we went back to work and said we have to get after this thing because the conditions were getting better.”

On the second run, Force continued, “It left hard, did the same thing. People had been running some big numbers and when it rattled again so I tried to catch it quicker thinking it was a weak shake.  I was thinking I could step up and put myself higher in the show. Well, it was an aggressive shake which means I should have got out of it and waited.  But I didn’t know. And right as I went back to hit it, you can see on the video that it was starting to turn and it’s just enough when you hit that throttle its sideways and it put me straight into the wall.  It’s a shame because of all the hard work.”

Force said the car will have to undergo major work before it races again.

“We can’t fix it and it will have to go back, and go back in the mold,” he said. “And that is all we can do right now.”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 21 2016
No Comment

Comments are closed.