Being the best in NHRA’s nitro Funny Car class is nothing new for John Force.
After all, he has won a class-record 16 world championships.
However, in the last few years his dominance has dwindled.
On Saturday, however, the legend ruled the class, capturing the No. 1 qualifying spot at the 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil in Houston.
Force stayed atop the qualifying ladder on the strength of his 3.888-second run at 319.29 mph in Q1 Friday.
“During my career, I’ve done a lot of things and done a lot of specialty races, but this sport brings me together with my children and that’s what I really love about NHRA drag racing, is that we are one big family,” Force said. “To have a moment with her (Brittany) that she and I can share together, and we’ve really become a lot closer. All the girls were really close with their mom, but as I raced with Ashley and Courtney and now with Brittany, you get closer. So, something like this will give us a moment of looking each other and me being proud of her. I’ve earned a lot of these (No. 1 qualifying) hats, not so many lately but (crew chiefs) (Brian) Corradi and (Dan) Hood are really doing a good job teaching the new kids and the old.”
Brittany Force clocked a 3.661-second elapsed time at 332.18 mph setting both ends of the track record in her Advance Auto Parts dragster during Q2 Friday to hold on to the No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel.
John Force has 149 NHRA victories in his illustrious career and he has been No. 1 qualifier now 156 times.
“(Saturday) night we can share the moment and (Sunday) we come out here to Houston to entertain the fans,” Force said. “I want to thank the Angel family. The Angels spent their money and that’s what the sport is all about for us to survive in this economy. Then, to run numbers like that makes me feel really good.”
Force, who pilots the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil / BlueDEF Chevy Camaro SS, has won the SpringNationals in 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999 and 2002, Force also won the now defunct fall race at Houston in 1999 giving him a record seven wins overall at the facility. His most recent win in 2002 was also his 100th career victory. He is trying to extend to 32 the number of seasons in which he has won at least one NHRA national event.
“I’ve chased those (victories),” Force said. “Winning my 50th, winning my 75th, winning my 100th and it just goes on and on. It is good stuff, don’t get me wrong, but if you think about it (his 150th career victory), you will give it away. I just want to go home, get a good night’s sleep and hug my baby girl, Brittany and come out here (Sunday) and race for the one reason I do it. I don’t do it for the money anymore, I do it for the cheer of the crowd and it do it because I love it and it’s a bad addiction. I’m going to be 70 here in a few weeks, and I’m still doing it and even my doctor asked me why. I said I have nowhere to go. This is all I really know, and these race tracks are really my home. I really miss my wife (Laurie). She is with Courtney at the Grand Prix in Long Beach and I really miss her being here to share this moment with her daughter and me.”
Force arrived in Houston sixth in the season points standings.
“I’ve been struggling, but I have a good team now and I have to find myself,” Force said. “Like Tiger Woods, he’s doing OK and you have to find your zone and I’m off from that for whatever reason. Age can be a part of it, so I have to find these issues and I’ve been working on it in my camp driving everybody crazy. I have young (Austin) Prock. I have young Robert Hight and I have young Brittany. I have these kids carrying the ball for me, but I don’t want them to. I want to get back in the game. We need Tony Schumacher back out here because our sport needs him, and Don (Schumacher) will get him here. He’s very important to our fanbase of the people they have looked up to over the years. I am going to come here (Sunday) and give it everything I have got and try and win.
I’m a lucky guy and I’ve had a long career and I know my time is running out, but I’m not done yet.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019