There was a time when even Superman couldn’t stop John Force from winning. That’s because Force was Superman.
Force, the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion, is still super these days, and despite rolling over the 70-year-old odometer, he’s still competing with a torrid pace. However, for the seasoned veteran Force, his win-total has been stuck on 149 since beating Ron Capps in Denver last season.
Through the first eight races of 2019, Force remains in elite company as one of a select few pro drivers who haven’t lost a first-round race. Four of those losses have come at the hands of teammate and two-time series champ Robert Hight.
Force’s losses to Hight have come in the semifinals, three of which have resulted in a race win by his John Force Racing teammate. Not only has Force been efficient on race day, but he’s also been fast. Force also tallied his 157th No. 1 qualifier at the SpringNationals, making history with daughter Brittany Force as the first parent-child duo to sweep the nitro top qualifying positions.
“Bottom line, we keep putting ourselves in a position to win,” Force said. “I’m getting more confident every week. I’m using every trick I’ve got to run with these kids, but it’s gonna happen.”
Force’s stop this weekend, the NHRA Route 66 Nationals, comes at a venue he’s familiar with, having won his first event at Route 66 Raceway back in 2000, beating Jerry Toliver. The win broke an 85-win tie with the late Bob Glidden.
There’s extra incentive to reach the milestone this weekend considering major sponsor Old World Industries headquarters are based just 60 miles away from the stadium-style facility.
“It’s always good to come back to Chicago,” said Force, who made a special appearance for employees at the Old World Industries headquarters with his three drivers. “Lots of history here and lots of support from PEAK and all the people at Old World Industries. It’s a good racetrack, and I’ve got a good race car.
“(Crew chiefs) Brian Corradi and Dan Hood, they put Courtney (the youngest of Force’s drag racing daughters) in the winners’ circle four times last year and gave her a shot (at the championship). This is the same set-up. We’ve just been working to get the balance right because I’m heavier than she is.”
Force last won at Route 66 Raceway in 2006, and it was his third win at the facility where he’s made six final round appearances, most recently in 2013. The driving legend has five No. 1 qualifiers at the event, making its 21st annual appearance on the NHRA Mello Yello tour.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019