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John Force Racing's 2,500th Funny Car round winanother milestone in team's stellar history

Posted by Mike Cope on Mar 22, 2017 12:41:07 PM

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (March 21) – John Force’s Funny Car victory Sunday in the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., was memorable for many reasons, including yet another milestone over the team’s 40-year existence in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

After winning all four rounds, and coupled with Robert Hight’s first-round victory, the team achieved the 2,500-round victory threshold for Funny Cars. Force’s final-round win over rookie Jonnie Lindberg sealed the deal.


JFR’s first round victory was June 1, 1979, when Force defeated Tom McEwen at the Cajun Nationals in Baton Rouge, La. Force himself has accounted for just over half of those 2,500 Funny Car round victories, as he now stands at 1,269, with six round wins this season. He defeated Del Worsham, Jack Beckman, and Tommy Johnson Jr. before beating Lindberg on Sunday.


Even more impressive is that JFR’s 2,500 NHRA Funny Car round wins account for more than 20 percent of wins all-time in the class.


“It was the reign of terror that started it all, with Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly and John Medlen,” Force said. “It was really about a group of guys – it wasn’t about me. I just wrote the checks, but I got to drive one of the baddest hot rods on the planet. We won just about everything.


“But those days are gone now. John Force wants to stay in the game, and now we’ve got Robert Hight, my daughter Courtney, young Austin Prock is coming,” he continued. “I’m really excited about this. We put the band back together. Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones said life’s a drag, but today, life’s not a drag – it’s a drag race, and we won.”


Winning races and elimination rounds is one of the things John Force has done best. Overall, nine drivers have won Funny Car rounds with JFR. The total includes:
  • John Force 1,269
  • Robert Hight 375
  • Tony Pedregon 292
  • Courtney Force 134
  • Mike Neff 118
  • Gary Densham 108
  • Ashley Force Hood 105
  • Eric Medlen 95
  • Phil Burkart Jr. 4

Hight added to his total Sunday, besting Bob Tasca III in the first round with career-bests in time and speed, and has two round wins this season. Courtney Force won her first three rounds of the season at Pomona, making it to the final round.


“It’s amazing, but what’s really amazing is when you look at who has most of those wins,” Hight said. “John Force’s records – he’s so far out in front of everybody else – it’s not even achievable. With the competition level and everything else there is today, these records we keep getting will never, ever be broken. I was lucky enough to get the 200th victory for John Force Racing at Topeka (2011), and that was pretty exciting."


To do it at Gainesville, Hight said, was special. In the 1990s, for example, Force participated in 37 rounds out of a possible 40, and won 33 of those 40 rounds. He just kept winning ... and winning ... and winning.


“He’s had good luck at Gainesville,” Hight said. “But I take away from this that all three of our Funny Cars are running good, and we’re not searching for faster cars but right where we want to be. We just need to get a little consistency. I’m just happy to be a little part of those 2,500 round wins. We have three good cars now, and we’re going to get a lot more wins.”


The milestone is more than just a number. It represents tireless efforts by drivers, crew chiefs, team members, fabricators, shop workers, and office staff who have worked with Force since the 1970s.


“If you look at the Tony Pedregons that drove for me, the Eric Medlens, the Gary Denshams, Robert Hight, my girls – if you go down that list, they were all part of that. It wasn’t just about me," Force said. "I’ve done well in the sport, because I’ve lived it and loved it. I give 110 percent to my sponsors, never 100 percent. We overdeliver, you have to.


“With the cast of characters we have, we’re going to keep hitting them with all we’ve got."


The team earned its 2,500th round victory across all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series classes last year. Including the team’s Top Fuel dragster – piloted by Brittany Force and sponsored by Monster Energy – the team’s round victory total stands at 2,593. Brittany Force added another Top Fuel round victory Sunday, and stands at 93 in her career.


The fourth round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the NHRA Nationals, is March 31-April 2 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada. John Force Racing has won five races at the spring race in Las Vegas, most recently with John Force running the table in 2015.
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Tags: racing, indy, Hurco, NHRA

PEAK Chevy driver John Force takes Gatornationals, gives John Force Racing 2,500th Funny Car round win

Posted by Mike Cope on Mar 20, 2017 1:49:16 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19) – He may have been serenading the tune “Singin’ in the Rain,” but John Force was winning under the Florida sunshine Sunday in a perfectly-tuned PEAK Motor Oil and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car.

The 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series champion earned his record-extending 148th career victory and eighth in the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. Force defeated rookie Jonnie Lindberg – competing in his first Funny Car race – in a solid final-round matchup, giving John Force Racing its first victory of 2017 and first since last year’s fall race at Las Vegas.

Force exited his PEAK Chevrolet after winning and broke into the popular tune “Singin’ in the Rain.” “I found the music,” he said.

“I’ve lived on music in my old Chevy,” Force said. “I can remember when I was 15 years old driving around without a driver’s license and the music carried me. Every day, the Beach Boys, Merle Haggard. I lived that life and you find yourself.

“I don’t go to a race without believing I can win,” continued Force, the day after recording his 155th No. 1 qualifying spot. “The day I don’t believe I can win, then it’s time for me to quit. It’s like a rollercoaster ride and I’m still a kid driving that ’54 Chevy listening to the Beach Boys, and I found the music. They are going to be sorry I found the music, trust me.”

The 67-year-old hadn’t won at the Gatornationals since 2001, breaking a 16-year drought, which set yet another NHRA record. But there are better ones he set as well:

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Tags: racing, indy, Hurco, NHRA

PEAK Chevrolet driver John Force heads to Gainesville seeking 8th Gatornationals wally

Posted by Mike Cope on Mar 15, 2017 3:38:00 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14) – John Force hopes to relive past success this weekend as he and his PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS team head to the NHRA Gatornationals, the third stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

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Defending Gatornationals Funny Car winner Robert Hight ready to repeat with Auto Club Chevrolet

Posted by Mike Cope on Mar 15, 2017 3:35:23 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14) – John Force Racing driver Robert Hight and crew chief Jimmy Prock hope to achieve the same results they had for nearly a decade and recreate some of their previous magic together starting with the third round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, this weekend’s NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

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Tags: racing, indy, Hurco, NHRA

Courtney Force, Advance Auto Parts Chevy team carry lots of speed to Gatornationals

Posted by Mike Cope on Mar 15, 2017 3:32:38 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14) – Courtney Force and her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS team are looking to carry the speed they achieved in the opening two races of the season to the NHRA Gatornationals this weekend at Gainesville Raceway.

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Monster Energy driver Brittany Force hopes history repeats itself at 2017 Gatornationals

Posted by Mike Cope on Mar 15, 2017 3:29:37 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14) – Monster Energy Top Fuel driver Brittany Force fought through three seasons chasing her first professional victory, racing to six final rounds and posting four No. 1 qualifiers before finally breaking through.

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Courtney Force to serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver for NASCAR's Advance Auto Parts Clash

Posted by Mike Cope on Feb 15, 2017 11:30:34 AM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14) – Fresh off a final-round appearance at one famed race track, Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car driver Courtney Force will lead the field at yet another.

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Monster Energy driver Brittany Force ready to begin 2017 title chase in Pomona

Posted by Mike Cope on Feb 9, 2017 3:39:50 PM

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8) – Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster driver Brittany Force had a breakout season in 2016.

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Tags: racing, indy, Hurco, NHRA

Auto Club of Southern California driver Robert Hight ready for resurgence in 2017

Posted by Mike Cope on Feb 9, 2017 3:37:40 PM

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PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil driver John Force seeks  17th title as NHRA season opens at Pomona

Posted by Mike Cope on Feb 9, 2017 3:35:08 PM

PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil driver John Force seeks 
17th title as NHRA season opens at Pomona

 

Editor's note: Resending with minor edits

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8) – Sixteen-time NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car champion John Force will mount his assault on an unprecedented 17th title when the series opens up the 2017 campaign this weekend with the Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Speedway in Pomona.

Driving the PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS, the all-time leader in NHRA Funny Car victories (147) seeks a strong start to 2017 after a busy offseason. Force reunited with longtime crew chief Jimmy Prock in January and also obtained the services of co-crew chief Chris Cunningham. With Prock, Force won the 2013 championship.

The partnership has already proven worthy. Force was fourth-quickest during last week’s Nitro Spring Training at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix. The test should prove to be a springboard to a successful season.

Force is a 16-time winner at Pomona, a track just 20 miles from his team’s headquarters in Yorba Linda. Of those 16 victories, seven have come in the Winternationals

“It sets the pace for the season, the mood of the season,” Force said. “We’ll get after it. We’ll take what we learned from the test, make some adjustments, and go to Pomona."

And like his previous 34 fulltime seasons, Force’s mind is on another title run. The last of his Funny Car championships came in 2013, with Prock leading the crew.

“That’s the dream; that’s what you go to bed (thinking about) every night,” Force said. “But I know my daughter Courtney’s looking at that, as is Robert Hight, and so are 20 others out here. But if you didn’t have the dream to win, you wouldn’t chase it. Every kid out here believes they can just get on a roll and make it happen. I’m going after 17; I don’t want to stop on sweet 16.”

The season-opening and 58th annual Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Speedway begins Friday, with the first two rounds of qualifications. Qualifying continues Saturday, while elimination rounds take place Sunday. FOX will televise three hours of live eliminations coverage at 1 p.m. Pacific.

4-Second Reads:

  • John Force has competed in the Winternationals 36 times, and every year since 1983. His first year competing was 1979.
  • Force has advanced to the final round of the Winternationals 10 times, winning his last five finals appearances.
  • Force has seven victories in the Winternationals, the first in 1991 and most recent in 2014. His record in elimination round races is 57-29.
  • Force has 16 victories at Pomona.
  • Force has been the No. 1 qualifier for the Winternationals nine times, the most recent time coming in 2014, when he won.
  • Force has won the Winternationals three times from the No. 1 qualifying spot (1997, 2002, 2014).
  • Force has only qualified outside the top eight five times in 36 Winternationals.
  • Force has won his first-round Winternationals matchup 24 times.
  • Force has won his last two first-round matchups, dating back to last season.
  • In his career, Force has 147 victories and 1,263 round wins.
  • PEAK will make a special announcement at 3 p.m. Friday regarding its sponsorship commitments with John Force.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Gary Nastase Photography

 

About John Force Racing

 

John Force Racing, Inc., based in Yorba Linda, Calif., and Brownsburg, Ind., is a professional sports dynasty, one that has earned 18 NHRA championships and claimed 250 professional victories in Funny Car (247) and Top Fuel (3). Led by team owner and driver John Force, a 16-time Funny Car Champion, 1996 Driver of the Year for all of American motor racing, 2011 International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee, and driver of the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, JFR is additionally comprised of Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS driver Robert Hight, 2009 Funny Car champion and 2005 NHRA Rookie of the Year; Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS driver Courtney Force, 2012 NHRA Rookie of the Year; and Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster driver Brittany Force, 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year. For more information, please visit johnforceracing.com.

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Tags: racing, indy, Hurco, NHRA

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