Putting the disappointment of only one victory in 2011 behind him, fifteen-time champion John Force notched up his 134th Funny Car victory in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Winternational held at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. Quoted as saying that it was good to get a win under his belt, Force noted that he anticipates that it will be tough to make the top ten this year. Despite clocking up a slower time, Force outgunned Mike Neff in the final round due to his quick reaction time, thereby taking his Ford Mustang to victory on a hole-shot 4.080-second run at 315.64 mph. Neff clocked 4.036, but lost ground being slow at the start.
Other highlights of the Winternational were Spencer Massy’s Top Fuel victory over Antron Brown in the final round with a run of 3.750 seconds at a speed of 325.77 mph, while Jeg Coughlin Jr’s return to the Pro Stock saw the four-time champion reach the final round, only to lost to Greg Anderson’s 6.549 seconds at 210.87 mph. This was the 71st career victory for Anderson, as well as being his fifth at the Winternational.
Two female rookies – Courtney Force and Alexis DeJoria – had the opportunity to test their mettle in Funny Car at the Winternational. The 23-year old daughter of John Force, Courtney Force, qualified 12th and made it through to the second round of eliminations before losing to Neff. Nevertheless, her run of 4.143 seconds at 313.88 mph against Neff was her best of the Winternationals weekend. Alexis DeJoria was out in the first round of eliminations as she lost to John Force.
Current top five point standings in Top Fuel are Spencer Massey (119); Antron Brown (95); Morgan Lucas (87); Tony Schumacher (78); and Bob Vandergriff (57). Funny Car top five points are John Force (114); Mike Neff (95); Ron Capps and Gary Densham (73 tie); and Courtney Force. Pro Stock top five are Greg Anderson (114); Jeg Coughlin (91); Jason Line (82); Mike Edwards (81); and Allen Johnson (59).
The next event in the series will take place next weekend at Firebird International Raceway, located near Phoenix, for the NHRA Arizona Nationals.