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.
John Force is a name in the racing industry that is associated with success, determination, and a passion for the sport of drag racing. Not only does he own John Force Racing, but he is also a seventeen time champion car owner and has won no less than fifteen championships as a driver in the Funny Car division. With more than a hundred and thirty victories, John Force has proven his worth in the racing industry and continues to do so without any thought of retiring.
After a very serious accident in the year 2007, many of his fans and close friends did not think he would return to driving. Not only has he managed to return to driving, he has gone on to win more championships and has been motivated to begin a campaign to ensure the safety of drivers. The Medlen Project, named after the late Eric Medlin, was created by Force and his wife, and they were the pioneers in three rail chassis and improved housing tubes to create safety awareness for drag racers.
This past weekend, at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals, which was held at the Royal Purple Raceway, John Force once again showed the racing community that he is still at the top of his game as a drag racer at the age of sixty-one. And make no mistake; he has no thoughts about slowing down either, only plans for the future. Even though he has set many records and won many trophies, Force maintains that he focuses on the driving and not the awards to keep his head in the game..
Force now drives for Hood, and has managed to qualify in first position for three consecutive events. John Force qualified with a time of 4.097 seconds and a speed of 310.27 miles per hour, while his John Force Racing team was not doing badly themselves with a time of 4.131 seconds and a speed of 293.44 miles per hour. In regard to race day, John Force commented: “We are just going to come out here tomorrow and hope we have a beautiful day. We hope we pack the stands. That is what this is all about. We want to entertain the fans. You have war, tornados and the economy we just want to entertain the folks tomorrow. Somebody will get a Wally tomorrow and they will go home. Maybe it will be this old man.”