FORCE HAS A CONCRETE PLAN TO WIN 14TH FUNNY CAR TITLE Drag Racing Icon Defends Title at Texas Motorplex ENNIS, Texas -- John Force's bid for a record 14th NHRA Funny Car Championship could be etched in stone or, at the very least, set in ...
FORCE HAS A CONCRETE PLAN
TO WIN 14TH FUNNY CAR TITLE
Drag Racing Icon Defends Title at Texas Motorplex
ENNIS, Texas -- John Force's bid for a record 14th NHRA Funny Car Championship could be etched in stone or, at the very least, set in concrete.
Locked in a duel with Ron Capps for the $400,000 title, Force this week hopes to drive his Castrol GTX® Ford Mustang back into the points lead by successful defending his championship in the 21st annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol SYNTEC® at Billy Meyer's Texas Motorplex.
Boasting the only all-concrete quarter mile surface in the NHRA POWERade Series, the Motorplex has been kind to Force, which is the reason the 57-year-old icon has been installed as the pre-race favorite even though Capps is the points leader and the track record-holder at 4.694 seconds.
The national record-holder at 4.665 seconds, 333.58 mph, Force has won tour events on 23 different tracks but there are few on which he has been more dominant than the Motorplex.
The 13-time Auto Racing All-America selection has reached the winners circle seven times on the concrete and has gone to the semifinals or beyond in all but one of his last 13 appearances in the Fall Nationals.
"There's no magic," Force said. "We make a lot of power with these Fords and this track will take everything we throw at it. If it's cool this week, someone could set the (NHRA national) record. The track's that good!"
Nevertheless, Force won't make the same mistake he did a year ago when he took over the points lead with a Motorplex victory and then gave it back in the season's final two races.
"We thought it was over after we won (in Texas)," Force acknowledged, "but we were wrong and Capps and (reigning series champion Gary) Scelzi made us pay. And they're not going away this year, either. Bottom line, it's probably gonna go down to the last race, just like it did last year."
Still, Force likes his chances.
He's won 29 times on the five tracks that host the remaining events in the series: the Motorplex, where he's won 58 of 74 career racing rounds; Maple Grove Raceway (in Reading, Pa.), where he's won six times; Virginia Motorsports Park (Richmond, Va.), where he's won four times in six races; The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he won in 2002; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calilf., where he's won more often than anywhere else (11 times).
Winner of a third of all the races contested in the NHRA series over the last 17 years (116 of 352), Force is trying to give his team, and primary sponsor Castrol, a 15th series title during that span.
His performance this season, which has included six Skoal Showdown No. 1 qualifier awards, two wins and five runner-up finishes has brought a temporary halt to questions about his retirement.
It's a question that has caused Force as much consternation as the demands of Driving Force, the real-life TV show in which he appears with wife Laurie and racing daughters Ashley, Brittany and Courtney.
"It's not like NASCAR," Force has said. "You don't have to drive for three hours. I always said if I was in NASCAR, they'd have to put in some rest stops. But in drag racing, you just have to focus for five seconds. As long as I've got my health and as long as I've got my vision, I can do this. It's what I love."
Right now, his vision is 20-20 and his resolve is solid as concrete.