Phoenix: John Force preview

FORCE'S EDGE MORE THAN SIMPLY PAINT Boss 500 Engine Powers 14-Time Champion At this week's 25th annual Lucas Oil Slick Mist Nationals, John Force is driving a special edition, gold-and-black Ford Mustang sponsored by Castrol EDGE ®, his ...

FORCE'S EDGE MORE THAN SIMPLY PAINT

Boss 500 Engine Powers 14-Time Champion

At this week's 25th annual Lucas Oil Slick Mist Nationals, John Force is driving a special edition, gold-and-black Ford Mustang sponsored by Castrol EDGE ®, his long-time sponsor's new high-end synthetic lubricant.

However, if the 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion has an advantage at Firebird International Raceway, a track on which he's won a record eight times in the last 15 seasons, it's not what's on his car, it's what's in it.

After failing to survive beyond the first round in his last two appearances at Charlie Allen's desert drag strip, the sport's biggest winner launches his latest bid with a new BOSS 500 Ford nitro motor between the frame rails.

In fact, the 59-year-old icon is locked in a good-natured duel with teammate Mike Neff to become the first to win an NHRA Full Throttle tour event with BOSS 500 power.

"It's a nice piece," Force said of the nitro motor developed within strict NHRA specifications by his crew chiefs and Ford engineers. "Mike Neff and John Medlen put that motor in three finals last year, but we're still trying to get the first win. I think we'll get it this year, me or Neff or both of us."

     "(Crew chief Austin) Coil says it makes more horsepower," Force said
of the new motor, "but the big thing (to me) is durability.  "You can
knock a rod out the side and it doesn't destroy the b lock.  We built
strength into it.  I don't know of any of the Ford blocks we've lost so
far.  We just put  em right back into action."

Although the engine eventually will power all four of the JFR Mustangs, right now there is not enough inventory to support such an ambitious effort.

"After we got a second machine (a MAG Giddings and Lewis CNC), we were finally able to get blocks for me and for Neff," Force said.

Originally, the BOSS 500 blocks and the team's proprietary cylinder heads shared a single CNC machine, creating a frustrating bottleneck in the manufacturing process. Now, there is a dedicated MAG Giddings and Lewis unit for each application.

As for Force's new black-and-gold Castrol EDGE paint scheme, it will be in place for this weekend's even and one more race (the March 12-15 ACDelco Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla.) before the 126-time tour winner reverts to the more familiar green-and-white of Castrol GTX High Mileage.

"Castrol has been with me for all my wins and all my championships," Force said, "and it's exciting for me to be able to help them launch a new brand, Castrol EDGE, and to take it to the Super Bowl where we signed autographs for a couple hours and had the car on display. That was great, but what we really want to do is to get it into the winners' circle along with the BOSS 500 motor."

Fully recovered from injuries suffered 15 months ago in a crash at Dallas, Texas, the 14-time Auto Racing All-America selection is anxious to prove that he not only still can win races, but also win championships.

"I'm in better shape now than I was before the accident," Force said. "I've got my weight back up around 200, but I've got more muscle. Since I got out of rehab, I go to the gym every day and work out. When I miss a day, I can tell (the difference)."

Winner of the last Winston Championship and the first POWERade title (2002), Force now is focused on becoming the first NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car Champion.

-credit: jfr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , John Medlen , Mike Neff