Force returns to 'Favorite Track' trying to extend another streak 12-Time Champion has won at least 3 tour events for 13 straight years ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 10-12) -- Ever since Billy Meyer commissioned drag racing's first, and only,...
Force returns to 'Favorite Track' trying to extend another streak
12-Time Champion has won at least 3 tour events for 13 straight years
ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 10-12) -- Ever since Billy Meyer commissioned drag racing's first, and only, all-concrete quarter mile back in 1986, the Texas Motorplex has been the track of preference for 12-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force.
So, where better for the 108-time tour winner to get his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang off high center and back in the winners circle?
That opportunity presents itself this week when the NHRA POWERade tour returns to the Motorplex for the 18th renewal of the O'Reilly Fall Nationals?
A Force victory would accomplish two things. One, it would deny Whit Bazemore the full complement of points available, thereby insuring that the Dodge driver remains in second place behind Force's teammate and protege, Tony Pedregon.
Secondly, it would enable Force to extend to 14 the number of consecutive seasons in which he has won three or more NHRA tour events. JIt's because he has been a finalist in 11 of his last 15 appearances at The Motorplex that the Texas track may offer the best opportunity for Force's return to a winners' circle he has visited just twice this year at Denver, Colo., and Seattle, Wash.
That said, and in the interest of fair reporting, the Motorplex also is a track on which drag racing's biggest winner has experienced almost as many career lows as he has highs.
The track on which he was the first Funny Car driver to break the 4.80 second barrier (1998) is the same one on which he banged the guardwall three times in the 1992 finals in a futile attempt to catch Cruz Pedregon.
The track on which he won consecutive Fall Nationals titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000, each one from the No. 1 qualifying position, is the same one on which his car was struck from behind by one driven by Ray Higley in a bizarre incident beyond the finish line in 1997.
And, while he clinched four of his last eight series titles at The Motorplex, it was on the same track that, for all intents, he lost the 1992 championship, the only title that hasn't been his in the last 13 seasons.
Still, it is the promise of "rip their hearts out" performance, often unfulfilled, that has kept the track at the top of Force's "favorites list."
"The track will take anything you throw at it," Force said. "But you gotta have the right conditions. You're not going to run any records in the heat."
Or, he might have added, in the rain. Rain has negatively impacted all but five events in the 2003 series, prompting some to suggest that the acronym NHRA is short for something other than National Hot Rod Association like, for instance, Non-ending Heavy Rain Accumulation.
Regardless, Force and his Crew Chiefs, Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly, are hoping that this week's rain-free forecast isn't just a hoax.
"If we get weather, they could set all the records," Force said. "Funny Car. Top Fuel. Pro Stock. If we get what we had in Chicago (two weeks ago), you'll see a 4.60 Funny Car. And," he winked, "I hope it's ours."