John Force to come out swinging in season opener

A new season starts at Pomona.

POMONA, Calif. – In 2013, John Force won his 16th NHRA Funny Car championship, an unprecedented record by any stretch of the imagination. But that was last year and he knows he’ll have a bigger target on his back, even if it’s from fellow team teammates and family members Courtney Force and Robert Hight. As the Castrol/JFR Teams roll into the hallowed grounds of Auto Club Raceway for the 54th running of the NHRA Circle K Winternationals, all eyes will be on this 64-year-old racing icon, but that’s nothing new to John Force as he starts his 37th pro season. He’ll be driving his 8000-horsepower Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang in pursuit of a 17th NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car Championship.

John Force
John Force

Photo by: NHRA

At the conclusion of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season, the newly crowned 16-time champion tried to get some R&R with his family but it’s not always that easy. “We didn’t have much of an offseason but it did give us a chance to get caught up on business things. We did spend a couple weeks in Lake Tahoe with the family and that was nice,” said Force, the winningest driver in NHRA history. “We’re still chasing corporate America for 2015 but luckily we’re financially stable right now through the end of this season with Castrol, Ford, Auto Club, Traxxas, Mac Tools and others.”

As soon as the ball dropped in Times Square heralding in the New Year, John was itching to get back in his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Mustang Funny Car. Before he could slip into his fireproof suit, Force headed to the North American International Auto Show in the Motor City. Force was a guest of Ford Motor Company and took part in the “Behind the Blue Oval” media event. He mixed it up with 2012 NASCAR champ Brad Keselowski and Ford NASCAR racing legends Ned and Dale Jarrett. Ken Block, Vaughn Gittin Jr., Brian Deegan and Ozz Negri were also part the Ford Racing discussion. With bloggers and members of the media firing off questions to the drivers, SCCA Trans Am legend Dorsey Schroeder had his hands full being the master of ceremonies during this standing room only event.

From Detroit, Force hopped on a plane and headed Florida for the annual PRO Winter Warm Up at Palm Beach International Raceway. Here, he met up with his fellow team drivers Brittany, Courtney and Robert Hight, and used this event to test a variety of components in their supercharged racing machines before heading west to Pomona. “Being down here testing at Palm Beach International Raceway gives you a head start on the season when it opens at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. A lot of teams don’t have the budgets, they come here, run for a day or two but luckily we can test for five days,” commented Force.

The PRO Winter Warm Up brought nitro Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars to southern Florida and was a real treat for the fans. They also had had a surprise that has hasn’t happened on a drag strip in over a decade, pairing up a Top Fueler and Funny Car. “We had some fun racing Brittany in her Castrol EDGE Dragster in the final. Something the fans haven’t seen since the Winston No-Bull Shootout back in 1999 and 2000. I remember racing (Bob) Vandergriff (Jr.) in his dragster and was lucky enough to get the win despite both of us smoking the tires. I don’t know if I’ll get the chance to race Brittany again in my lifetime so it was very special,” said a thrilled Force.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Dale Jarrett , John Force , Dorsey Schroeder , Brad Keselowski , Ken Block , Robert Hight , Brian Deegan , Vaughn Gittin Jr. , Courtney Force
Article type Preview
Tags jfr, john force, nhra, pomona, winternationals