Millington: Force inching closer to Funny Car Championship

MILLINGTON, Tenn.- Perennial NHRA Funny Car champion John Force will be the first to tell you that one of his vices in life is his fondness for beer. Well, he's five races away from a 12-pack that no one but him can claim. The ...

MILLINGTON, Tenn.- Perennial NHRA Funny Car champion John Force will be the first to tell you that one of his vices in life is his fondness for beer. Well, he's five races away from a 12-pack that no one but him can claim.

The current NHRA POWERade points leader and 11-time Funny Car champion will return to the Volunteer State for the 15th annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Sept. 19-22, at Memphis Motorsports Park. The $1.9 million race is the 19th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

In what has turned out to be one of the most competitive Funny Car seasons in recent history, Force has once again found his way to the top of the competition, winning six times in eight final round appearances. Just as impressive, the other two cars that make up the three-car juggernaut that is Force Racing were in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the standings. Longtime Force teammate Tony Pedregon has four wins on the year leaving him in second, while Funny Car veteran Gary Densham, who won his first national event ever last season at Memphis, occupies the third slot with two wins on the year. The 11 total wins for Force Racing is more than three times the amount of victories earned by any other multi-car team in the category.

"You just try and hold your own out there on the track and try and keep that points lead," said Force, driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. "I'm getting closer to winning (the championship), but it ain't over yet. It's still too early yet. There are still five to go. If you go out first round, man, they can catch you quick. I just don't want to think that way or it will come back and bite me. I just want to stay focused and try and win rounds. I've been doing this for 25 years and I know how to play the game. Nothing ever changes John Force. If I make a mistake it's just because I'm having a rough day."

With little left to accomplish for the 53-year-old from Yorba Linda, Calif., each additional feat achieved by Force is just another exclamation point on an already legendary career. His 104 career wins is the most ever by an NHRA competitor as is his 11 series titles. He is the only drag racer ever named Driver of the Year (1996) for all of American motor racing and recently was the first drag racer to ever grace the cover of the highly regarded Racer publication. Despite his individual accomplishments, Force knows it's the people around him and on the team that have helped build his legacy.

"I wouldn't be here without my teammates," said Force. "Tony Pedregon and Gary Densham, and the 40 guys who keep our Castrol Fords running like they do."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Gary Densham