Top 20 moments of 2013, #20: Sweet 16 for John Force counts down the top 20 moments of 2013, and start things off with John Force claiming his 16th NHRA title.

If you had told anyone at the mid-year point of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series campaign that John Force would win his 16th Funny Car championship, no doubt they would have been rolling on the floor. Force was mired in a so-what season, getting round wins but certainly not setting the world on fire, as he’s done since the 1990s.

A conversation with wife Laurie, a swap of teams with son-in-law Robert Hight, a huge learning curve with a new car, and Force secured four wins in nine final rounds over the 24-race battle and came away with his latest title, and first with Jimmy Prock tuning the Castrol Ford Mustang. This title followed Force’s 15th in 2010, just three years after he nearly died in a racing accident. He secured this championship with one race to go by beating daughter Courtney in the Las Vegas finals.

2013 Funny Car champion John Force
2013 Funny Car champion John Force

Photo by: Anne Proffit

Force and his Castrol-backed Ford Mustang came alive in NHRA’s six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs, going to five consecutive final rounds and winning three of those. For the second time in the past four seasons, he put Don Schumacher’s Matt Hagan - who had a near-lock on the title coming into the playoffs - back in the hauler and relegated Hagan to also-ran status, as he did in 2010.

It’s hard to believe that Force is now 64 years old; his actions belie his age and his ability to race on the 1000-foot dragstrip defies comprehension. It seems like the guy’s got more energy than the balance of the Funny Car paddock and with his will to succeed, John Force pretty much propels himself and his car to the win lights.

John Force
John Force

Photo by: Anne Proffit

And now that he’s got those 16 championships and has two daughters, Courtney in a Funny Car and Brittany in a Top Fuel dragster (a first for John Force Racing) along with Hight in a third flopper, what’s next for Force? He needs to find a new sponsor, with Castrol leaving next year and a new car manufacturer to team with as Ford departs next year as well. Those questions might have hurt John’s mid-season form in 2013 but they sure didn’t stop him from getting a sweet 16th.

And now he wants more. He’s coming back for another record, a 17th title in 2014. Don’t bet against John Force!

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan
Article type Special feature
Tags ashley force, champion, crash, daughters, force, ford, funny car, john, mello hello, nhra