16-time Funny Car champion John Force confident in PEAK Chevy team despite first-round loss

16-time Funny Car champion John Force confident in
PEAK Chevy team despite first-round loss

CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 26) – PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil/Republic Services driver John Force delivered an Aaron Rodgers-type message on Sunday.

Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback, famously reminded nervous fans after a 1-2 start to 2014 to “r-e-l-a-x.” Green Bay finished 12-4 and reached the NFC championship game that season.

Force has a similar message after he fell in the first round of the NHRA Arizona Nationals on Sunday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

“It’s early in the season,” Force said. “We’ve got a whole new team over here, even though I’ve raced with Jimmy Prock. A lot of cars out there are struggling. We’ll be fast.”

Prock is Force’s crew chief, having joined John Force Racing for the 2017 season. Co-crew chief Chris Cunningham is also new, as are several of Force’s team members.

So despite falling to No. 5 qualifier Tim Wilkerson in the first round, Force isn’t worried.

“The deal is to stay in the Countdown, try to win races – that’s what we’re here for,” Force said. “But mainly, to be prepared for (the U.S. Nationals at) Indy. I want to be prepared for every race, but we’re trying stuff. We’re going to stay here all day tomorrow and test – all four cars.

“We’ve still got a car here that carries Advance, PEAK, Auto Club, Chevrolet and Monster. We’re in this game. That’s what it’s all about.”

The Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster of Brittany Force raced to the Top Fuel final round.

John Force’s car smoked the tires and made a pass of 6.551 seconds at 103.40 mph, while Wilkerson made a solid 3.844-second run at 331.94 mph.

“We’re having fun here today watching my girls,” Force said. “Brittany (Force is) going rounds. She struggled last week, and let’s see if she can win another round or two. You’ve got to earn that right to win, and we’re heading in the right direction.

“I’m not where I want to be. Even if I won this race, I wouldn’t be where I want to be. We want to keep getting better, that’s the key.”

Force returns to action for the NHRA Gatornationals on March 17-19 at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla.