Sixteen-time Funny Car champion John Force: ‘I feel right’

Sixteen-time Funny Car champion John Force: ‘I feel right’

Photo credit: Gary Nastase / Auto Imagery
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 22) – After 16 championships and 148 victories in a glorious career, PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Funny Car driver John Force knows when things are right.

After Saturday’s two qualifying sessions for the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway, things are right.

Force is qualified in the No. 3 spot for Sunday’s final eliminations after a solid pass of 3.890 seconds at 325.53 mph in the second session – an elapsed time that broke the track record (but was topped by daughter and teammate Courtney Force on her next pass).

Force struggled during Saturday’s two sessions – but was able to get in the zone.

“Me personally, I was kind of struggling,” Force said. “Even though I didn’t get down the race track on the last run, I got my stuff together. It’s just a feeling that your body gets, and you get out of whack.

“I took a nice little vacation for a week with my family and my grandkids and my children. I came back and worked out every day – maybe I worked out too much. I was just off my game.”

Force doesn’t stay off his game long, and he’ll be primed for Sunday’s eliminations. He begins race day against No. 14 qualifier Del Worsham, who made a top lap of 4.139 seconds at 267.00 mph.

“We ran an .89 last night,” Force said. “We ended up third, and we’ll see where we go tomorrow. I’m having a good weekend. I’ve got to thank PEAK Motor Oil, Antifreeze, Coolant. We had a big show at the AAA Texas stage today, too. I don’t know who I race tomorrow – I don’t care. I feel right.

“(Amanda Busick) from FOX keeps getting on me. They knocked Rocky out, and he keeps coming back. She said, ‘Those are movies.’ I said, ‘I live by movies. I make movies every day out here.’ Rocky came back, Fast and Furious came back. It’s all a matter of how bad you want to come back.”

Force sits third in the Funny Car standings after four races, and he’s earned one victory this season – at Gainesville for career win No. 148.

“I’m not too far off,” Force said. “I won in Gainesville. We’re learning a lot about John Force Racing. We have some new teams, and I’m having a great time with (crew chief) Mike Neff and (co-crew chiefs Jon) Schaffer and (Jason) McCulloch. (Crew chief) Jimmy Prock and (co-crew chief Chris) Cunningham with Robert (Hight) are great. You look at what (crew chief) Danny (Hood) and (co-crew chief) Ronnie Thompson are doing – low ET today (for Courtney Force). One of our cars is low ET, that’s what matters. Brittany (Force) with (Crew chief) Brian Husen ended up fifth.

“My kids are learning the trade. I learn myself at 67 years old every day, and I’m going to keep doing it because I do it well.”

Elimination rounds for Sunday’s NHRA Spring Nationals begin at noon Eastern/11 a.m. Central, with television coverage on Fox Sports 1 starting at 6 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Central.