PEAK driver John Force chases eighth Atlanta victory from the No. 5 spot for Southern Nationals

PEAK driver John Force chases eighth Atlanta victory
from the No. 5 spot for Southern Nationals

Photo credit: Gary Nastase / Auto Imagery
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 6) – PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Funny Car driver John Force will attempt to win his eighth NHRA Southern Nationals on Sunday, and he starts from the No. 5 qualifying position in the Funny Car event in the seventh stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Force’s best time of 3.969 seconds at 307.65 mph stood quickest in the opening round of Saturday’s two qualifying sessions, but he couldn’t improve in the second session after dropping a cylinder early in that run. Friday’s qualifying sessions were canceled due to inclement weather.

“We got two runs – the same as everyone else,” Force said. “We dropped a hole during that run or else we would have run a 3.92. I tried to carry the front end but it wouldn’t steer. Day’s over for qualifying, but tomorrow is what counts. We’re going to come out here to win with one of these Funny Cars, and I plan on being right in the hunt.

He will line up against No. 12 and fellow past Funny Car champion Del Worsham, who posted a time of 4.599 seconds at 225.52 mph.

Elimination rounds for the NHRA Southern Nationals begin at 11 a.m. Eastern. Fox Sports 1 begins its coverage at 6 p.m. Eastern.

4-Second Reads:
Qualifying Run No. 1: 3.969 seconds at 307.65 mph; dropped a cylinder at the start; quickest of session (3 bonus points)
Qualifying Run No. 2: 5.649 seconds at 123.18 mph; smoked tires at 300-foot mark despite quickest 60-foot time of session; 11th quickest of session (0 bonus points) and fifth in qualifying
This marks the first time Force has qualified No. 5 since May 24, 2015, at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas. This is the 51st time Force has qualified No. 5.
Force has seven career victories from the No. 5 qualifying position. His last victory from No. 5 came July 24, 2011, when he defeated Matt Hagan at Bandimere Speedway in Denver.
Force’s most recent victory came in the 2017 NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
Force’s matchup against Del Worsham marks the 85th time the two will compete in an elimination round. Force holds the advantage 55-29, with two consecutive victories.
Force has qualified No. 5 at Atlanta Dragway on three previous occasions – 1985, 2001 and 2005. His 2005 victory was his most recent win at the track.
Force has seven victories at Atlanta: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2005.
Force and the rest of the John Force Racing team are sporting decals from Classic Collision, one of the largest collision groups in the United States. JFR’s paint partner, PPG, also supplies paint to Classic Collision, which is headquartered in nearby Sandy Springs, Ga. “They are great guys,” Force said. “I had a lot of fun with them here.”