PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil driver John Force drops close quarterfinals race in Southern Nationals

PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil driver John Force drops
close quarterfinals race in Southern Nationals

Photo credit: Gary Nastase / Auto Imagery
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 7) – John Force ended up seven-thousandths of a second from creating an all-John Force Racing semifinals and a guaranteed trip to final of Sunday’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

The quickest qualifier in the opening session Saturday and the No. 5 qualifier overall, Force fell just a few feet from defeating Ron Capps in the quarterfinals of the race, despite a slightly better reaction time. Force, as well as teammates Courtney Force and Robert Hight, all won their first-round matchups and were pressing for spots in the semifinals.

Force won his opening-round matchup against Del Worsham in a pedalfest, his 4.158-second pass at 227.15 mph besting Worsham’s 5.032-second run at 157.56 mph. Worsham had problems midway through his run, while Force slowed in the final 200 feet. Before Worsham could get back into the race, Force throttled his PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS across the line first and into the matchup with Capps, the reigning Funny Car champ.
In the quarterfinals, Force got a slight advantage on the start – his reaction time of .058 seconds only a thousandth better than Capps’ .059 time. Capps took command at the 60-foot marker and held on at the 330-foot marker before Force edged ahead at 660 feet. But Capps got to the line first, winning by only .0075 seconds, or approximately three feet, eliminating Force from competition in Atlanta for the second consecutive season.

Officially, Capps’ pass was 3.952 seconds at 320.89 mph, while Force went 3.960 seconds at 316.01 mph. Capps went on to defeat Robert Hight in the semifinals.

“We know the road to the championship,” said Force, a seven-time winner at Atlanta. “We’ve been there before. Our sponsors believe in us because we know how to produce. We turned the corner, we believe, in the parts that we need to win. We need some time to run these cars to figure them out. We’re fast. The point is we don’t have consistency. If we find that we’ll be OK.”

Force and team will take a weekend off before returning to action for the next round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals on May 19-21 at Heartland Park Topeka.

4-Second Reads:

Elimination Run No. 1: 4.158 seconds/227.15 mph, def. No. 12 Del Worsham, 5.032 sec./157.56 mph; now 56-29 all-time against Worsham, with three straight first-round wins
Elimination Run No. 2: 3.960 seconds/316.01 mph, lost to No. 4 Ron Capps, 3.952 sec./320.89 mph; now 55-33 all-time against Capps
Force has now won his first-round matchup in five consecutive races, starting with the NHRA Gatornationals in March at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway.
Force is now 11-6 this season in elimination rounds.
Force is now 66-27 at Atlanta Dragway in elimination rounds.
Force is now 1274-549 in all-time elimination rounds.