16-time Funny Car champion John Force makes Seattle quarterfinals appearance in PEAK Chevy

16-time Funny Car champion John Force makes
Seattle quarterfinals appearance in PEAK Chevy

SEATTLE (Aug. 6) – John Force made the quarterfinals of Sunday’s NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, the final race on the annual Western Swing for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Force, the No. 8 qualifier and eight-time winner at the Pacific Northwest track, won his opening-round matchup in the PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS against J.R. Todd before falling to teammate and race winner Robert Hight in the second round of competition. Hight’s victory over Tommy Johnson Jr. was the 250th Funny Car victory for the team.

“The car slowed down at the final few hundred feet,” the 16-time Funny Car champion said. “We made a couple of good runs out here but couldn’t get the win.”

Force’s first-round pass of 3.939 seconds at 327.03 mph was his quickest of the weekend, as he ran down Todd at by the 330-foot mark and never looked back to even the pair’s matchups at one elimination round victory apiece. But the victory also set up a meeting with Hight, who started the Western Swing with a victory at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo.

Force and Hight made identical reaction times – .087 seconds – to start the second round, but Hight slipped in front by the 60-foot mark and pulled away. Hight also faced Courtney Force in the semifinals and defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the finals for his 39th career victory.

John Force said his team will be making several changes to the car soon, specifically to the chassis. The frame was damaged in a qualifying effort in Colorado.

“We’re going back to front-half it; we’ll put another chassis in play,” said Force, who remains seventh in the Funny Car standings with two races remaining in the regular season. “We know we bent it, but it was working pretty good. Now that we have the opportunity to switch it, we’ll bring the new out and run it and we’ll front-half the other one and it will be a backup and get ready for Brainerd.”

The next stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule is the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota.

4-Second Reads:
Best Qualifying Effort: 3.973 seconds/307.23 mph (Round 1, Qualified No. 8)
Elimination Round 1 (Left Lane): 3.939 seconds/327.03 mph, def. No. 9 J.R. Todd, quickest pass of the weekend; on the throttle quick and straight down the track; vs. Todd – now 1-1 all-time; 1-1 this season; 1-0 at Seattle
Elimination Round 2 (Quarterfinals, Right Lane): 3.978 seconds/322.27 mph, lost to No. 1 Robert Hight, 3.937 seconds/323.50 mph; identical reaction times (.087 seconds) for the teammates, with Hight pulling away at 60 feet and every incremental thereafter; vs. Hight – 21-21 all-time; 0-1 this season; 0-1 at Seattle
Now 1,278-558 (1,836 rounds) all-time in elimination rounds (.696)
Now 42-28 (70 rounds) all-time in elimination rounds after qualifying No. 2 (.600)
Now 56-21 (77 rounds) all-time in elimination rounds at Pacific Raceways (.727)
Now 15-15 (30 rounds) this season in elimination rounds (.500)
Funny Car Points Standings: 1. Ron Capps 1,330; 2. Matt Hagan 1,172; 3. Robert Hight 1,164; 4. Jack Beckman 1,104; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr. 1,081; 6. Courtney Force 951; 7. John Force 877.