Sixteen-time Funny Car champ John Force looks to close season with another Pomona win

Sixteen-time Funny Car champ John Force looks
to close season with another Pomona win

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6) – John Force is teetering on the brink of becoming a 19-time, maybe even 20-time, NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series championship-winning owner in this weekend’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Teammate Robert Hight leads the Funny Car points standings, while daughter Brittany Force is within 20 points – less than a round – of the Top Fuel points lead, sitting second in her category. Force himself is a 16-time winning driver, and has two other championships as an owner, including Hight’s 2009 crown.

As a driver, Force looks to move into the top five of the standings as the 2017 season comes to a close in the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, his home track. The Yorba Linda, Calif., driver is sixth in the standings, up two positions from where he started the Countdown to the Championship, the final six races that determines champions in NHRA’s professional series. Force also looks to add to his one victory – which occurred in the NHRA Gatornationals – in March at Gainesville, Fla.

“I can’t run for the title – I’m not in the hunt, but my teams are running for the championship,” Force said. “Robert Hight, (daughter) Courtney (Force) is still close – she might need a miracle – and Brittany’s in the hunt. That’s what I’m really excited about.”

Undoubtedly, no one in NHRA history has been as good as Force at Pomona. He owns 16 victories – half of which have come in the Auto Club NHRA Finals – as well as 16 No. 1s at the track. His last victory in the Finals came in 2010, when he clinched his 15th Funny Car title.

Force started the 2017 season strong, taking his PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS to the semifinals at Pomona in the annual NHRA Winternationals. During that race weekend, he established then career bests in time and speed – 3.849 seconds at 335.15 mph. Both of those marks remain in the top-five of the Hall of Famer’s career.

“I’m going to enjoy Pomona,” Force said. “I’m going to go out there and race the race and see where it goes. I’ve got a good car. It’s starting the corner.”

The Auto Club NHRA Finals begins with a pair of qualifying sessions at 12:45 and 3:30 p.m. Pacific on Friday, and two sessions at 12:45 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Elimination rounds begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Fox Sports 1 will provide live television coverage of Friday’s qualifying starting at 3:30 p.m. Pacific, with Saturday’s live coverage beginning at 3 p.m. Pacific. Elimination rounds will be shown starting at 1 p.m. Pacific on Sunday.

4-Second Reads:
John Force has competed in 73 races at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, and qualified for all but four races. He has qualified for every race at Pomona since the 1988 NHRA Winternationals.
Force has 16 victories at Pomona, including eight in the Auto Club NHRA Finals. His last NHRA Finals victory came in 2010, when he defeated Gary Densham, Bob Bode, Melanie Troxel and Jeff Arend.
Overall, Force has made 25 finals at Pomona, appearing in approximately more than one of every three Pomona race finals (.342). His last finals appearance in the NHRA Finals came in 2014.
Force is 127-53 in 180 career elimination rounds at Pomona (.706), and 69-26 in 95 rounds in the NHRA Finals (.726).
Force has qualified No. 1 on 16 occasions at Pomona, including six times for the NHRA Finals. The most recent No. 1 at Pomona came in the 2014 Winternationals, and most recent NHRA Finals No. 1 was in 2013, the same weekend he won his 16th Funny Car title.
Of the 69 races for which Force has qualified at Pomona, he has qualified in the top half of the bracket 57 times. He qualified in the top eight in every race between the 1994 Finals and the 2011 Winternationals, a streak of 34 consecutive races.
Force is 50-19 in 69 first-round elimination matchups at Pomona. His longest streak was 13, between the 1994 and 2000 NHRA Finals.
Force entered the Countdown to the Championship eighth in Funny Car points standings, and is currently sixth, 81 points out of fifth and 30 points ahead of seventh. Following Sunday’s race, Force will finish in the top 10 in points for an unprecedented 33rd consecutive season.
In 2017, Force has one victory, a 22-22 record in 44 elimination rounds, and one No. 1.
Force has faced 18 different drivers this season in elimination rounds and has at least one win against 14 of them. He has a season-high four elimination-round wins over Del Worsham.
In his career, Force has 148 victories and 1,285 elimination-round wins, both records. He has 155 No. 1 qualifying spots, of which 60 have resulted in victories, also both records.
Force has qualified for 215 consecutive races, dating back to 2008 race in Concord, N.C. This marks the sixth longest streak in NHRA history and fourth active. Force’s streak of 395 straight races between the 1988 Winternationals and the 2007 NHRA Gatornationals remains the benchmark in all of NHRA’s professional categories.
Most recent NHRA victory – 2017 NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.
Most recent No. 1 qualifying effort – 2017 NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.
Best time/speed at Pomona – 3.849 seconds (2017 #1 Q3); 335.15 mph (2017 #1 Q3)
Best career time/speed – 3.832 seconds (2017 Gainesville Q2/2017 St. Louis Q2); 337.16 mph (2017 Sonoma Q4)