DENVER, CO – John Force and the Blue Def Peak Chevrolet Camaro SS raced to their fourth final of the season and came up a few thousandths of a second from winning for the third time in 2015. The six-time Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals winner was vying for his seventh win at Bandimere Speedway against Jack Beckman but he lost a close final round 4.291 seconds to 4.19 seconds.
“Hey, we are a new team, except for me. But for Blue Def, we showed them that we could give them a race car that could run as well as all of our sponsors including Chevrolet. We will just move on to the next one. It’s the Western swing and we have always done pretty well on it. But right now my race cars are still in a building stage and I have one car right now that I have got to make the move, and that’s Traxxas, but we will get her done,” said Force from his pit area after the final.

He moved up to third place in the Mello Yello Funny Car point standing and is only 47 points out of second place, just over two rounds of racing. Force was the No. 1 qualifier for the second year in a row and he defeated John Hale, then Cruz Pedregon before dispatching former teammate Tony Pedregon in the semi-finals. This was Force’s 241st final round and he was seeking his 144th professional Funny Car win. Force lost to Jack Beckman in the final round of Topeka earlier this season
Force last won the Mile High Nationals in 2011 when he defeated Matt Hagan. His six wins at Bandimere Speedway occurred in 2011, 2003, 2001, 1996, 1995 and 1994.
In the Top Fuel ranks third year driver Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel team raced to the semi-finals for the fourth time in 2015. They moved up into the No. 7 position in the Top Fuel point standings and are only 26 points out of 6th place. Force was the No. 3 qualifier and she outran Terry McMillen in the first round before taking out former Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon in the second round.
“Yeah, (moving up to 7th in points is) definitely a big deal. Right now with only a few races left before the Countdown begins we want to make sure we stay in there. We just have to keep going rounds. So I wasn’t even expecting it today but we bumped up from the eighth spot and moved around Langdon and moved up to the number seven spot. I am very proud of my entire Monster Energy team, especially my crew chiefs Todd Smith and Ronnie Thompson. They put together a consistent race car all weekend. It went down the track every single run and that is a tough thing to do, especially at Denver where everything is completely different. You start back at the very beginning. You start all over again,” said Force.
In the semi-finals she faced 8-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher and the 2013 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner came up a few ticks short on the scoreboard in a close race. Schumacher and Force left the starting line side by side and at the finish line it was 3.896 to 3.916 seconds with the US Army dragster getting to the stripe first.
“I am very happy about our weekend in making it all the way to the semi-finals. I am very proud of coming from a very tough weekend in Chicago and then going into this weekend. It’s tough to have a week off, and tough to come back from a red light. That was my biggest concern this weekend and worried about screwing up again and red-lighting again. No matter how much you try and cut that out first round, that is going through your head. So I definitely think I am slowly moving back. I didn’t turn a red light on, was definitely moving down the track, and had decent lights overall throughout the day.”
The Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car advanced into race day as the No. 5 qualifier and had a decided qualifying performance advantage, 4.051 to 4.172 seconds. Unfortunately the much warmer conditions wrecked-havoc on the entire Funny Car field and many higher seeded Funny Cars fell victim to tire smoke in the first round. Hight and his Auto Club Chevy were well out in front of Tony Pedregon when his Goodyear slicks lost traction with the Bandimere Speedway race surface at about 600 feet. The loss of momentum opened the door for Pedregon, a two-time Funny Car world champion, to drive around Hight just before the finish line. Hight’s time of 4.568 seconds was not enough to defeat Pedregon’s 4.316 second time.
“We were just too aggressive. We create a lot of power with this Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car. The key is transferring it to the track without overpowering it. We are learning every run and we ran well in qualifying. You look at the stands here and they were packed all weekend,” said Hight who held onto his Top Ten position in the Mello Yello points standings.
“The Bandimere family and NHRA did a great job selling this event. I was glad to see John get his Camaro to the final round again and move up in the points. We will be right back at it in Sonoma.”
Courtney Force made an uncharacteristic move in the first round of eliminations today against fellow female competitor Alexis DeJoria. It was a double red light for both female drivers that left Force with the short end of the stick. Force ran the third-quickest pass of the opening session at 4.221 seconds, 304.39 mph and went -.224 red next to DeJoria’s 4.330 ET at 271.52 mph and .006 red. It was a crucial round for No. 10 in points that had both drivers on their toes.
“We had a tough weekend out here in Denver. My team gave me a great race car in round one. It was a big round for us, but unfortunately my foot wanted to leave before the tree came down. It happens as a driver, but it’s definitely one of the toughest parts of the job; making a mistake when you’re team has done their job,” said Force.
Entering race day, Force was 6-4 against DeJoria in previous events, but DeJoria held the No. 10 spot, just eleven points ahead of the Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car driver. This was the eighth time they have met in the first round of eliminations and the second time they have raced at Denver. Force took the win in the first round here in 2013.
“The worst part is letting my team down, so from this weekend forward I’m going to be ultra-focused. We’re going to leave this weekend in the past and move on to Sonoma. We still have four races before the Countdown to the championship starts and we’re going to be pushing hard. We definitely like a challenge and that’s exactly what we have right now,” said Force.