Force after 150th win: “The monkey taught me so much”
John Force says that waiting 25 races for his 150th NHRA Funny Car triumph was a monkey on his back which “drives you nuts”, after clinching his landmark triumph at Pacific Raceways on Sunday.
Force, who turned 70 in May, beat Jim Campbell with the quickest time of eliminations at 3.895 seconds, produced a 3.909sec run at 327.95 mph to beat teammate and son-in-law Robert Hight and then thwarted Don Schumacher Racing’s Jack Beckman with a 4.014 at 320.97mph.
That set up a meeting with Ron Capps – the driver who lies second in the all-time Funny Car win standings with 62 – who he had raced against 19 times in Finals. Force then rocketed down Pacific Raceways’ 1320ft in 3.971 seconds at 320.58 mph so that he now owns a 12-8 Final win record over Capps.
The typically garrulous Force explained: “Well, it’s been 25 races, Denver last year. [Crew chief] Brian Corradi and Daniel Hood and Tim Fabrisi have had to put up with me all year, not happy with the way the car steered, how I sat in it, not happy with so many things.
“And then I got the monkey on my back and it drives you nuts. [But] the monkey taught me so much – that you need to focus on your car if you want to do good. I'm just doing stuff all the time and I don't even know my car. Corradi and [Austin] Coil said, ‘You've got to get to know your car. You've got to live it. You've got to love it. You've got to study the drivers.’ I said, ‘I do all that,’ but I wasn't.
“So sometimes you need a slap in the face. And that was the monkey that made me focus to live my car. It’s been fast the last four or five races. Give me a good racecar, I can race. I may not be as young as these kids and a hot shot on that [start-light] tree. But I’m excited [about] the future of our sport. There’s so much potential out here.”
Force, who didn’t score his first NHRA victory until he was 38 years old and whose first 50 races on the NHRA circuit produced no wins and 17 DNQs, has now won at least one race in 32 of the last 33 seasons.
He reflected: “Never thought I’d be lucky enough to get five wins. I remember going to nine finals and somebody says, ‘Hey, is this like winning your first championship or your first final round?’ I said, ‘Don’t put that in my head. It’s too crowded in there!’
“I had to stay away from it, not think about it. TV was setting up special shows about me and then I fail. But I didn’t fail; I was doing the best I could. Failure is part of it and that’s what I told [daughter] Brittany. When you get that gut ache and turn it into a positive – that’s the key.”
Across the four NHRA categories – Funny Car, Top Fuel, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – the closest rival to Force’s winning stats is Warren Johnson, who clocked 97 Pro Stock wins before retiring in 2013. Among active drivers, four-time Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson has 93 wins. Eight-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher, inactive this season, has won 84 events.
On the subject of retirement, Force commented: “I have no complaints. I’m 70 years old and I do it because I love the fans, and God will tell me when it’s time. You’ll know when your old body says you’re done. I’m giving it all I got and I’m glad I got 150.”
John Force scores 150th Funny Car win
Pritchett, Capps, Line win Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Jules Gounon says that winning at Daytona was an appropriate way for co-driver Cooper MacNeil to retire from racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The boss of Honda Performance Developments has expressed his amazement at the high levels of reliability demonstrated by the all-new GTP prototypes in last weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona.
After much anticipation, the new dawn for sportscar racing got underway with a result that mirrored the pattern of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's previous DPi era. Here's how Acura once again took top honours in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a 1-2 led by Meyer Shank Racing.
Wayne Taylor Racing's Filipe Albuquerque admits that he knew it would be a tall order to beat the sister Acura of Meyer Shank Racing in the closing stages of last weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Subscribe and access Motorsport.com with your ad-blocker.
From Formula 1 to MotoGP we report straight from the paddock because we love our sport, just like you. In order to keep delivering our expert journalism, our website uses advertising. Still, we want to give you the opportunity to enjoy an ad-free and tracker-free website and to continue using your adblocker.
You have 2 options:
- Become a subscriber.
- Disable your adblocker.