FINALS CRUNCH TIME FOR THE 16X CHAMP
The 2014 NHRA Mello Yello season is ready to cross the finish line as the teams roll into Auto Club Raceway at Pomona for this weekend’s 50th Annual Auto Club NHRA Finals. For John Force, it’s all or nothing, as he will be going full steam ahead in pursuing his 17th NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car World Championship title. When Force gets strapped into this 8000 horsepower Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang, he’ll be focused on rewriting the NHRA record books and claiming what could be his 142nd career victory, and another world title when the smoke and clutch dust clears after final eliminations this Sunday.
Force left last weekend’s NHRA Toyota Nationals in Vegas just 21 points behind current leader Matt Hagan, after suffering a final round defeat against Del Worsham.
“I want to win this championship for my partner of 29 years, Castrol, and the Ford Motor Company, who’s been with me for 11 years. They’re moving on and I’d like to bring that title home like the others. Auto Club has been with us a long time and with Traxxas, Brand Source, Mac Tools, Freightliner, and my other wonderful sponsors, I just want to win,” said John Force.
Despite any speed bumps the John Force Racing organization has recently suffered, and with the ups and downs the long season has visited on the reigning Funny Car champ, nothing will cause the winningest driver in NHRA history to lose traction, spin the tires and get out of the groove this weekend in Pomona. If anything, Force will be a like a lightning rod and rally his team. Force is the most ardent cheerleader and motivator, as this is not the first time he’s faced challenges heading into the final race of the year racing from the number two spot.
“I have to make a decision because I'm not just racing for this championship. I'm racing for this championship and the next 20 years. Right now, I’m building my team. I didn’t wait till Pomona to start; I’ve already begun that. The outcome will be what it is. But at least I know where I'm going. I couldn't wait any longer. Jimmy, we shook hands, he walked out and understood; I think he understood what I was doing,” said John Force.
With Force’s runner-up early this month at the NHRA Toyota Nationals and his 11th final round appearance this season that includes three wins (NHRA Winternationals, Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, NHRA Northwest Nationals), John Force is going for broke, as he’s approximately two rounds (21 points) behind the 2011 NHRA champ, Matt Hagan. A strong finish at the 50th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona could set up a memorable finish for the three-car John Force Racing Funny Car team of John Force, Robert Hight and Courtney Force. Hight trails points leader Matt Hagan by 150 points, while Courtney is two spots ahead in third and 121 points back. Regardless, it’s going to be a thrilling finale in Pomona as John Force wants nothing more than to win his 17th NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championship and with his drive and attitude, he could ultimately rewrite the NHRA history books once again.
President of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Inc. Worked with Mike Hollander since Tapsis, Compuserve, etc. and has posted to the website since the beginning. First Female photo-journalist to be given a garage and pit pass for the NASCAR garage, 1972 at Ontario Motor Speedway. One of first seven female writers, photographers given access to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage and pits in 1971. Past President of Greater Los Angeles Press Club, 1992-96, and first female editor of the 8-Ball publication for the Press Club