Force Breaks His Own Records at the 48th Gatornationals
It's hard to beat the seasoned veterans on Sunday at the Gatornationals. Since 1987, there's only been one season where John Force did not stand atop the podium in NHRA Funny Car. After qualifying for Sunday's final round, Force said, "There's no magic wand." Although there's a pit full of competitors who might disagree. "It's all about heart," added Force "let's go drag racing."
Early this year Force traded teams with son-in-law Robert Hight to shake thing up and that's exactly what happened. When Force buckled in at Gainesville Raceway for the weekend's final race, his only thoughts were to win his 148th NHRA national (99 more than second all time Ron Capps). When the smoke cleared, John Force had his eighth Gatornationals trophy in Funny Car and John Force Racing's 2500th victory.
The win was never in doubt as the 63-year old Force laid down a .071-second reaction time against the youthful Jonnie Lindberg's .115 RT for a top speed of 328.14 mph. Lindberg had eliminated season points leader Matt Hagan in a semi-final run but failed in the final round to outpace NHRA's most vocal veteran. "Robert Hight fixed my hot rod," exclaimed an excited Force. "Now, I'm singing in the rain." But, there are no dark clouds in sight as John Force Racing leaves Gainesville with most motor racing team championships in history, including the legendary F1 team of Ferrari.
Although JFR top fuel driver Brittany Force failed to reach the finals for the first time this season, 4-time Gatornationals winner Tony Schumacher didn't disappoint his fans taking his 83rd NHRA national win. Schumacher's 3.703 ET topped the speed charts at 329.26 mph. "It was a team win" said Schumacher. "I wasn't as fast as in the past. It was an outstanding job for DSR Corporation and a great start to our season." The win moves Schumacher into second place on the season just 21 points behind first and second round winner Leah Pritchett.
Once again, experience pays as Sunday's finals saw Nitro's two winningest drivers in history take home the gold. Congratulations to E3 Spark Plug's TV spokesperson for another record setting performance in NHRA Funny Car and to all our friends at John Force Racing for their 2500th victory.