John Force Celebrates His 150th Win in NHRA Funny Car
John Force, the legendary driver of the PEAK Chevrolet Camaro, claimed his first NHRA win on June 28, 1987 some 777 races ago. On Sunday at the 32nd annual Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals, Force moved a step closer to earning his 150th career Wally when his semifinal matchup with "Fast" Jack Beckman saw the veteran driver smoke his tires leaving the start. Force had eliminated Jim Campbell and point's leader Robert Hight, who is also a John Force Racing teammate, on his way to his 253rd final round against longtime rival Ron Capps.
It would be the 121st final round for Capps, who is second all-time in Funny Car wins to John Force. Capps eliminated Tim Wilkerson, defending Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd (who got sideways at mid track) and Matt Hagan on his way to Sunday's championship round. Anticipation had been building in the pits for months after the 61-year old Force posted win number 149 at Denver last year after defeating Capps at the Mile High National. Ironically, the first of Capps 62 victories came at Pacific Raceways but in Top Fuel in 1995.
Capps, who had not made a final round since Richmond in mid-May, faced his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan in the semifinals. Capps beat the Sonoma runner-up in a side-by-side three-second battle posting a 3.97 to Hagan's 3.98, to advance to the money round. At the runoff area, Force told reporters that, with the win over Capps, he had finally gotten the monkey off his back but added that he had learned a lot from the monkey about what he wasn't doing and needed to do get back to the winner's circle. Compared to last season's explosive runs, keeping the super charger and hood in tack on the Brian Corradi-tuned PEAK Camaro seems to be the answer.
Make plans now to attend the 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series as John Force continues his quest to make history Aug. 16-18 when the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals visit Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn.