John Force makes strong Winternationals run with PEAK Chevy
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 12) – John Force landed two round victories in the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season-opener, the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway, and sits third in the points standings after reaching the semifinals.
Force, who qualified No. 2, won his first-round matchup against former JFR driver and teammate Phil Burkart, then a close battle against Tommy Johnson Jr. before falling to daughter Courtney Force in the semifinals.
“I couldn’t get the job done,” Force said. “The car’s running really good. It went down the race track every run. Courtney just ran quicker. She’s my youngest daughter of four, and she lives it and loves it just like (her sister) Brittany and just like (her sister) Ashley did.”
The first run against Burkart wasn’t close, as Force’s 3.897-second pass won going away. The matchup between Force and Johnson, however, was close, with Force winning by about a half-car length on a pass of 3.897 seconds at 329.67 mph, to Johnson’s 3.939 seconds at 324.36 mph.
That set up an all-Force semifinal with Courtney Force. John Force had won eight consecutive rounds against Courtney, but that streak ended as Courtney whisked by at the end for the close victory.
“We’ve got a lot of work cut out for us, but we showed this weekend that our cars will run,” Force said. “She showed at Phoenix that she could out-run them. They’ve had more time together as a team, and we’ve made a lot of changes in our strategy, in our engine program. We’ll see how this comes out.
“Robert struggled, I struggled, and then, boom! I hit a lick. A lot of work left with that dragster. Thanks to Monster Energy, Advance Auto Parts, Auto Club and PEAK. We’ve got to sell some PEAK Motor Oil and Coolant!”
JFR cars won six rounds in Pomona, with Courtney Force racing to the final.
“I’ve got no complaints,” Force said. “(Courtney will) be second in the points, I’ll be third. We got there. That’s all you can do. You don’t get the money, you don’t get the Wally, but you get the exposure because you’re right there with them. That’s our job, to get impressions, and we did that job today for Advance and for all our sponsors, Mac Tools, Chevrolet, everybody. Not much more to say. They won; congratulate them. Now let’s go to Phoenix.”
The NHRA Arizona Nationals is set for Feb. 24-26 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz.