CHANDLER, AZ (February 18, 2015) --- John Force will tell you he is part Indian on his mom’s side and the 16-time Funny Car champion is looking to represent his team, his family and his new sponsors well at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. In late January while the team tested in preparation for the upcoming season Force was invited to talk to a group from the local Chamber of Commerce along with the track management team from the Gila River tribe. Force regaled the crowd with stories and posed for photos with the excited group. At the end of the talk he thanked the Gila River tribe for giving him a place to race.
This weekend Force will be back in entertainer mode as he brings his brand new Peak Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS to the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. The undisputed winningest driver in NHRA history is ready to get back in the winner’s circle at a track that he has dominated for eight wins.
“I love this place. We tested here in January and it was great. All our Chevrolet Camaro SS hot rods were flying and the Top Fuel dragster made the quickest run in history. I have been doing this long enough to know that testing doesn’t mean anything once the season starts. I have a new team of young guys and (crew chief) Jon Schaffer is giving me a great race car. I am excited to be back out here with Peak, Lucas Oil, Chevy, Mac Tools, Auto Club and Traxxas,” said Force, who last won at the CARQUEST Nationals in 2005.
In one eight year stretch Force won in the desert seven times including an impressive strong of four wins in row from 1994-997. The closest Funny Car competitors in the win category to Force are rivals Ron Capps and Jack Beckman with three wins apiece.
“I love racing out here. We used to match race here and we tested here for years. This is a great market for NHRA drag racing and I know we love seeing the fans every year,” said Force.
Last season Force set the track elapsed time record posting the first three second run in track history. His time of 3.990 seconds earned him the No. 1 qualifier spot and he also left the desert with the track mph record 317.79 mph. He raced to a semi-final finish losing to eventual winner Alexis DeJoria.
At the start of the 2015 season Force qualified No. 3 after just three shots at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona track. A Saturday afternoon rain shower washed out the final qualifying session. The 141-time national event winner was upset in the first round by veteran Bob Bode but it did not deflate his enthusiasm for the start of another Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
“We aren’t sure what happened with the car in the first round but I know (crew chief) Jon Schaffer and the guys on this team will figure it out. We used to call him Little Jon but now I call him Big Jon because he is the one calling the shots with input from (Mike) Neff and the rest of the brain-trust. It gives me a lot of energy to have all these young guys working on my team. It takes me back to when I was just getting started and I feed off that excitement,” said Force.