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John Force Wins Four-Wides For ‘My Girl’

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 1 2022

Funny Car’s 16-time champion John Force won at zMAX on Sunday . (Photo courtesy of the NHRA)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – Sixteen-time Funny Car champion John Force desperately wanted to win Sunday’s NHRA Circle K Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway for his oldest daughter Adria, who’s recovering from medical issues, and he didn’t let her down.  

Force claimed his 155th victory just four days shy of his 73rd birthday, his first this year and his second straight in the dragway’s four-wide event. Force also was victorious in zMAX Dragway’s inaugural four-wide event in 2010. However, he said this victory meant more to him than any of the others because he was able to secure it for his daughter.

“If you could see my girl, it would break your heart,” said Force, who noted he was taking his trophy to Adria. “Now she’s walking, everything’s coming back. I’m just amazed.

“The hardest part is I haven’t been a good Dad … but the family has come together. She’s got months of rehab ahead of her, a lot of work, but I think it’s going to be OK. I’m with her every day now when I go home.”  

Force dominated zMAX Dragway’s three-day event. He claimed his 164th No. 1 qualifying position on Saturday, set two track records – one ET and the other speed — in second-round qualifying Friday night and then broke the speed record Sunday in the first round of eliminations with a 335.07 mph pass. In Sunday’s final Funny Car quad, Force defeated teammate Robert Hight, current NHRA Funny Car champion Ron Capps and Mike McIntire with a 3.914-second ET, 328.86 mph pass, but he couldn’t believe his good fortune.

“Going up for the final I’m struggling as a driver,” Force said.

He asked crew chief Daniel Hood to fire him up. It was then Hood told him they were changing engines because the one in his car was “dead.”

“All of a sudden they started ripping it apart,” Force said. “I said, ‘No! It’s time to go up! You’ve got to do this in 10 minutes.’ They made it and it was amazing. The high energy went straight to the top. It’s hard to find that moment …when you really need that fire in your belly.   

“Things in my career have just happened. To be able to come out here with a motor that we didn’t think would start and then suddenly be able to win the race … it’s like somebody up there likes me. It’s like it’s destiny. This gave me confidence.”

Force revealed he’s preparing to sign a three-year contract with Peak.

“As tired as I am, as much as I’ve been beat up, if you want it bad enough you can get it,” Force continued. “It’ll happen and you can get yourself back on top. It’s like you’re being tested all the time.” 

During Force’s post-race interview, the California native reflected on his life and career. He thanked his wife, Laurie, for helping build their company, expressed his love for her and noted he’s been “trying to find God for a lot of years.”

“Usually, I say, ‘Lord, I know you got bigger battles than me and I’m just nothing, but in the end, always take care of my family and the drivers. Keep everybody safe,’” Force said in explaining the prayer he says before each event. “But (today) I asked if I could win this for Adria (because) that would really be something special.

“I’ve been really humbled lately. I’m scared to death to leave it (drag racing). That really scares me. It’s all I’ve got. I would give up every trophy just to start all over and have the chance to live it again.”

Force is fourth in the Funny Car standings heading to Richmond, Va., for the May 13-15 Virginia NHRA Nationals. Matt Hagan leads the standings.

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 1 2022
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