It’s Time - John Force Needs To Win
It’s called Funny Car, but John Force may be the only one not laughing.
What’s going on with Funny Car racer Force? His team members of Mike Neff and Robert Hight have the No. 1 and No. 3 positions in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car point standings and Force stands No. 7.
He’s the defending Funny Car champion and should have been driver of the year in 2010. As we get to the halfway mark of the regular season, we haven’t seen the talkative Force hold up one pewter Wally so far in 2011.
Don’t get me wrong. John Force Racing is still just as strong as ever in 2011. It’s just that its namesake is not winning.
Looking overall at the team, Hight has three wins and Neff one. Neff has reached the final round three additional times and that’s the reason he’s points leader going into Englishtown.
Force himself goes into Englishtown with four wins (1993, 1996, 1998, and 1999) to his record. In the last 11 years, he’s winless.
The SuperNationals at Old Township Raceway Park is one the major races on the circuit. It’s been running consistently since 1971 and in its perfect location offers great sea level air that drive engines to reach maximum performance.
That’s where Force needs to step up the pace. At the end of 2010, he had six wins, five runnerups, and his 15th championship. Yes, as long as he’s in the Top 10 in the Full Throttle points, he still stands a phenomenal chance of repeating when the Countdown comes.
However, for now, the NHRA legion of fans need Force to win.
It’s not a question of if he has the heart and desire to keep doing this. There's never been a doubt about that. He’s just not getting the win light to turn on in his lane.
He’s a marvel behind the microphone and it doesn’t matter what the question is, Force will tell you everything on his mind. His ramblings are historic and definitely worth remembering.
Some of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard in my life have been told in the press box after a race. His descriptions are spot on and there’s no faking anything he says. It’s true. It’s hilarious.
He’ll be quick to tell you he’s been on fire more times than you ever could ever count. His post-run interviews at the far end are priceless. As a pit note reporter in NASCAR for many years, I would put him right up there with Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker as guys who could give you classic one-liners right out of the car. It’s a Vegas act not to be missed.
That personality has materialized a marriage between himself and 25-year sponsor, BP Lubricants and its brand, Castrol. That incorporation has led to 1,087 round wins, 132 race wins, 138 poles, and 15 NHRA Funny Car championships.
That’s why we want to see Force back in the winner’s circle. Nothing against anyone else winning, but at this point of the season, a Force win in the metro area of New York could be just the ignition to bring more eyes to the sport adding more sizzle to the NHRA summer sprint.
He hasn’t won at Raceway Park since 1999. It’s his longest drought, at one particular track, of his entire career. It’s in the home state of sponsor Castrol. Being 62 years of age has no influence on the matter.
Just when you think he’s down, that’s when Force is at his best. Tell him he can’t and he’ll show you he can. He’s already proved that by bouncing back after his terrible racing accident in Dallas a few years ago when doctors doubted his ability to walk, much less drive.
When are we going to see that smiling face back in the winner’s circle? Let Force tell you himself.
“I’ve got a good hot rod, two good crew chiefs (in Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli and Ron Douglas) and a team of young guys that I love,” Force said. “And I’m driving my baby, Ashley’s, car (the Ford in which Ashley Force Hood won the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in both 2009 and 2010). What could be better? It’s a long season. I ain’t worried.”
He’s my pick to win Funny Car title at the SuperNationals this weekend. Feel the Force.