Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The Force Is With Us
John Force won his 15th NHRA Funny Car Championship a couple of weekends ago at the season ending event out in Pomona, CA. Force entered the event trailing points leader Matt Hagan by 38 points. Since each round of eliminations is worth 20 points, Force had to go two more rounds than Hagan to come from behind and win the title.
Hagan lost a close race in the first round. Force went on to win the event, clinching the championship in style.
John Force is the most recognizable and most popular driver in drag racing. His boisterous style causes fans to either love him or hate him. His teamates love him, his competitors pretty much all hate him - though there is a lot of respect. You don't have to like someone to respect their accomplishments.
Force runs a racing empire. His son-in-law, Robert Hight, drives one of his team cars, and won the championship last year. His daugher, Ashley, drives a team car, and is a very talented driver. Another daughter, Courtney, is in the sportman categories, and will be testing in a Funny Car soon (a car with her name on it was displayed at Pomona).
Force has also endured a lot ot pain and tragedy. Eric Medlen, a young driver full of promise, died in a Force team car during a practice run. Force himself barely survived a horrific crash in Dallas two years ago. At age 62, John is decades older than almost all of the competitors trying to knock him off. How many more years will he run? He says he will as long as he can still win. The way he's going, retirement won't be for another decade or so!
Force has had more than his share of 'moments' during his career. Here are a couple, leading off with the Dallas crash that came very close to ending that career.