John Force


John Force

Infobox racing driver
name = John Force


date of birth = birth date and age|1949|5|4
place of birth = Bell Gardens, California, USA

John Force (born May 4, 1949 in Bell Gardens, California) is an NHRA drag racer and 14 - time Funny Car champion. He is one of the most dominant drag racers in the sport with 126 career victories. He graduated from Bell Gardens High School and briefly attended Cerritos Junior College to play football.

Early career

Since mid-1995, Force has been a Ford driver and team owner.

Since 2000, Force has been sponsored by BP, which purchased his longtime sponsor Burmah Castrol, which had sponsored him since 1986.

The Force Racing dynasty has dominated the sport of top fuel funny car racing. In a fifteen-year span from 1990 until 2004, John Force Racing won 14 of 15 championships, losing only to Cruz Pedregon driving the McDonald's sponsored car for Larry Minor Racing in 1992. The dynasty includes a championship by Tony Pedregon in 2003, driving Force's Castrol Syntec Mustang. Tony left to join his brother Cruz at Pedregon Racing in 2004. Also, in 2004 Force has a cameo in a 2004 episode of "King of the Hill" ("Dale Be Not Proud")

2005

In 2005 however, John Force was edged out by a mere 32 points by Don Schumacher Racing's Gary Scelzi who won the NHRA 2005 Funny Car World Championship. He also came in behind Schumacher Racing's Ron Capps by only 24 points

2006

In 2006, John Force won his 14th NHRA World Funny Car Championship, defeating Ron Capps in the quarter-finals of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals which mathematically eliminated Ron Capps and teammate Robert Hight from the championship. Force went on to win the event, his third of the season and 122nd of his career.

2007

2007 was a very tough, tragic season for the Force team, beginning with the death of team driver Eric Medlen, and Force's own crash in Ennis, Texas at the 2007 O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals. Force started the year poorly, suffering a DNQ ending a 20+ year consecutive qualifying streak (no Funny Car team qualified for every race in 2007, as every driver suffered at least one DNQ; Force was also the benefactor of the NHRA's top-10 rule when he failed to qualify for a second race, at Pacific Raceways, when only one round of qualifying was held because of rain, as he was moved into the field because of his point standing.). He rebounded, winning the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee, then proceeded on to 3 more final rounds, winning another race in Sonoma, California, putting him fourth in points and allowing him to make the first cut in NHRA's new point system, the Countdown to the Championship aka the "Countdown to Eight." He stumbled again in the first two races but, again, rebounded until his crash, involving yet beating, Kenny Bernstein in the quarter-finals. Injuries he sustained in the crash side-lined Force for the rest of the year. Ironically, his win put him in fourth place, which would have allowed him to make the next cut under the new points format, if he'd been able to maintain it. He spent the remaining three races of the season recovering from his injuries and watching his team mates.

Current drivers racing under him are son-in-law Robert Hight, daughter Ashley Force, and new member Mike Neff. Neff, who was the crew chief for rival driver Gary Scelzi for the 2005 season, earned his NHRA Funny Car licence in October 2007 and began racing for the team on October 26, 2007 at the AC Delco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals.

On September 23, 2007 Force was injured in a crash at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Fall Nationals in Ennis, Texas as he crossed the finish line against Kenny Bernstein. Bernstein's Funny Car drifted into Force's lane, clipping the final timing cone and a foam block which shot into Force's lane. Initially, it was thought that the block ruptured Force's left rear tire, causing it to come apart, violently shaking the chassis until it broke apart. However, it was determined by NHRA after thorough review, that the block went behind Force's tire and was not the cause of the wreck. [ [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/092507dnspoforceupdate.105ff9951.html NHRA driver Force can't recall crash | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News ] ] Phil Burkart Jr. was added as Force's replacement for the remainder of the 2007 season, starting too at Las Vegas.

It is suspected that the violent tire-shake coupled with the controversial use of partially heat-treated chrome moly chassis tubing caused the funny car's frame rails to break. Simultaneous deployment of the car's twin parachutes inflicted further structural stress on the already failing chassis, resulting in the chassis being jerked neatly in half, at the front edge of the driver's cockpit. The front-half of Force's car veered into Bernstein's path, impacted Bernstein's car and briefly rode on top it, before slamming into the right lane's retaining wall and sliding several yards into the sand trap. The rear portion of Force's car, with Force still strapped inside, eventually came to rest against the left lane's retaining wall. News footage would show that Force's feet & legs were slightly extended beyond the breaking point of the chassis. Force was awake and alert as he was airlifted to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. The 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion suffered a compound fracture to his left ankle, a bone-deep laceration to his right knee, broken fingers and lacerations on his right hand and dislocation of his left wrist, originally diagnosed as a break. His injuries were not considered to be life-threatening.

Hight was in the Countdown to One final two-race segment, but fell in the first round of Las Vegas, and when Tony Pedregon won that race when the other three Countdown to One drivers fell in the first round, including Ron Capps, who fell to Force's replacement Burkart in the first round. Pedregon needed only to win one round to win the championship. Pedregon fell in the first round, and Hight had a chance to win the championship with a win and a National Record in elapsed time. Hight did not score the necessary time, and Pedregon won the championship.

Force holds the record for most Funny Car championships (14), and for qualifying in the most consecutive events (395), a streak that ended when he withdrew from a Houston Raceway Park event after a test run crash killed a teammate and the entire Force organization withdrew from the ensuing race.Fact|date=February 2008 His daughter Ashley Force also competes in the Funny Car class of the NHRA. John Force is the driver and public face of the team, which is led by Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly. Force is known for also being an outspoken, fast talker.

Career awards

colorbox|green Won As Driver

colorbox|red Won As Driver And Owner

colorbox|blue Owner

1990 NHRA Champion colorbox|green 1991 NHRA Champion colorbox|green

1993 NHRA Champion colorbox|green

1994 NHRA Champion colorbox|green

1995 NHRA Champion colorbox|green

1996 NHRA Champion colorbox|red

1997 NHRA Champion colorbox|red

1998 NHRA Champion colorbox|red

1999 NHRA Champion colorbox|red

2000 NHRA Champion colorbox|red

2001 NHRA Champion colorbox|red

2002 NHRA Champion colorbox|red

2003 NHRA Champion Car (Tony Pedregon Was The Driver) colorbox|blue

2004 NHRA Champion colorbox|red

2006 NHRA Champion colorbox|red

On the NHRA Top 50 Drivers, 1951-2000, John Force was ranked No. 2, behind Don Garlits.

Force has 126 Wallys in 202 Final Rounds

John Force is a 14-time NHRA Champion.

John Force's Round wins reaches 1,000 in his career and best in NHRA history at in first round of eliminations 2008 NHRA Midwest Natiionals at Gateway Int'l Raceway in St. Louis, MO.

Driving Force

John is featured on A&E's reality show ""Driving Force"" with three of his daughters (Ashley, Courtney, and Brittany)

Trivia

* Force suffered from polio as a child, which resulted in one leg growing shorter then the other, although he has this affliction, it is such that he does not need special shoes that make up for the difference.
* Force is the only driver to have won more than ten championships in his division.
* Of the 21 current NHRA Powerade series venues, the only venue Force has not won is Summit Motorsports Park, which began holding events in 2007.
*John Force became the first Funny Car drag racer to win 1,000 qualifying races.
*John Force appeared on an episode, in a cameo of the show "King of the Hill" called Dale Be Not Proud, in which a character named Dale Gribble donates a kidney to Force, after which it appears he does not need it.

References

* [http://www.muscularmustangs.com/2005/force.php Interview with John Force]
* [http://www.bmeltd.com/Dragster/tubulartales.htm The Truth about Force's crash and heat-treated funny car chassis]
* [http://blogs.courant.com/autoracing/2007/09/thinking-back-t.html Thinking Back To An Eye-Opening Day With John Force]

Notes

External links

* [http://www.johnforceracing.com/ Offical website]
* [http://www.nhra.com/drivers/driver.asp?driverid=26 Pro file] on NHRA.com
* [http://www.aetv.com/drivingforce/ Driving Force website]
* [http://www.aetv.com/drivingforce/df_meet_the_forces.jsp?index=0&type=actor Driving Force profile]
* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1648142/ John Force on IMDb]


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