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Photo credit: Gary Nastase / Auto Imagery
EPPING, N.H. (June 3) – If anyone can find a way, it’s 16-time Funny Car champion John Force.
Force is looking for speed from his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS after qualifying No. 13 for the NHRA New England Nationals on Saturday at New England Dragway.
Force knows the speed is there, as a test at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis confirmed some setup changers worked. But the team has yet to transfer that speed here.
“It’s a combination we ran .82 with at Indy in testing after Topeka,” Force said. “It was fast, and somewhere, we haven’t found it yet here.
“The dragster (of Brittany Force) is No. 2, Robert (Hight) was low ET and Courtney (Force) is fast,” Force said. “I’m not where I want to be. I’ve got a brand-new combination, tested at Indianapolis, and it was fast. It’s not on here, but we found some issues, and had to make some changes. We just got behind.”
Force had a best pass of 3.965 seconds at 323.43 mph and will line up against No. 4 qualifier Matt Hagan in the first round on Sunday. Hagan’s best run was 3.874 seconds at 333.00 mph.
“For tomorrow, we got (Matt) Hagan, and we’re gonna load ‘er up and see what we can get away with,” Force said. “She’ll run an .82, she did that at Indy, and then we’ll be back in the game. We’re off, but we’re gonna fix it.”
Force has a stellar record in the five years since New England Dragway came back on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. He won here in 2015, went to the final in 2013 (losing to Courtney) and went to the semifinals in 2014 and 2016. He has an enviable 11-3 won-loss record in 14 rounds of racing.
The NHRA New England Nationals begins at 11 a.m. Eastern Sunday. Fox Sports 1 will provide three hours of live finals coverage starting at 3 p.m. Eastern.
Qualifying Round 1 (Right Lane): 6.620 sec./103.21 mph; shook tires and shut off
Qualifying Round 2 (Left Lane): 3.965 sec./323.43 mph; shook but made best run of the weekend
Qualifying Round 3 (Right Lane): 6.777 sec./102.31 mph; car shook and smoked rear tires
Qualifying Round 4 (Left Lane): 4.098 sec./282.19 mph; pedaled car but kept No. 13 position
This is the first time Force has qualified No. 13 this season and only the 11th time in 699 races in which he has qualified. His most recent race having qualified No. 13 was last year at Chicago.
Force has five round wins in 15 elimination rounds from the No. 13 position, and has made it to the finals once, at Seattle, in 2007, when he lost to Jack Beckman. His last elimination round win from No. 13 came in 2009, when he bested teammate Robert Hight at Englishtown.
Force’s victory at New England Dragway came in 2015, when he defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round.
Force qualified outside the top half of the bracket only once before at Epping, at No. 9 in 2014. Still, Force advanced to the semifinals of that race.
Force has won all four of his previous first-round matchups at New England Dragway. In fact, he’s never lost a second-round matchup either.
Force’s matchup against Matt Hagan marks the 35th time the two will compete in an elimination round. Force won the last matchup, a second-rounder at Las Vegas in April. Force owns a 20-14 advantage, and is 2-0 against Hagan at Epping.
About John Force Racing
John Force Racing, Inc., based in Yorba Linda, Calif., and Brownsburg, Ind., is a professional sports dynasty, one that has earned 18 NHRA championships and claimed 251 professional victories in Funny Car (248) and Top Fuel (3). Led by team owner and driver John Force, a 16-time Funny Car Champion, 1996 Driver of the Year for all of American motor racing, 2011 International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee, and driver of the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, JFR is additionally comprised of Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS driver Robert Hight, 2009 Funny Car champion and 2005 NHRA Rookie of the Year; Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS driver Courtney Force, 2012 NHRA Rookie of the Year; and Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster driver Brittany Force, 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year. For more information, please visit johnforceracing.com.
John Force Racing Public Relations
John Force Racing Public Relations