KENT, Wash. (AP) — John Force raced to his record-extending 150th Funny Car victory Sunday in the NHRA Northwest Nationals.
The 70-year-old Force won for the first time since the Colorado event last year, beating Ron Capps in the final with a 3.971-second run at 320.58 mph in the Peak Auto Lighting Chevrolet.
“It’s been 25 races, since Denver last year,” Force said. “(Crew chief Brian) Corradi and Daniel Hood and (Tim) Fabrisi have had to put up with me all year, not happy with the way the car steered, how I sat in it, not happy with so many things. And then I got the monkey on my back and it drives you nuts. You go to bed every night, but the monkey taught me so much, that you need to focus on your car if you want to do good.
“I’m just doing stuff all the time and I don’t even know my car. And you know Corradi and Coil said. ‘You’ve got to get to know your car. You’ve got to live it, you’ve got to love it. You’ve got to study the drivers.’ I said I do all that, but I wasn’t. So sometimes you need a slap in the face. And that was the monkey that made me focus.”
The 16-time season champion won for the ninth time at Pacific Raceways.
“Give me a good race car, I can race,” Force said. “I may not be as young as these kids and a hot shot on that tree, but I can still get it done. I’m glad it’s over and I can calm down now and not live with that, thinking you’d never get it. I know I’ve only got a few years left. I want to enjoy it. I want to have fun. And when you can’t win … I’ve been trained to win and it’s just it’s just not fun.”
Force’s first career win came June 28, 1987, in Montreal — exactly 700 Funny Car races ago.
Austin Prock won in Top Fuel, and Matt Hartford topped the Pro Stock field.
Prock won for the first time in his career, beating points leader Steve Torrence in the final with a 3.875 at 307.86. Hartford denied Greg Anderson’s bid to sweep the Western Swing, going 6.606 at 209.33 in the final round in a Camaro.