John Force Wins Gator Nationals!
He may have been serenading the tune “Singin’ in the Rain,” but John Force was winning under the Florida sunshine Sunday in a perfectly-tuned PEAK Motor Oil and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. The 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series champion earned his record-extending 148th career victory and eighth in the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. Force defeated rookie Jonnie Lindberg – competing in his first Funny Car race – in a solid final-round matchup, giving John Force Racing its first victory of 2017 and first since last year’s fall race at Las Vegas.
The 67-year-old hadn’t won at the Gatornationals since 2001, breaking a 16-year drought, which set yet another NHRA record. But there are better ones he set as well:
- Most Funny Car victories in the Gatornationals (eight)
- Thirty seasons with at least one Funny Car victory
- Forty seasons in which he beat a new competitor to the finish line
- Oldest driver ever to win in a Funny Car
Defending NHRA Gatornationals Funny Car winner, Robert Hight, set a career-best time and speed in Sunday’s first round eliminations but ran into rookie Jonnie Lindberg in the second round, coming up short when his Camaro smoked the tires. Courtney Force stumbled in the first round due to tire smoke, falling to Jim Campbell while Brittany Force couldn’t repeat her Top Fuel victory in the NHRA Gatornationals, falling in the second-round to Steve Torrence.
The fourth round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule is the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 31-April 2.