Bristol Dragway

Photo/videos courtesy NHRA

NHRA: Millican gets first career Top Fuel win in 254 starts; Capps, Laughlin also win

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Sunday’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals will be something Clay Millican will never forget.

Not only was the race held in Tennessee – at the legendary Thunder Valley (a.k.a Bristol Dragway) – it was also the first career NHRA Top Fuel win for Volunteer State resident Millican.

TOP FUEL: What makes the win all the more impressive is that it was Millican’s first win in 254 career Top Fuel starts and nine final round appearances.

Millican (3.825 seconds at 316.38 mph) defeated Leah Pritchett (3.881 at 307.09) became the 103rd different winner in Top Fuel history.

“There were times I ever wondered if this was going to happen,” Millican said. “I don’t deserve this credit. I’m really happy for David Grubnic and all of the boys who work on this car and I mean that one-hundred percent.”

FUNNY CAR: Ron Capps earned his fifth win in the first 11 national events of the 24-race 2017 schedule, as well as his 55th career Funny Car win.

The defending NHRA Funny Car world champ (4.054 seconds at 317.05 mph) defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman (4.040 at 319.29). It was a better launch at the starting line that propelled Capps to the win.

“We’ve gotten a few lucky rounds, but it’s been preparation in the offseason,” Capps stated. “We had runs on Sunday against four of the toughest cars, drivers and crew chiefs combined. You read down the list of people we had to beat in a new car that was prepared. There are not very many teams that are that prepared to pull a car out and have a quicker set-up than we were.”

The win ties Capps with 16-time national champion John Force for most Funny Car wins at Bristol with four victories apiece.

PRO STOCK: Alex Laughlin (6.718 seconds at 205.04 mph) earned his first win of the season and the second win of his Pro Stock career, defeating Bo Butner (6.729 seconds at 205.79 mph).

Laughlin, who reached his fourth final round of the season, becomes the eighth different winner in Pro Stock in the first 11 races of 2017.

“We didn’t really have anything handed to us; we had some good matchups all day,” Laughlin stated. “I definitely feel like I had a point to prove. We have a competitive car on the starting line. I came into this weekend with the confidence to win.”

Plus, in a shocker, neither Greg Anderson nor teammate Jason Line reached the final round for the first time since 2014.

The 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues next weekend at Norwalk, Ohio, in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals June 22-25.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Clay Millican; 2.  Leah Pritchett; 3.  Shawn Langdon; 4.  Steve Torrence; 5.  Scott Palmer; 6.Brittany Force; 7.  Antron Brown; 8.  Mike Salinas; 9.  Kebin Kinsley; 10.  Tony Schumacher; 11.Terry McMillen; 12.  Doug Kalitta; 13.  Troy Coughlin Jr.; 14.  Chris Karamesines; 15.  Pat Dakin; 16.  Kyle Wurtzel.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps; 2.  Jack Beckman; 3.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 4.  Matt Hagan; 5.  Robert Hight; 6.  Tim Wilkerson; 7.  Courtney Force; 8.  John Force; 9.  Del Worsham; 10.  Alexis DeJoria; 11.  Cruz Pedregon; 12.  J.R. Todd; 13.  Jonnie Lindberg; 14.  Jim Campbell; 15.  Jeff Diehl; 16.  Bob Bode.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Alex Laughlin; 2.  Bo Butner; 3.  Erica Enders; 4.  Tanner Gray; 5.  Shane Gray; 6.  Jeg Coughlin; 7.  Vincent Nobile; 8.  Allen Johnson; 9.  Jason Line; 10.  Greg Anderson; 11.  Drew Skillman; 12.  Alan Prusiensky; 13.  Wally Stroupe.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Clay Millican, 3.825 seconds, 316.38 mph  def. Leah Pritchett, 3.881 seconds, 307.09 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.054, 317.05  def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.040, 319.29.

PRO STOCK: Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.718, 205.04  def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.729, 205.79.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Antron Brown, 3.952, 286.62 def. Pat Dakin, 12.230, 56.62; Clay Millican, 5.313,139.40 def. Kyle Wurtzel, Broke; Shawn Langdon, 4.183, 255.53 def. Doug Kalitta, 4.414, 206.35; Steve Torrence, 4.280, 203.80 def. Chris Karamesines, 8.710, 63.35; Leah Pritchett, 4.378, 186.51 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., 4.497, 189.26; Brittany Force, 3.897, 310.55 def. Terry McMillen, 4.283, 252.19; Scott Palmer, 3.969, 307.16 def. Tony Schumacher, 4.076, 275.96; Mike Salinas, 3.855,320.05 def. Kebin Kinsley, 3.850, 317.87;

QUARTERFINALS — Pritchett, 7.094, 84.32 def. Palmer, Foul – Red Light; Langdon, 4.251, 258.37 def.

Brown, 4.310, 263.26; Torrence, 4.000, 309.56 def. Salinas, Broke; Millican, 4.011, 294.18 def. Force, 4.060, 267.85;

SEMIFINALS — Pritchett, 3.798, 319.90 def. Langdon, 3.901, 308.00; Millican, 3.812, 319.90 def. Torrence, 3.949, 303.57;

FINAL — Millican, 3.825, 316.38 def. Pritchett, 3.881, 307.09.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.132, 255.43 def. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.305, 240.89; Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.367, 233.12 def. Bob Bode, Dodge Charger, Broke; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.985, 322.58 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 6.461, 105.19; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.387, 233.48 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 6.307, 105.26; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.172, 303.43 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.302, 275.28; John Force, Camaro, 4.136, 312.42 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.211, 303.43; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.104, 315.34 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.246, 278.75; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.105, 314.17 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 5.901, 122.44;

QUARTERFINALS — Beckman, 4.321, 276.75 def. C. Force, 4.343, 221.42; Capps, 4.090, 314.31 def. Hight, 4.124, 310.55; Johnson Jr., 4.083, 314.53 def. Wilkerson, 4.220, 262.18; Hagan, 4.202,306.95 def. J. Force, Foul – Centerline;

SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 4.009, 318.99 def. Johnson Jr., 4.043, 313.29; Capps, 4.045, 314.61 def. Hagan, 5.264, 168.43;

FINAL — Capps, 4.054, 317.05 def. Beckman, 4.040, 319.29.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.761, 204.88 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.735, 205.13; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.752, 205.57 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.765, 203.74; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.743, 204.54 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.748, 204.94; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.736, 204.82 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.758, 204.60; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.742, 205.38 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.807, 203.61; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.714, 205.79 def. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, Foul- Red Light; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.740, 205.26 was unopposed;

QUARTERFINALS — Enders, 6.761, 204.88 def. Nobile, 16.442, 49.55; Laughlin, 6.769, 204.54 def. Coughlin, 10.491, 95.69; T. Gray, 6.748, 204.94 def. S. Gray, 6.783, 205.01; Butner, 6.763, 204.76 was unopposed;

SEMIFINALS — Butner, 6.732, 205.44 def. Enders, 6.745, 205.01; Laughlin, 6.767, 204.48 def. T. Gray, Foul – Red Light;

FINAL — Laughlin, 6.718, 205.04 def. Butner, 6.729, 205.79.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Steve Torrence, 954; 2.  Leah Pritchett, 943; 3.  Antron Brown, 934; 4.  Tony Schumacher, 801; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 678; 6.  Brittany Force, 649; 7.  Clay Millican, 639; 8.  Troy Coughlin Jr., 443; 9.  Scott Palmer, 432; 10.  Terry McMillen, 424.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps, 1,044; 2.  Matt Hagan, 881; 3.  Jack Beckman, 748; 4.  Robert Hight, 707; 5.

Courtney Force, 704; 6.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 663; 7.  John Force, 641; 8.  Tim Wilkerson, 490; 9. J.R. Todd, 476; 10.  Cruz Pedregon, 397.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Bo Butner, 945; 2.  Greg Anderson, 835; 3.  Tanner Gray, 830; 4.  Jeg Coughlin, 766; 5.  Jason Line, 702; 6.  Erica Enders, 657; 7.  Vincent Nobile, 617; 8.  Drew Skillman, 536; 9.  Shane Gray, 434; 10.  Chris McGaha, 421.

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NHRA: Langdon (TF), Johnson (FC), Line (PS) are Bristol winners

(Photo courtesy NHRA)
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Don Schumacher Racing dominated the finals in Sunday’s Top Fuel and Funny Car matchups in the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol (Tennessee) Dragway.

Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) defeated fellow DSR teammates Tony Schumacher and Matt Hagan in each of their respective final round appearances.

Meanwhile, Jason Line continued his domination in Pro Stock for KB Racing, earning his sixth win in the first 11 races of the 24-race NHRA national event schedule.

Langdon reached (3.838 seconds at 322.19 mph) and emerged victorious in his first final round appearance of the season, defeating Schumacher (3.934 at 310.70 mph).

It was Langdon’s 12th career win, his second career win at Bristol and saw him jump up to sixth place in the Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings.

“We really did struggle at the beginning of the year,” Langdon, who won the 2013 Top Fuel championship, said in a media release. “Everybody at Don Schumacher Racing came together and everybody there helped out; it’s a big team. I have to thank all the other crews and our Red Fuel crew. This is a big win for us and we are excited.”

The win propels Langdon into the sixth spot for the upcoming Top Fuel Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Labor Day weekend at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

Schumacher, meanwhile, who struggled in the early part of the season, appears to be back on track, now having finished runner-up in the last two races on the NHRA national event schedule. Schumacher is now fifth in the standings.

It was Langdon’s second win for DSR. He also won last season’s finale at Pomona, California.

In Funny Car, Johnson roared to his first win of the season and 13th of his career. Johnson (4.038 seconds at 313.22 mph) defeated teammate Hagan (4.030 seconds at 317.57 mph)

It was Johnson’s second career win at Bristol and improved his ranking to seventh place in the Funny Car point standings.

“We’re just slow starters, but we’re strong finishers,” Johnson said of his first win and second final round appearance this season. “The guys kept working hard and have kept their heads down. We got hot in Epping (last weekend in New Hampshire) with a runner-up finish and we are on a roll now and we’re looking good.”

Like Langdon did in Top Fuel, Johnson locked himself into a spot in the Funny Car portion of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout. The eighth/final spot of the bonus event held on will be decided by a fan vote.

Lastly, in Pro Stock, Line (6.668 seconds at 207.59 mph) earned his sixth win of 2016 and 43rd of his career, defeating teammate Greg Anderson (6.694 seconds at 207.62 mph), who has won the other five races.

“It’s been amazing,” said Line, who has raced to every final round this season except one. “I am so thrilled to be up here, you just can’t imagine.

“I am living my dream. The fact that I am getting to do this and have been so successful this year is awesome.”

Line and Anderson remain 1-2 in the Pro Stock standings.

The NHRA hits the midpoint of the 24-race season next weekend (June 23-26) in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Shawn Langdon; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Doug Kalitta; 4.  Antron Brown; 5.  Steve Torrence; 6. Richie Crampton; 7.  Brittany Force; 8.  Pat Dakin; 9.  Leah Pritchett; 10.  Clay Millican; 11. J.R. Todd; 12.  Kyle Wurtzel; 13.  Chris Karamesines; 14.  Terry McMillen; 15.  Terry Haddock; 16. Scott Palmer.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 2.  Matt Hagan; 3.  Alexis DeJoria; 4.  Ron Capps; 5.  Jack Beckman; 6. Courtney Force; 7.  Robert Hight; 8.  Del Worsham; 9.  John Hale; 10.  Chad Head; 11.  John Force; 12.  Tim Wilkerson; 13.  Jeff Diehl; 14.  Dave Richards; 15.  Jim Campbell; 16.  Cruz Pedregon.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Jason Line; 2.  Greg Anderson; 3.  Jeg Coughlin; 4.  Drew Skillman; 5.  Vincent Nobile; 6. Allen Johnson; 7.  Shane Gray; 8.  Bo Butner; 9.  Erica Enders; 10.  Alex Laughlin; 11.  John Gaydosh Jr; 12.  Chris McGaha; 13.  V. Gaines; 14.  Dave River.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL RESULTS:

Top Fuel — Shawn Langdon, 3.838 seconds, 322.19 mph  def. Tony Schumacher, 3.924 seconds, 310.70 mph.

Funny Car — Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.038, 313.22  def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.030, 317.57.

Pro Stock — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.668, 207.59  def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.694, 207.62.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Pat Dakin, 3.821, 292.65 def. Clay Millican, 3.841, 322.65; Shawn Langdon, 3.817, 323.89 def. Terry McMillen, 4.357, 195.96; Brittany Force, 3.842, 317.42 def. Chris Karamesines, 4.243, 220.12; Steve Torrence, 3.823, 325.14 def. Terry Haddock, 4.645, 173.72; Doug Kalitta, 3.783, 329.34 def. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.917, 300.46; Antron Brown, 3.842, 315.12 def. Scott Palmer, 5.456, 127.76; Richie Crampton, 3.812, 314.83 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.838, 320.13; Tony Schumacher, 3.794, 324.90 def. J.R. Todd, 3.873, 314.61; QUARTERFINALS — Langdon, 3.835, 319.07 def. Force, 4.089, 276.80; Brown, 3.856, 314.31 def. Crampton, 3.937, 257.24; Schumacher, 3.802, 326.32 def. Torrence, 3.835, 320.97; Kalitta, 3.821, 323.89 def. Dakin, 8.486, 71.22; SEMIFINALS — Langdon, 4.464, 265.53 def. Kalitta, 5.350, 188.52; Schumacher, 3.840, 325.61 def. Brown, 8.399, 84.20; FINAL — Langdon, 3.838, 322.19 def. Schumacher, 3.924, 310.70.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.945, 309.49 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.614, 176.12; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.978, 315.86 def. Jim Campbell, Toyota Camry, Foul – Red Light; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.961, 323.04 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.186, 255.34; Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.000, 319.67 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.581, 133.43; Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.984, 320.89 def. Dave Richards, Mustang, 7.636, 65.61; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.988, 316.38 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, Foul – Centerline; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.026, 315.93 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.489, 226.32; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.974, 322.73 def. John Force, Camaro, 4.503, 197.74; QUARTERFINALS — Hagan, 4.048, 316.82 def. C. Force, 4.048, 313.66; Johnson Jr., 3.990, 314.83 def. Hight, 4.095, 283.85; DeJoria, 4.012, 314.53 def. Worsham, 8.397, 80.47; Capps, 3.990, 315.05 def. Beckman, 4.007, 317.19; SEMIFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.039, 312.42 def. DeJoria, 4.138, 288.33; Hagan, 5.190, 220.98 def. Capps, 5.989, 158.13; FINAL — Johnson Jr., 4.038, 313.22 def. Hagan, 4.030, 317.57.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.752, 206.86 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.796, 205.63; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.695, 207.59 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.760, 206.29; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.688, 207.75 def. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.716, 206.32; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.689, 207.37 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 9.479, 96.16; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.650, 208.97 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, Broke – No Show; Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.716, 205.54 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.645, 207.85; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.657, 208.07 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.790, 202.94; QUARTERFINALS — Coughlin, 6.746, 204.63 def. Johnson, 6.971, 167.32; Skillman, 6.702, 206.76 def. Nobile, 6.715, 206.86; Anderson, 6.668, 207.56 def. Gray, 7.165, 150.88; Line, 6.668, 207.34 was unopposed; SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.688, 207.66 def. Skillman, 14.723, 56.33; Anderson, 6.690, 207.56 def. Coughlin, 10.882, 80.81; FINAL — Line, 6.668, 207.59 def. Anderson, 6.694, 207.62.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Doug Kalitta, 926; 2.  Antron Brown, 873; 3.  Steve Torrence, 846; 4.  Brittany Force, 754; 5. Tony Schumacher, 675; 6.  Shawn Langdon, 595; 7.  J.R. Todd, 562; 8.  Clay Millican, 540; 9. Richie Crampton, 535; 10.  Leah Pritchett, 412.

Funny Car: 1.  Ron Capps, 841; 2.  Jack Beckman, 786; 3.  Courtney Force, 741; 4.  Matt Hagan, 710; 5.  Del Worsham, 701; 6.  Tim Wilkerson, 691; 7.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 675; 8.  Robert Hight, 643; 9.  John Force, 615; 10.  Alexis DeJoria, 588.

Pro Stock: 1.  Jason Line, 1,263; 2.  Greg Anderson, 1,170; 3.  Bo Butner, 758; 4.  Allen Johnson, 668; 5. Drew Skillman, 625; 6.  Vincent Nobile, 535; 7.  Chris McGaha, 524; 8.  Jeg Coughlin, 496; 9. Shane Gray, 458; 10.  Alex Laughlin, 445.

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With 2-race win streak, Ron Capps’ Funny Car success is serious business

(Photo: NHRA)
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If 50 truly is the new 40, maybe even the new 30, then soon-to-be 51-year-old Ron Capps is proving he still has a lot of good, quality drag racing left in him.

The driver of the Don Schumacher Racing NAPA Funny Car is enjoying one of his best seasons yet in his 20-year Funny Car career. He’s driving like he’s just entering the prime of his career.

Capps is riding a two-race winning streak and has three wins overall in 2016 – the most of any Funny Car driver – starting with a triumph in the season-opening WinterNationals.

2016_Ron_Capps head shot

In addition, he’s back atop the Funny Car point standings for the second time in 2016 heading into this weekend’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee.

Capps also has earned No. 1 qualifying honors in the last two races, the first time he’s ever achieved that in his career.

And in typical Capps fashion, he gives props to his team rather than himself for the success his NAPA Dodge Charger has enjoyed thus far in the first 10 races of the 24-race season.

“I almost felt embarrassed driving this car because it’s so good,” Capps said in a media release. “(Crew chief Rahn) Tobler and the NAPA Know How guys have given me such a good car.”

There’s good reasoning to think Capps’ winning streak will continue at Bristol this weekend: he’s won there three times in his career (2001, 2006 and 2012), and finished runner-up a fourth time (last year’s race there, losing to DSR teammate Matt Hagan).

Capps will be making his 470th career start this weekend, dating back to when he first came on the NHRA scene as a Top Fuel driver in 1995 before switching to Funny Car in 1997.

But again, rather than talking about himself and what he’s achieved this season, Capps gives his team credit.

“It’s important to me that a lot of the credit goes not only to our NAPA team but also to the hard work by our guys at the DSR fabrication shop,” Capps said. “We’re having a lot of success because of our fab shop, Tobler and John Medlen’s vision and machining skill.”

While Medlen is assistant crew chief for the Funny Car of Capps’ teammate, Jack Beckman (who Capps beat in the final this past Sunday at New Hampshire), his talent and ideas are spread across all four of DSR’s Funny Car teams.

“That’s what happens when you have an in-house fabrication and chassis shop with the best in the business and an organization that encourages everyone to work together,” Capps said.

If Capps indeed wins at Bristol, it would be the 49th triumph of his NHRA career (he also has 46 runner-up finishes), one day before he turns 51 … but there’s no question he’s driving like he’s 41, maybe even 31.

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John Force to be inducted into Bristol Dragway’s Thunder Valley Hall of Fame on Sunday

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For more than 30 years and 16 national Funny Car championships, John Force has been a thunderous influence in NHRA drag racing.

So it’s fitting that the winningest driver in NHRA history will be honored this weekend at one of the most popular dragstrips in the country, Bristol Dragway – otherwise known as Thunder Valley.

Force will be inducted into the track’s Hall of Fame during driver introductions prior to Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Force will join a number of other luminaries that have been inducted to the track’s Hall, including Speedway Motorsports Inc. executive chairman Bruton Smith, legendary racer “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, NHRA multi-team owner Don Schumacher and former Bristol Dragway/Bristol Motor Speedway general manager Jeff Byrd.

Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Dragway and Bristol Motor Speedway, issued a statement honoring Force’s induction into the track’s Hall:

“As NHRA celebrates 50 Years of Funny Car, it makes perfect sense to honor John as a Legend of Thunder Valley. From his victories at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals to his 1999 Winston Showdown win in his iconic Superman scheme, great stories about John are continually told, and we’re delighted to honor him during race weekend.”

Force is the winningest Funny Car driver at Thunder Valley with four wins there. He also has a runner-up finish, was No. 1 qualifier once and also has an additional victory as a team owner.

Force also holds the current Bristol Dragway Funny Car record for both elapsed time (3.978 seconds) and speed (323.43 mph).

One of Force’s biggest accomplishments came in 1999 during the non-points Winston Showdown exhibition race that pitted Funny Cars vs. Top Fuel dragsters.

Driving a special Superman-themed Funny Car, Force defeated Top Fuel driver Bob Vandergriff Jr. in the final round to claim the event’s overall victory.

It was that win that also prompted NHRA to return to Bristol Dragway for the first national event held there since 1967.

Prior to Sunday’s induction, Force will take part with fans and daughters and fellow drag racers Courtney and Brittany Force in a pre-race track walk. Fans that attend the race will receive special edition hero cards to mark Force’s induction as well as his achievements at Thunder Valley.

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