John Force claims 16th NHRA Funny Car championship

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NHRA legend John Force earned his 16th Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car title in style today at the Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas, besting his daughter, Courtney Force, in the final round with a 4.06-second run (310.63 mph) to Courtney’s 4.08.

With the Vegas victory, John Force is now on a streak of three consecutive event wins going into next week’s season finale at Pomona, California. And after winning yet another Funny Car crown, the 64-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I felt 16 after I won, but I don’t want to end my career at 16 [championships],” he said according to Candida Benson of National Dragster. “I want to end it at 17 at least, so I’m going to be around for a while. You’re stuck with me because I truly do love it. The truth is if I ever had to win, this is a pretty good time to win because [sponsorship] deals need to be made next year, and I’ll be the champ while we’re making those deals.

“I love the job. I live in the gym. There ain’t nothing wrong with me. Nobody said you’ve got to quit racing. I’m going to keep doing it because it’s what I like to do.”

Also claiming an NHRA season title today in Vegas was Matt Smith, who claimed his second career Pro Stock Motorcycle championship with a final-round triumph over Jerry Savoie via a 6.991-second run (192.08 mph).

It also marked a pair of championships for the Smith family this fall, as Matt’s father, Rickie, claimed the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series title back in September.

Antron Brown and Shane Gray took top Vegas honors in Top Fuel and Pro Stock, respectively.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski