(UPDATED) NHRA: John Force to announce new sponsor Saturday, new manufacturer Tuesday


UPDATED: John Force to be sponsored in 2015 by PEAK: ‘I’m 65 but put me in a firesuit and I’m 21, Brad Pitt and bad ass’

What happens in Vegas supposedly stays in Vegas.

Unless you’re 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force. He’s got a lot to tell about his team and racing organization over the next few days, and it’s not staying in Sin City.

Force has two major announcements that his fans have been patiently waiting for nearly a year, ever since Ford and Castrol announced late last year that they would not return as Force’s primary manufacturer and primary sponsor, respectively, after the 2014 season.

Saturday at 3 pm PT (6 pm ET)  between qualifying rounds at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Force is expected to make the long-awaited announcement of the primary sponsor on his car for the 2015 season.

MORE: NHRA: John Force rolls to No. 1 Funny Car qualifier in first race without former crew chief Jimmy Prock

Force is then expected to announce the car manufacturer he’ll align himself with, and the model car he’ll drive in 2015, this coming Tuesday during the first day of the mammoth SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) automotive performance and aftermarket product show, also in Las Vegas.

All kinds of rumors have floated through the sport over the last several months as to which company will replace Castrol as Force’s primary sponsor, everything from the possibility of a beer company to some type of insurance or automotive performance product or service. We’ve also heard rumors that Castrol may not be going away completely, that it may remain in an associate sponsorship role, which has not been confirmed.

Likewise for the manufacturer and model. With Ford not returning, Force has essentially three manufacturers to pick from: Toyota, Chevrolet or Dodge. He and his 320-mph Funny Car would be a perfect fit for the new Dodge Challenger Hellcat, the most powerful (707 mph) American-made street car ever made.

But with several of his competitors racing Toyota Camry Funny Cars, including Cruz Pedregon and Alexis DeJoria, that could be another possibility for Force.

And then there’s Chevrolet, which is heavily represented in Pro Stock, but has no entries in the Funny Car ranks. If Force were to align with Chevrolet, he’d have the manufacturer and brand essentially all to himself.

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Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.