John Force, the winningest driver in NHRA drag racing history, will race a special Jeff Gordon tribute car in this weekend’s NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway, the start of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff.
Beginning the quest for his 17th career Funny Car championship, Force will drive a one-of-a-kind Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car dedicated to Gordon and his legendary career in NASCAR.
“This special Chevy Funny Car is just a way for me, my family, my team, my sponsors, NHRA and the fans to say thank you for being a great champion and being such a great driver in NASCAR,” Force said of Gordon. “I put as many flames as could fit on my hot rod in Jeff’s honor.”
Force, who has a record 143 wins in his career, finished runner-up in last year’s Carolina Nationals (which was subsequently completed two weeks later at the Texas Motorplex after rain at Charlotte washed out eliminations).
With two wins thus far this season, Force enters the Countdown in fifth place. He’s only won once at zMAX Dragway: in the inaugural Four-Wide Nationals in 2010.
“Winning that first Four-Wide race was big,” Force said in a media release. “(Track owners) Bruton and Marcus Smith built this amazing race track and I wanted to get that first Four-Wide trophy.
“This is NASCAR country so we will see a lot of new fans and I love talking to them about all kinds of racing. … This will be exciting to get the Countdown started and I have a really good young team.
“I feel really good about these young guys. They make me feel young and energized because I see their excitement and their passion. … I am ready for the fight for this championship.”