John Force on verge of earning second Western Swing sweep in NHRA history

(Photos courtesy NHRA)

John Force is on the verge of adding to his long list of historical accomplishments and achievements this weekend in suburban Seattle.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion is seeking to sweep the sport’s “Western Swing” – back-to-back-to-back races for the second time in his career. No other Funny Car driver has ever won the Swing other than Force.

Force has already won the first two legs of the swing: Denver and Sonoma. If he reaches and wins this Sunday’s final round of the NHRA Nationals, he’ll mirror the accomplishment he achieved by sweeping the Swing in 1994.

2016_John_Force headshot

And given his past success at Seattle, the numbers and odds would appear to be in his favor of pulling off the sweep this weekend:

  • Of Force’s 145 national event wins, eight have come at this weekend’s host track, Pacific Raceways, in Kent, Washington.
  • Force has a career round record of 55-19 there.
  • He’s reached the final round at Seattle 10 times, winning eight.
  • His last win at Seattle was 2014, when he qualified No. 1 and defeated long-time friend Gary Densham in the final round.
  • Has qualified No. 1 six times and in the top four 14 times at Seattle.
  • His first race at Seattle was 37 years ago in 1979, shortly after Force turned 30. He’s now 67.
  • Force has won at least two races in a row 28 times, including his most recent two races.
  • He’s won three races in a row 12 times (the last time in 2013 to clinch his 16th and most recent Funny Car championship), four in a row twice and a record five straight in 1993.
  • Force almost repeated the Western Swing sweep in 2003, winning at Denver and Seattle, but lost in the semifinals at Sonoma.

Force spoke about the potential of setting NHRA history for the second time in his career. Here are some excerpts of his comments:

Q) How satisfying is this two-race winning streak?

Force: “It is exciting. … I cried a lot about hard times but it takes money to make this game. I’m working with the right people, like Mike Neff and Alan Johnson who are in charge of my Funny Car and Top Fuel programs. Mentally, it helps to work with my (team) president (and son-in-law) Robert Hight as we put the band back together so to speak and it is starting to show, it is starting to turn the corner.

“In our races too, luck is a big part of the game. … If you look at the last two weekends the cars have gone out, Robert and Courtney (Force) are because of me. We all have the same tune-up and we are all helping each other. Its hurts us, but helps me, but in the end we are all part of the same team.”

Q) Your crew chief, Jon Schaffer, is only 27 years old. Plus, the majority of your team is on the young side. How do you keep them focused and remain hungry heading to Seattle?

Force: “Schaffer, along with Nick Casertano are very important, they manage those guys and we talked about it. Let the crew have a dinner, have some drinks on Sunday but the preparation they make at these tracks is what will make us try to win the sweep in Seattle.

“And that is what we said after Denver going into Sonoma, keep a lid on them. The road is tough on these kids and I have a young team. We have seen mistakes like any team out here but we have addressed it. We will be ready for Seattle with them.”

Q) What do you feel your chances are going into Seattle?

Force: “I’m going in with three Funny Cars that is going to try to defend it and if any of us get a win, the win is what is crucial. Do I want to get the Swing? Without a doubt.

“I talked with (former crew chief) Austin Coil this morning and he was congratulating me. Said I drove (at Sonoma) like I drive 20 years ago when we started beating them and when we were first winning. He can see it because he taught me.

“My chances to win the Swing? As good as anybody else’s. I like Seattle, good air, good racetrack. The fans are great, let’s see if we can go give them a show. That is what we are trying to do. I want to win championships.

“… To win the Swing a lot comes into play. The pressure comes in from the media and the fans. Then you can’t let your mindset change. You have to be able to run with the pack. Keep your mindset right and you need destiny.”

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Supercross 2023: Results and points after Seattle


The final results from the Monster Energy Supercross race in Seattle suggests the season is turning into a two-rider battle as Eli Tomac scored his sixth win of the season to tie Cooper Webb for the points’ lead and Chase Sexton crashed in yet another race.

Tomac downplayed the neck strain that caused him to lose the red plate for two weeks, but without that holding him back, it would appear it might have been a bigger problem than he admitted. Despite finishing on the podium in Detroit, Tomac has not shown the late-race strength everyone has come to expect. He was in a slump after scoring a season-worst in Indianapolis and described his sixth win as a “bounce back”.

With this win, Tomac tied James Stewart for second on the all-time list with 50 career Supercross victories. Six rounds remain and there is no sign that Tomac is slowing down. Jeremy McGrath’s 72 wins remains untouchable, for the moment at least.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

Cooper Webb was disappointed with second-place, but he recognized the Supercross results at Seattle could have been much worse. He rode in fifth for the first nine laps of the race, behind Tomac and Sexton. When Sexton crashed from the lead and Tomac took the top spot, Webb knew he could not afford to give up that many points and so he dug deep and found enough points to share the red plate when the series returns in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona for a Triple Crown event.

Justin Barcia scored his third podium of the season, breaking out of a threeway tie of riders who have not been the presumed favorites to win the championship. Barcia scored the podium without drama or controversy. It was his fourth consecutive top-five and his 10th straight finish of eighth or better.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Jason Anderson kept his perfect record of top-10s alive with a fourth-place finish. Tied for fourth in the standings and 49 out of the lead, his season has been like a death of a thousand cuts. He’s ridden exceptionally well, but the Big Three have simply been better.

Sexton rebounded from his fall to finish fifth. He entered the race 17 points out of the lead and lost another five in Seattle. Mistakes have cost Sexton 22 points in the last three races and that is precisely how far he is behind Tomac and Webb. Unless those two riders bobble, this deficit cannot overcome.

The rider who ties Anderson for fourth in the points, Ken Roczen finished just outside the top five in sixth after he battled for a podium position early in the race.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

The 250 West riders got back in action after four rounds of sitting on the sideline and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left of: in Victory Lane. Lawrence now has four wins and a second-place finish in five rounds. One simply doesn’t get close to perfection than that.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but two races though 11 rounds. Jett failed to win the Anaheim Triple Crown and Hunter Lawrence failed to win the Arlington Triple Crown format in the 250 East division. In two weeks, the series has their final Triple Crown race in Glendale. When he was reminded of this from the top of the Seattle podium, Jett replied, “oof”.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

RJ Hampshire finished second in the race and is second in the points. This is fourth time in five rounds that Hampshire finished second to Lawrence. If not for a crash-induced 11th-place finish in the Arlington Triple Crown, he would be much closer in the points standings. With that poor showing, he is 23 points behind Lawrence.

Cameron McAdoo made a lot of noise in his heat. Riding aggressively beside Larwence, the two crashed in the preliminary. McAdoo could never seem to get away from Hampshire in the Main and as the two battled, the leader got away. It would have been interesting to see how they would have raced head-to-head when points were on the line.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 West Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

The Supercross results in Seattle were kind to a couple of riders on the cusp of the top five. Enzo Lopes scored his second top-five and fourth top-10 of the season after crossing the finish line fourth in Seattle.

Tying his best finish of the season for the third time, Max Vohland kept his perfect record of top-10s alive. Vohland is seventh in the points.

2023 Results

Round 11: Eli Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 10: Chase Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s