NHRA: John Force sets best career ET in qualifying at Gainesville

John Force (Photo Credit: Gary Nastase and Auto Imagery)
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John Force has set a career-best elapsed time record in provisional qualifying for this weekend’s NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville.

The John Force Racing team release is below:

Sixteen-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion John Force found his pot of gold Friday at Gainesville Raceway, earning the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot for the 48th NHRA Gatornationals with a career-best elapsed time in his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car.

Force’s pass of 3.832 seconds (a track record) at 333.25 mph came a week after Force and John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight swapped crews. Crew chief Mike Neff and co-crew chiefs Jon Schaffer and Jason McCulloch moved from Hight’s team to Force’s, while crew chief Jimmy Prock and co-crew chief Chris Cunningham switched to Hight’s team.

The result? Force was No. 1 after two qualifying sessions Friday, while Hight – the reigning Gatornationals winner in Funny Car – was No. 2 with a pass of 3.844 seconds at 331.61 mph with the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet. And for good measure, Advance Auto Parts driver Courtney Force was No. 4 with a run of 3.860 seconds at 333.25 mph.

“It really feels good,” John Force said. “The ol’ hot rod went down the race track. We made a lot of changes in the last few weeks, from working on the chassis on the Top Fuel dragster, and Robert Hight and I decided to swap teams.

“We made changes, and people said, ‘Why?’ I was walking through my shop and got all emotional because it’s the 10th anniversary of Eric Medlen’s (death). We know how much we all loved him.

“I was looking at all these pictures and all these things that mattered, and all of a sudden my brain popped, and it said, ‘You’ve got to change.’ You’ve got to put Robert back with Jimmy Prock, where he won the championship with Auto Club. You’ve got to put me back with Neff, where I won the championship, back with Jon Schaffer and Jason McCulloch, where I won four races last year. It all just made sense.”

If John Force holds on to the No. 1 spot through the final two qualifying sessions Saturday, it would be the 155th of his brilliant career.

Force and Hight were quick out of the box in Q1, with Force sitting No. 2 and Hight No. 4. But they were even quicker in the second session.

“There is no magic,” Force said. “It’s getting the minds right and hearing the music, and the boys heard the music. We’ll be humming in the morning.”

Each of the four JFR drivers were in the top four Friday, including Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster driver and defending Gatornationals winner Brittany Force, who posted a top pass of 3.719 seconds at 326.79 mph.

Qualifying continues Saturday, with elimination rounds scheduled for Sunday.

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.