NHRA: John Force earns milestone 150th career Funny Car win

Leave a comment

John Force Racing media release

KENT, Wash. (August 4, 2019) — Drag racing icon John Force drove the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car to a record-setting 150th Mello Yello tour victory Sunday, beating Ron Capps in the final round to win the 32nd annual Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals.
It was the Hall of Famer’s first win of the season but his record ninth at Pacific Raceways and it added another unlikely chapter to one of auto racing’s most compelling stories.
It was the 150th Mello Yello tour victory for the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion, an accomplishment made the more remarkable by the fact that he was winless in his first 10 professional seasons (1977-1987). He finally broke through on June 28, 1987 at Montreal, Canada where he beat Ed “the Ace” McCulloch in the final round of the no-longer-contested Molson Grandnational. He’s been winning ever since and now has won at least one NHRA tour event in 32 of the last 33 seasons.
The significance of 150 tour victories is indisputable considering that the second most by any NHRA pro is 97 by retired Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson. Among active pro drivers, Greg Anderson has 93 wins in Pro Stock and Tony Schumacher 84 in Top Fuel. Second in career Funny Car victories is Ron Capps with 62.
The win was Force’s first with new crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Dan Hood, who moved over to the PEAK Camaro after directing Courtney Force, the youngest of Force’s four daughters, to four wins and a sixth place finish in the 2018 Mello Yello driver standings.
Winning alongside the legendary driver was Road to the Future Award candidate Austin Prock. It was the first victory of Prock’s career and the first time a driver with the last name “Prock” had competed in a final round since his grandfather, Tom Prock, in Montreal 1976. Austin defeated current points leader and reigning Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence in the final round.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
1 Comment

SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).