John Force, entire organization to miss NHRA return this weekend

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UPDATE: John Force Racing announced July 31 that it will miss the remainder of the 2020 season

The National Hot Rod Association returns to the track this weekend after a hiatus of more than four months because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but its biggest star and fan draw – 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, along with his entire organization – will not be racing.

The deadline for this weekend’s entry list was Monday afternoon. John Force Racing – including Force, the team patriarch and the winningest driver in NHRA history, as well as teammates Robert Hight, Brittany Force and Austin Prock – are not entered in the event this Saturday and Sunday at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis.

NBC Sports reached out to John Force Racing, but neither Force nor the organization had any comment on the situation.

The NHRA issued a statement to NBC Sports: “The John Force Racing team is not registered for the E3 Spark Plus NHRA Nationals this weekend in Indianapolis. We look forward to their return in the future.”

JFR has two bases of operation: its West Coast headquarters in Yorba Linda, California, outside Los Angeles, as well as its Midwest branch in Brownsburg, Indiana, which coincidentally is less than 3 miles from Lucas Oil Raceway.

Still, the organization will be a total no-show there for this weekend’s race.

It is unclear whether JFR will return for next week’s second race weekend of the post-coronavirus hiatus period, which will also be held in Indianapolis, or if/when it may return this season.

Force, at 71 the oldest full-time racer in the NHRA professional ranks, is in an age group that is considered more at-risk for contacting COVID-19. NHRA also has published warnings for this weekend that includes the following:

“An unavoidable risk of exposure to and contacting COVID-19 exists anywhere people are or have been present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness, disability, and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. Although the NHRA has instituted reasonable practices in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19, NHRA cannot guarantee that you will not succumb to the virus. By attending our event, you voluntarily assume all risks related to COVID-19.”

There are 18 Top Fuel dragsters entered for this weekend, as well as 18 Funny Cars, 22 Pro Stock cars and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycles.

In Top Fuel, in addition to second-ranked Brittany Force and fourth-ranked Austin Prock, 10th-ranked Shawn Reed is the only other driver in the top 10 in the class who is not entered this weekend.

In Funny Car, in addition to third-ranked John Force and defending champion and seventh-ranked Robert Hight, only ninth-ranked Bob Tasca III will not attend. Tasca has been sidelined by COVID-19 and will be replaced by Swedish driver Jonnie Lindberg.

In Pro Stock, all of its top 10 ranked drivers are entered, while Pro Stock Motorcycle will take part in its first race of the season.

This is a very pivotal weekend for NHRA and the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. It’s the first race back since late February when the season was suspended after just two races because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While fans will be allowed to attend the race, there will be stringent health protocols in place including temperatures to be taken of all team members and sanctioning body officials, as well as fans, the wearing of face masks and social distancing will be required.

Because of those social distancing restrictions, drivers are not expected to be able to interact with fans in pit areas around team haulers other than to hand out pre-signed hero cards. That unfettered access has long been one of the sport’s hallmarks and key selling points.

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Saturday’s Supercross Round 11 in Seattle: How to watch, start times, schedules, streams


With three multiple winners now vying for the championship, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to Round 11 at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington.

Chase Sexton earned his second victory of the season in Detroit when Aaron Plessinger fell on the final lap. Though he was penalized seven points for disobeying a flag, Sexton is third in the championship race. The Honda rider trails leader Cooper Webb (two victories) by 17 points, and defending series champion Eli Tomac (five wins) is three points behind Webb in second with seven races remaining.

Tomac won last year in Seattle on the way to his second season title.

Honda riders have a Supercross-leading 20 victories in the Seattle event but none at Lumen Field since Justin Barcia in 2013. Tomac and Barcia are the only past 450 Seattke winners entered in Saturday’s event.

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 11 of the 2023 Supercross season in Seattle:

(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE: TV coverage of Round 11 will begin Saturday at 10 p.m. ET streaming on Peacock with a re-air Monday at 1 a.m. ET on CNBC. The Race Day Live show (including qualifying) will begin on Peacock at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

NBC Sports will have exclusive live coverage of races, qualifiers and heats for the record 31 events in SuperMotocross. The main events will be presented on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBC Sports digital platforms.

Peacock will become the home of the SuperMotocross World Championship series in 2023 with live coverage of all races, qualifying, and heats from January to October. There will be 23 races livestreamed exclusively on Peacock, including a SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff event. The platform also will provide on-demand replays of every race. Click here for the full schedule.

POINTS STANDINGS: 450 division l 250 division

ENTRY LISTS450 division l 250 division

EVENT SCHEDULE (all times ET): 

Here are the start times for Saturday’s Supercross Round 11 in Seattle, according to the Monster Energy Supercross schedule from the AMA:

4:50 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 1
5:05 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 1
5:20 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 1
5:35 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 1
6:25 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 2
6:40 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 2
7:55 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 2
8:10 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 2
10:06 p.m.: 250SX Heat 1
10:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat 2
10:34 p.m.: 450SX Heat 1
10:48 p.m.: 450SX Heat 2
11:22 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier
11:34 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier
11:54 p.m.: 250SX Main Event
12:28 a.m.: 450SX Main Event

TRACK LAYOUTClick here to view the track map


FINAL 2022 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings


ROUND 1: Eli Tomac opens title defense with victory

ROUND 2: Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael on Supercross wins list

ROUND 3: Tomac holds off Cooper Webb again

ROUND 4: Chase Sexton wins Anaheim Triple Crown

ROUND 5: Eli Tomac leads wire to wire in Houston

ROUND 6: Cooper Webb breaks through in Tampa

ROUND 7: Webb wins again in Arlington

ROUND 8: Tomac wins Daytona for the seventh time

ROUND 9: Ken Roczen scores first victory since 2022

ROUND 10: Chase Sexton inherits Detroit victory but docked points


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