July 22, 2017 —
Defending Mile-High Nationals winner John Force knows he has a fast PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Funny Car heading into Sunday’s final eliminations at Bandimere Speedway.
Force, who will start from the No. 2 spot, was in the midst of two good runs in qualifying Saturday, especially in the final session. And though his Chevrolet Camaro SS didn’t make full pulls, at least one was spectacular.
Force’s Camaro pulled a pretty substantial wheel-stand at half-track during the fourth and final session, much to the delight of the Bandimere crowd – and to Force himself.
“Yeah, I’ve got a hot rod now,” Force said. “She wants to talk, she wants to take the power down the hill. I shortened the burnout, and I should’ve had plenty of fuel to bring the whole front end down, and it just got light out there. But, boy, it was truckin’, and I like that kind of race car. I knew it would be on fire, wheel-stand or win, whatever comes first.”
The good news is Force won’t have to go to a backup PEAK Chevy, as the 16-time Funny Car champion was able to bring the car back to the ground relatively softly. It wasn’t quite like Cruz Pedregon’s fantastic wheel-stand a year ago, but Force enjoyed it.
“I still haven’t got over Cruz’s wheel-stand from a year ago – most awesome thing I have ever seen,” Force said. “It doesn’t look like it dented the car; it will be okay. I set her down soft. She came up, came back down and didn’t bounce on me.
“But that’s exciting, good for the fans, good for me. That won’t get your wins, but it shows that we got power. We’re fighting, right?”
Force’s best run in qualifying came in Friday’s first session, when he first reset the track record elapsed time – only to have daughter Courtney Force take it away one pair later. John Force remained No. 2 for the weekend with a pass of 3.899 seconds at 301.87 mph, second only to Courtney.
But both Forces want to be better on race day. John Force Racing went 1-2-3 in qualifying here, with Robert Hight No. 3, and the team has nine No. 1 qualifiers this season. But only John Force has won in Funny Car.
“We’re low ET almost every week,” Force said. “We’re low ET nine, 10, 11 races, but (someone else) is winning them all. We’ve got a problem. We’ve got to learn how to race on race day. Luckily, my car wasn’t hurt (in Q4), but she was trying to run another .80. It got up on me, but I’m going to be okay.”
Force will line up against Matt Hagan in the first round, after Hagan qualified No. 15 with a top pass of 4.942 seconds at 160.10 mph.
Final eliminations are slated for 11 a.m. Mountain, with Fox providing live coverage at 1 p.m. Mountain.