June 13, 2018, Kay Presto, www,carsandcompetition.com  –

A spate of struggles during the first half of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 18-race regular season confounded John Force. But the 16-time Funny Car champion learned long ago that objectivity helps put on-track trials in perspective.

“We have had a tough year, one of the toughest of my career,” he said. “We have never blown up this much stuff but we have figured a lot out. We are going to keep fighting and keep getting better. I have my heart back after Richmond.”

A runner-up finish June 10 to daughter Courtney after qualifying seventh at Virginia Motorsports Park, preceded a week earlier by a run to the semifinals at Joliet, Illinois, has uplifted the driver of the PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS.

“I let this race car do the running for me,” he added.

The finals appearance was the 250th of his illustrious career and the 50th time that John Force Racing teammates met with the “Wally” in the balance. Courtney Force, driving the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS, claimed her class-high fourth victory of the season – all from the low qualifier spot – and is the class points leader.

John Force is eighth in the Funny Car standings entering the Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley Nationals this weekend in Bristol, Tennessee. He’s won four times at the racetrack and will seek career victory No. 149 on Father’s Day.

Four-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson, driver of the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS, will seek career win No. 91 on Father’s Day. Anderson, who has six No. 1 qualifier honors this season and 99 for his career, sits atop the class standings though he’s yet to visit the winner’s circle.

“I’ve always loved racing on Father’s Day, and my dad has been able to come to most of them with me,” said Anderson, a two-time winner at Bristol Dragway. “I’ve won a lot of times on Father’s Day in front of my dad, and it’s a very special race on a very special day. Bristol Dragway is where I won my first race (2001), so there a lot of great memories there for me, both being Father’s Day and also being Bristol. There is always an extra exclamation point after this one on the calendar.”