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John Force claims 16th NHRA Funny Car championship

Oct 27, 2013, 11:27 PM EDT

NHRA Toyota Nationals AP

NHRA legend John Force earned his 16th Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car title in style today at the Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas, besting his daughter, Courtney Force, in the final round with a 4.06-second run (310.63 mph) to Courtney’s 4.08.

With the Vegas victory, John Force is now on a streak of three consecutive event wins going into next week’s season finale at Pomona, California. And after winning yet another Funny Car crown, the 64-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I felt 16 after I won, but I don’t want to end my career at 16 [championships],” he said according to Candida Benson of National Dragster. “I want to end it at 17 at least, so I’m going to be around for a while. You’re stuck with me because I truly do love it. The truth is if I ever had to win, this is a pretty good time to win because [sponsorship] deals need to be made next year, and I’ll be the champ while we’re making those deals.

“I love the job. I live in the gym. There ain’t nothing wrong with me. Nobody said you’ve got to quit racing. I’m going to keep doing it because it’s what I like to do.”

Also claiming an NHRA season title today in Vegas was Matt Smith, who claimed his second career Pro Stock Motorcycle championship with a final-round triumph over Jerry Savoie via a 6.991-second run (192.08 mph).

It also marked a pair of championships for the Smith family this fall, as Matt’s father, Rickie, claimed the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series title back in September.

Antron Brown and Shane Gray took top Vegas honors in Top Fuel and Pro Stock, respectively.

  1. wallio - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    I love this. When the NHRA shamesless ripped off NASCAR and adopted this shambolic “Countdown”, they told us it was to prevent titles from being locked up before Pomona. Oops.

    Ditch the chase and bring back the 1320.

  2. moezilla - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    If I’m remembering correctly, the fuel championships have gone down to Pomona more times than not during the countdown era. The Top Fuel title was decided on the very last run in 2012. Force’s previous title a few years back went down to the final race in Pomona. The same for Del Worsham as well. I’m fine with the countdown but I will agree wholeheartedly with the 1320 comment.

  3. wallio - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Keep in mind, the first year of the Countdown Petrogeon took the title before Pomona, which to me was hysterical. Racing doesn’t need playoffs.

    As for returning to proper drag racing, the NHRA did send a survey to over 150,000 ticket holding fans. Most of the questions had to do with the 1/4 mile. Could it return? Never say never……

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