Despite an explosion and impact with the wall in the fourth qualifying session, John Force and his Peak Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS will start the JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals Race Day from the No. 6 position.
It was a wild ride for 16-time champion John Force during the final qualifying session. The winningest driver in NHRA history had a fiery run-in with the right guard wall while sharing the racetrack with daughter Courtney Force on Saturday evening at Route 66 Raceway. Force exited the vehicle under his own power and was fired up for Sunday’s eliminations.
“I gave it a quick pedal and it just shot to the right,” explained Force. “I kept trying to get it off the wall but it kept pulling me over. I think the body might have been on the front tire and that affected the steering. I got it stopped and got out.
“I am sore but I won’t let this race car beat me up. I have Peak and Old World Industries out here. We are going to pull out the back-up car and get to work. I love all the fans out here and I have to thank them for all their support.”
The start of the 2018 season was tough with three explosions in the first three races for Force. The legendary drag racer has stayed focused on the problem and has continued to make changes to move forward. The results have been noticeable — he has a runner-up finish and has now qualified in the top half of the field four times in nine races of a 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing schedule.
“We had some things figured out and that run wasn’t anything like the start of the season. We are making progress with all three of the Chevrolet Camaros. Courtney’s hot rod is flying and I ran good yesterday. We are all trying to run fast. You have to out here against this competition,” added Force.
Force will face off against Tim Wilkerson, an opponent he is 35-19 against, in the first round off of his 3.971-second pass at 324.59 mph from the first session on Friday. His past success at Route 66 Raceway has Force confident he’ll be competing for the win on Sunday in his primary sponsors’ hometown. Force has three wins at Route 66 Raceway and six finals appearances. Two of those wins came from the No. 7 and No. 8 qualifying position and, in his career, Force has won nine times as the No. 6 qualifier.
–Video courtesy NHRA