What a year it was for the entire John Force Racing organization. On Sunday in Pomona, they took home the hardware in two divisions of the Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series.
First off, John Force’s daughter Brittany Force secured her first career championship in the Auto Club NHRA Finals. Force, watched as Steve Torrence was defeated by Antron Brown in the second round of Sunday’s action. That race was the one preceding Force’s matchup with Richie Crampton. When she saw Torrence get eliminated, she knew then that all she had to do next is win, and the title was hers.
She did just that.
Force, bested Crampton and the 2017 championship was clinched. In doing so, she became the first daughter of the legendary John Force to win a championship, following her dad’s 16 Funny Car titles with one of her own. She also became just the second female to win a championship in the nitro categories and the first since Shirley Muldowney won the Top Fuel title in 1982.
“That’s pretty incredible,” Force said. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around a Pomona win. I’ve always wanted to win here – it’s my home track, and we have the championship. All of it, it’s still doesn’t seem real. The only reason it is real is because of all the support around me.”
That not only includes her family, but also her Monster Energy team. In her fifth season as a professional driver, Force has her first championship.
“It’s huge,” Force said. “I’ve watched my dad for years. I really have to give it up to him and thank him and my mom for all their support. They’ve always had my back every tough weekend. I’ve been beaten on holeshots countless times – and red lights, those are tough to come back from.
“But I really believed that that would make me a better driver in the end. Today is pretty great, seeing it all come back full circle.”
Force was solid all day, cutting good lights and eventually beating Shawn Langdon in the final for her fourth victory of the season and seventh of her career.
It wasn’t just a banner day in Top Fuel for JFR, it was also one in Funny Car action too.
Robert Hight entered the weekend with 15 point lead over Ron Capps in the points standings. But, a terrible start to the weekend saw that advantage trim to eight, as Hight qualified 15th for the season finale. As luck would have it, Hight upset No. 2 qualifier Tim Wilkerson in the first round, while Capps had a mechanical failure in the first round for the second straight event and would fall to Del Worsham.
That handed Hight his first title in seven years (2009) and JFR’s first Funny Car title since John Force’s 16th and last championship in 2013. While Hight wouldn’t win the race last weekend, he did finish with four victories in 2017, two of which occurring in the Countdown. He now has 41 total wins to his credit in his career with two championships.
What a day for JFR.