Yorba Linda/Corona fire gives John Force a scare
As plumes of black smoke from the fire filled the southern horizon at the drag strip, John Force -- the 14 time funny-car champion and a team owner -- burst into the media center to say the fire was threatening his Yorba Linda headquarters, along with homes of some team members.
"They just evacuated Robert's house," Force said, referring to driver Robert Hight, who's hoping to win the sport's funny car championship Sunday.
Force, wearing his racing fire suit because he still had one more qualifying run ahead, leaned over reporters' shoulders to look at websites tracking the fire. He pointed to maps displayed on their laptops and tried to calculate the distance between the flames and his property.
"It will be all right," said the irrepressible Force. But some reporters who live in the fire area, or have relatives there, already had packed up and left Pomona.
Nature already has taken a toll on Force this year. In July, several crystal trophies broke when a 5.4 earthquake shook the Yorba Linda area.
-- Jim Peltz
Photo (top): Traffic flows in the same direction on both sides of the 241 toll road after a brush fire shut down the 91 Freeway in Yorba Linda on Saturday. Creidt: Mark Avery / Associated Press
Photo (inset): Funny car drag racer John Force during the NHRA Carolinas Nationals at the Zmax Dragway in Concord, N.C., on Sept. 13. Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images.