Funny car champion John Force: Car catching on fire not new to him
John Force, one of the top funny car drivers of all time, says he can't recall how many times his car has caught on fire during a race.
"I've been on fire from here to Australia," said Force, a 15-time funny car champion.
Yet the 62-year-old, who jokes that his "office" gets hot from time to time, keeps coming back for more.
The NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona open Thursday with the first of three days of qualifying rounds, followed by final eliminations Sunday. Force will be among the funny car competitors.
Funny car racing is a sport in which drivers have zero margin for error. Their vehicles reach speeds of more than 300 mph in less than five seconds.
At Force's funny car museum in Yorba Linda, he recently talked about why, after more than 30 years of racing, he continues to risk seeing yet another fire.
"In the early days, I thought I was just pure crazy," he said. "But after you do it, man, the car becomes your office. This car becomes what I call your best friend."
-- Melissa Rohlin