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Category: Winternationals

John Force, Spencer Massey win NHRA Winternationals in Pomona


The incomparable John Force won the funny car race in the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona on Sunday, while Spencer Massey won in drag racing's top-fuel division.

Force, 62, is a 15-time funny car championtop and the victory was his sixth Winternationals victory and his 15th win overall at Auto Club Raceway.

Force also leads a four-car team in Yorba Linda that includes Mike Neff, and it was Neff who lost to Force in the final round as Force sped down the 1,000-foot track in 4.080 seconds at 315.64 mph.

The top-fuel finale also pitted teammates as Don Schumacher Racing's Massey edged Antron Brown for the victory.

In an earlier round, Massey also set a national speed record for 1,000 feet when he was clocked at 328.62 mph while defeating Tony Schumacher, the seven-time National Hot Rod Assn. top-fuel champion.

The top fuel and funny car classes had their races shortened to 1,000 feet from the traditional quarter-mile, or 1,320 feet, starting in 2008.


Tony Schumacher is a man who would be king again

Tony and Don Schumacher pushing for safety innovations

Courtney Force is making the climb in the family business

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Legendary drag racer John Force. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire

Courtney Force loses to teammate in NHRA Winternationals

Courtney2Despite her best run of the weekend, rookie Courtney Force lost to teammate Mike Neff in the second round of funny car eliminations Sunday in the NHRA Winternationals.

Force, the 23-year-old daughter of 15-time funny champion John Force, covered the 1,000-foot drag race in 4.143 seconds and 313.88 mph in the left lane at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.

But she couldn't catch Neff, who made a pass of 4.070 seconds at 315.49 mph.

Neff nonetheless was impressed with Courtney, who ran consistently well in her first Full Throttle Series event.

"She's done a fantastic job, I really want to congratulate her," Neff said.

Courtney had defeated Bob Tasca III in the first round to advance to the semifinal round, and despite her loss to Neff she was all smiles after climbing from her car.

So was her dad, who defeated Tim Wilkerson to advance to the semifinals immediately after Courtney's race.

John Force, 62, then got out of his car, walked over to Courtney, gave her and hug and a kiss and said, "Proud of you, baby."


Tony Schumacher is a man who would be king again

Tony and Don Schumacher pushing for safety innovations

Courtney Force is making the climb in the family business

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Courtney Force in her funny car at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona on Friday. Credit: Marc Gewertz / Associated Press

Courtney Force wins first funny car race, advances in NHRA Winternationals

Courtney Force won her first drag race in the NHRA's premier funny car series Sunday to advance in final eliminations at the Winternationals in Pomona.

Courtney1Force, the 23-year-old daughter of funny car legend John Force and one of the most anticipated rookies in the National Hot Rod Assn. in years, defeated Bob Tasca III at Auto Club Raceway with a run of 4.204 seconds at 309.27 mph.

Tasca jumped in front after the green light flashed but then his 7,000-horsepower funny car lost traction and Courtney Force pulled ahead on the 1,000-foot drag strip to earn the win.

"I was nervous going up there" to the starting line, she said. "I was just holding on the whole time hoping [the car] would go and it did.

Courtney Force's goal this weekend simply was to qualify for the final eliminations so "I didn’t picture [going] this far into Sunday," she said. "This weekend is going way better than I expected."

Her 62-year-old father, a record 15-time funny car champion, then narrowly defeated another rookie female driver in the series, Alexis DeJoria, in the first round despite DeJoria's strong run of 4.141 seconds at 310.27 mph.


Tony Schumacher is a man who would be king again

Tony and Don Schumacher pushing for safety innovations

Courtney Force is making the climb in the family business

--Jim Peltz

Photo: NHRA funny car drag racer Courtney Force. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times

Drag racer survives scary crash at Winternationals in Pomona

Drag racer Mike Austin escaped injury Saturday when his dragster skidded out of control and crashed at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.

Austin, of Medford, Ore., drives a top-alcohol dragster in one of the National Hot Rod Assn.'s second-tier series, and he was in the first round of eliminations in the right lane at Auto Club Raceway when the accident happened.

About halfway through his run, Austin's car swerved, sailed over the right-side guard wall and skidded until it came to rest next to the right scoring tower at the end of the quarter-mile drag strip. Rescue workers immediately came to his aid.

After several tense minutes, Austin walked from his car on his own power and then was examined and released by medical officials, the NHRA said.

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