NHRA: John Force Makes Statement With 144th Win At Bandimere

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

After some early season success, John Force Racing has struggled through the middle of the season. In Denver they stepped up and showed they are not to be overlooked.

The NHRA Funny Car class has been dominated by the Don Schumacher teams for weeks leading up to the western swing. When the JFR funny car teams rolled up onto the tree in Denver, they made run after run impressing everyone. Not just one car this weekend but all three leading up to an all Force family final.

With Courtney earring the top qualifying spot and winning round after round it looked like that team had found the step it had lost of late. While on the other side of the ladder Courtney’s legendary father John had his most impressive weekend of 2016. Beating Jeff Diehl, Matt Hagan and Del Worsharm with incredibly consistent ET’s and every one of them off the line, John was defiantly not acting his age.

It was hard to recognize John Force in his camo-painted Peak Chevy Camaro at the Mopar Mile High Nationals. In the finals against Courtney John did more of the same, beat her off the line and ran his lowest ET of eliminations. Breaking a streak of 27 events without a Wally, John Force showed he was not done by any stretch of the imagination.

In NHRA Pro Stock for the first time all year there was not a KBM team holding the Wally on Sunday. As a matter of fact none of the Keith Black teams even made the final round breaking their unbelievable start to the 2016 season. The final round of Vincent Nobile and Allan Johnson was a shock given the dominance of the KBM teams in 2016. Allan Johnson was able to get his first win of 2016 in his Marathon Oil Dodge Dart. Hopefully this is the sign that teams are catching up and we will see some different teams in the finals.

In NHRA Top Fuel class Don Schumacher Racing showed its muscle with cars on both side of the tree in the finals. Tony Schumacher made his way to the finals beating multi event winner Doug Kalitta in the first round, followed by Steve Torrance in the second round and reaching the finals beating Clay Millican. Schumacher rolled into Denver without a win in 2016 wanting to step up and show he was still capable of finishing the weekend on top.

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On the other side of the top fuel ladder Antron Brown defeated Rob Passey before beating Shawn Langdon in a great side by side race by .008 of a second. In the semifinals Antron Brown let J.R. Todd get ahead of him off the line but Todd’s motor went up in flames letting Antron trigger the win light and advance to the finals against his DSR teammate.

In the finals Tony Schumacher in the US ARMY car was able to get the victory over his DSR teammate Antron Brown in the finals. Tony was able to lock himself into the final spot in the Traxxas Shootout with the 81st event win in his career. It was a needed victory for the team that had not visited victory lane in more than a fun year.

Next stop for the NHRA Mello Yello drag racing series will be as they continue the western swing in Sonoma. If this weekend was a preview of what is to come, all NHRA fans are in for a treat.