Story By: SARA SLAUGHTER / JOHN FORCE RACING – POMONA, CA – Starting his 47th year on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series tour, John Force, the 16-time champion and 154 event-winner, has nothing left to prove, except that he still loves it. Force and his PEAK / BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevrolet Camaro SS team enter the season opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals after surging to three wins and a fifth-place finish in 2021, a position they intend to improve on in 2022.
At pre-season testing outside of Phoenix, Force led his four-car team with a series of four back-to-back runs in the 3.8s over the final two days of testing. The Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisi tuned PEAK BlueDEF team laid down a 3.889-second pass at 321.88 mph on Friday followed by a 3.888 at 327.51. The momentum continued into Saturday with an impressive 3.836 at 335.4 Saturday morning and, in the heat of the day, a 3.890 at 326.16 to close out their test session.
“It was great being back out at testing. Back with that PEAK BlueDEF team and Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisis. It has me excited for this season,” said Force. ‘We ran really well, consistent and that’s what we’re looking for with this Chevy hotrod. I’m feeling like everything is getting figured. Great to have Austin Prock back with Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist, Brittany looks good with Monster and Flav-R-Pac, Robert with Auto Club and bringing on Powers Solar. I just can’t wait to race. It’s why I’m here. I just love it.”
Coming to a racetrack where no one has won more races than him, Force has every reason to be excited. Force has raised the trophy 16 times overall on the track he calls home, seven times in the Winternationals (1991, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2010, 2012 and 2014), eight times in the Auto Club Finals and once in a special event, the NHRA’s 50th Anniversary race contested in 2001. His record at the Winternationals also includes four runner-up finishes, the most recent in 2020, and 10 No. 1 qualifiers. The only event in which he has more No. 1 starts is the U.S. Nationals (12).
“This place is home. It’s my history. I grew up here,” Force said. “I love racing at Auto Club Raceway. We get things started here and then we wrap them up here. We haven’t had a chance to do that the last couple years so this feels good, feels normal. I’m excited. I’m looking to get this PEAK BlueDEF Chevrolet in the winners circle, get the season started off right.”
ROBERT HIGHT AND AUTO CLUB MORE THAN READY FOR NHRA SEASON OPENING WINTERNATIONALS
There are few teams in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series that are more eager for the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals and the start of the 2022 season than the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS of Robert Hight. Despite a 2021 season that consisted of two wins and two No. 1 qualifying positions, Hight, an intense competitor, was not satisfied with the No. 8 finishing position.
At pre-season testing outside of Phoenix, the Auto Club team made a statement as the first to make a full pass at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The championship crew chief tandem of Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham wasted no time going to 1,000 feet in 3.911-seconds at 323.11 mph in their first attempt on Thursday morning. The three-day performance from the Auto Club team was nothing but promising heading into the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
“We’re definitely ready to get the season started. We didn’t like how we left things at the end of last year and we’re ready to start the fight to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Hight. “This Auto Club team has been working hard all off-season, we put in the work at testing and now it’s time to really get going, we’re ready to get this season started.”
Hight has taken the Auto Club Chevy Funny Car to six final rounds in 17 career appearances at the Winternationals with wins in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2019. He started from the No. 1 position in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2019 and, in addition to his four wins, was runner-up in 2007 and 2018. Hight is also the track record holder for Funny Car speed at 336.99 mph (Feb. 11, 2018).
“I love coming to Pomona. Start of the season, Winternationals, clean slate, it’s a home race for John Force Racing and we’re at an Auto Club track,” said Hight. “I’m ready to start racing, get in the Auto Club Chevy and start competing. Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham, I know they’re ready too, they really poured themselves into this car over the break. Time to put it all together and see what happens. I’m definitely excited.”
Qualifying at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona begin Friday with a session at 4:30 p.m. before continuing Saturday with sessions at 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. Eliminations are slated to start Sunday at 11 a.m. Television coverage of the season opening event will be aired on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and begin with two qualifying shows, Friday at 10 p.m. ET and Sunday at 7 a.m. ET, while eliminations will be on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.