Force Opens 2012 With Sixth Winternationals Win

John Force still has it and may never lose it. With a Funny Car victory at Pomona, CA in the 52nd annual O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals, the 15-time champion Force starts the 2012 season at the top of the points in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

“I dedicated the trophy to the brain trust, my crew chiefs Jimmy Prock, Mike Neff, Guido (Dean Antonelli), Ron Douglas, Bernie Fedderly, John Medlen, Dickie Venables, Danny from Indy (DeGennaro), and Scott Wible. We got a group back to the way we used to think and function. This was a good start,” said Force.

Facing off in the finals against teammate Mike Neff, it was a battle of the Castrol Ford Mustangs and the first time the drivers faced each other in a final round. Neff came in to the race with a 4-2 record in races against his boss and had been quicker for most of the weekend.

Hitting the throttle with a tenth of a second quicker reaction time than Neff, the 62 year old Force took the lead at the lights and held off a quicker run by Neff for the win, number 134 of Force’s Funny Car career.

“It wasn’t quick enough to beat him. He was late, so I got the win,” said Force. “He told me something distracted him.”

“I got distracted and it sounded to me like someone was revving their engine up and at first I thought, ‘Is John over there revving his engine up?’ And then I thought, ‘Am I revving the engine up?’ So I started to pull back off the throttle to make sure that I wasn’t revving the engine up when the tree came down and I was late. I’m not blaming it on John. I mean, he definitely used his John Force tactics on me out there, but that’s just something you have to be able to deal with,” said Neff. “I’m happy for John. He hasn’t won in a while and to have two Castrol Mustangs in the finals at the Winternationals is just a win-win situation. We knew that going up there (to the final round) so the pressure was off. One of the Force cars were going to win and that was really cool.”

Force now has six wins and three runner-ups at Pomona after his thirty-fourth WinterNationals start.

Courtney Force fired the first salvo in this year’s rookie battle against Alexis DeJoria. Both drivers qualified for Sunday’s eliminations with DeJoria a scant one hundredth of a second quicker after three rounds of qualifiers. DeJoria bowed out in the first round of elimination runs, defeated by Courtney’s father and eventual winner John Force.

Courtney Force defeated Bob Tasca III in her Traxxas Mustang in the first round of eliminations and lost to teammate Neff in the second round to finish sixth overall.

“I am very happy with how it went. Getting qualified alone was a big accomplishment” reflected Courtney Force. ” It is a big deal; it is the Winternationals. This is something I have always dreamed of. I always came and watched my dad so it is surreal to say now I am participating in that race with all these big hitters out here,”

Spencer Massey drove his FRAM/Prestone Dragster to the Top Fuel win over Antron Brown and Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment GXP) beat Jeg Coughlin in the Pro Stock final.

Next weekend the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Arizona for the 28th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway, February 17-19 in Chandler, AZ.

Check out for more news, results, information and upcoming events.

Unofficial final points standings
(following the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries in Pomona, pending official review, including oildown penalties)
1 Spencer Massey 119
2 Antron Brown 95
3 Morgan Lucas 87
4 Tony Schumacher 78
5 Bob Vandergriff Jr. 57
6 Shawn Langdon 54
Brandon Bernstein 54

8 Clay Millican 52
9 Khalid alBalooshi 34
10 Steve Torrence 32

1 Greg Anderson 114
2 Jeg Coughlin Jr. 91
3 Jason Line 82
4 Mike Edwards 81
5 Allen Johnson 59
6 Vincent Nobile 55
7 Rodger Brogdon 53
Shane Gray 53
9 Ronnie Humphrey 41
10 Ron Krisher 32

1 John Force 114
2 Mike Neff 95
3 Gary Densham 73
Ron Capps 73
5 Jack Beckman 62
6 Courtney Force 52
7 Tim Wilkerson 51
Todd Lesenko 51
9 Robert Hight 41
10 Bob Tasca III 39

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