|Occupation:||Race Car Driver|
|Birth Day:||May 4, 1949|
|Birth Place:||Bell Gardens, United States|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
He used a tax refund check and sold an organ his mother won on a tv show to get started in drag racing.
In 1971, Force drove the Jack Chrisman-built Night Stalker Mustang, his first funny car. Early in his career, he drove a Corvette, a Monza and then in the 1980s switched to an Oldsmobile Cutlass through the end of the 1993 season. He drove a Chevrolet for 1994, quickly changing to a Pontiac in 1995 and 1996. Force was a Ford driver and team owner from 1997 until 2014, when he returned to Chevrolet.
1984 AHRA Funny Car Champion 1990 NHRA Funny Car Champion 1991 NHRA Funny Car Champion 1993 NHRA Funny Car Champion 1994 NHRA Funny Car Champion 1995 NHRA Funny Car Champion 1996 NHRA Funny Car Champion 1997 NHRA Funny Car Champion 1998 NHRA Funny Car Champion 1999 NHRA Funny Car Champion 2000 NHRA Funny Car Champion 2001 NHRA Funny Car Champion 2002 NHRA Funny Car Champion 2003 NHRA Champion Owner (Tony Pedregon, Funny Car) 2004 NHRA Funny Car Champion 2006 NHRA Funny Car Champion 2009 NHRA Champion Owner (Robert Hight, Funny Car) 2010 NHRA Funny Car Champion 2013 NHRA Funny Car Champion 2017 NHRA Champion Owner (Brittany Force, Top Fuel) 2017 NHRA Champion Owner (Robert Hight, Funny Car) 2019 NHRA Champion Owner (Robert Hight, Funny Car)
Between 1987 and 1996, Force won sixty-seven of 203 NHRA national events, four of nine Big Bud Shootouts, and six World Championships. In 1996, with Austin Coil tuning, Force went to the final round in sixteen of nineteen national events, taking thirteen wins, one of the best records ever in Funny Car history. His domination would continue, with ten NHRA FC World Championship wins from 1993 to 2002, including six straight 1997-2002; his success was so amazing, he was accused of cheating (and was willing to strip off his firesuit to prove he was not). Between 1997 and 2006, Force went to the final in 105 of 228 events and took sixty-one tour wins. On top of that, he had ten of the quickest or fastest passes in Funny Car.
In 1992, the honor of putting Force on the trailer would go to Cruz Pedregon, driving the Larry Minor McDonald's-sponsored Olds to the championship.
In 2000, Force was sponsored by BP's Castrol brand, continuing the relationship between Force and Castrol that began in 1985 and lasted through 2014. After winning his fourth Funny Car title in 1994, Force earned the nickname of "Brute Force" from drivers, and even announcers such as Steve Evans. This nickname hearkens back to his early days on the track, when he drove his own unsponsored car, named "Brute Force". Force had a cameo in a 2004 episode of King of the Hill ("Dale Be Not Proud"), in which Dale Gribble donates a kidney to Force, after which it appears he does not need it.
Force's points finishes were 23rd, 8th, 26th, 16th, 20th, 4th, 13th, and 5th from 1978-1985. Force then had Castrol Motor Oil jump on as his main sponsor, and was even more successful. From 1986-1995, he finished 4th, 4th, 6th, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, and 1st. He then had fellow driver and arch-rival Cruz Pedregon's younger brother, Tony, come aboard to drive John's 2nd car. From 1996-2000, John finished 1st all 5 years. In 2001, John had longtime friend and fellow drag racer Gary Densham drive a third car. In that same year, John once again finished as the champion, which he followed up with an astronomical 10th straight world title in 2002. In 2003, for the 1st time since 1992, John didn't win the title. It was not all lost however, because teammate Tony Pedregon won his 1st world title. At the end of the season, Tony Pedregon went on to join brother Cruz in their own racing organization, and Gary Densham went on to race independently. John found quick and personal talent in 2 young-guns. Eric Medlen, son of long-time JFR crewmember John Medlen, came on to race. John's other driver, Robert Hight, was his son-in-law and crewmember. Both had a lot of success in their season, but John topped both in 2004 with a 13th world title.
In 2005, Force won 5 events, but only finished third in the championship standings, 32 points behind champion Gary Scelzi, and 24 points behind Ron Capps, both of Don Schumacher Racing [DSR].
In 2006, Force won his 14th NHRA World Funny Car Championship, defeating Capps in the quarter-finals of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals which mathematically eliminated Capps and teammate Robert Hight from the championship. Force went on to win the event, his third of the season and 122nd of his career.
On September 23, 2007, Force was injured in a crash at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Fall Nationals in Ennis, Texas as he crossed the finish line against Kenny Bernstein. Bernstein's Funny Car drifted into Force's lane, clipping the final timing cone and a foam block which shot into Force's lane. Initially, it was thought that the block ruptured Force's left rear tire, causing it to come apart, violently shaking the chassis until it broke apart. However, it was determined by NHRA after thorough review, that the block went behind Force's tire and was not the cause of the wreck. Injuries sustained were a broken ankle, abrasion of his right knee, a dislocated left wrist, and badly mangled fingers and toes, and Force had to be airlifted to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Phil Burkart Jr. was added as Force's replacement for the remainder of the 2007 season, starting at Las Vegas.
2008 was a subpar season for Force who finished 7th, out of the top five for the first time since early in his career. However, after the death of driver Scott Kalitta, he was instrumental in the development of some of the safety precautions that were implemented throughout the rest of the season, and along with retired 6 time world champion Kenny Bernstein [4 Funny Car titles, 2 Top Fuel titles] and seven-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher, with backing from NHRA's Track Safety Committee, assisted in developing a sensor that monitors the engines of Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars. Should the engine backfire at any time during a race, the fuel pump is automatically shut down, and the parachutes are deployed. The idea was to either minimize or eliminate the circumstances that led to Kalitta's death. This safety device became mandatory and was put into place at the start of the 2009 season. Also, a brake handle that, instead of needing to be pulled back toward the driver, was set up to be pushed away from the driver was made an optional setting for the Funny Car division. This change happened because when the 2008 season began, Force's right arm was still in a cast, due to broken fingers, and he needed a different way of using the brakes on the car, rather than the traditional handbrake that needed to be brought back toward the driver; also, in the 2007 accident in Texas, Force had lost some grip in his right hand, and had some problems putting enough pressure on the handbrake to unlock it from position to apply the brakes. This led to the development of the forward application handbrake, which has given several drivers in the Funny Car class quicker access to the brakes. Though Force only finished seventh in the points in 2008, he became influential within the NHRA for innovations in driver safety.
He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2008.
2009 once again saw Force finish outside of the top five. John finished 9th, daughter Ashley finished 2nd, and Mike Neff placing 10th. However, he would win his 16th overall championship as a car owner, with teammate Robert Hight's championship, placing Force as the winningest car owner in NHRA history.
Going into the Auto Club of Southern California Finals in Pomona, CA on November 14, 2010, Force needed some help to win the championship. He started the day 38 points behind 28-year-old Matt Hagan, who ran for team rival Don Shumacher and his team. In order to capture the championship he needed to finish two rounds ahead of Hagan. With Bob Tasca III taking Hagan out in the first round, Force won his first round over Gary Densham and second round win over Bob Bode, securing the championship. He then went on to victory beating Melanie Troxel in the semi-finals and in the final, defeated Jeff Arend. John Force now has the distinction of being the oldest NHRA champion in history. Long time crew chief Austin Coil resigned from John Force Racing on November 16, 2010.
2012 saw John welcome a fourth driver to his stable, former Top Alcohol Dragster champion, and daughter Courtney, who was in the running for the Auto Club Rookie of the Year Award, she will be driving the Traxxas Ford Mustang in her rookie season, and she has done something that only sister Ashley has done, beat her father in the first meeting between the two, taking John out of the Arizona Nationals in Phoenix in just the first round. Although Force was unable to retain the championship, finishing in fifth, he saw Courtney win something he never did, the NHRA Road to the Future Rookie of the Year award, and Courtney's second-place finish in the season helped cement John Force Racing's legacy for several years to come.
During the start of the 2013 season, Ashley announced her retirement from full-time competition, this left the Force team short a driver. Rather than find another driver to take Ashley's place within the Castrol GTX Funny Car, John did something he had never done before, field a Top Fuel car, with daughter Brittany behind the wheel. On July 26, 2013 it was announced that after the 2014 racing season Ford Motor Company would no longer be a part of John Force Racing. It was also announced that after the 2014 racing season, primary sponsor Castrol would be leaving JFR after a 29-year business relationship
In 2015 John announced a partnership with Chevrolet. He competed in the 2015 racing season with a new sponsorship deal from Peak Antifreeze.
On August 4, 2019, John Force won his 150th race at the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, Washington, edging out Ron Capps and breaking a 25 race winless streak, having last won in Colorado the year prior, also against Capps. John expressed extreme relief after winning, his first words to the camera being obscenities (which NHRA had to censor, as the broadcast was on network television). Force was not present in the winners' circle, having ridden his pitbike to the stands to watch Austin Prock, a driver on his Top Fuel team and son of a Force Racing mechanic, win his first race and was still celebrating with fans while Prock was being interviewed.
John had three daughters with his wife Laurie, the youngest being Ashley Force.
Currently, John Force is 72 years, 0 months and 8 days old. John Force will celebrate 73rd birthday on a Wednesday 4th of May 2022. Below we countdown to John Force upcoming birthday.
Happy birthday, John Force
Drag racing's winningest driver, John Force, is celebrating his birthday today, and we're celebrating right along with him with the gallery of candid Force photos. The 16-time champ is never thrilled to be reminded of his age, so we'll just celebrate it with these 71 images.
John Force has 70th birthday present picked out: 150th career win this weekend - MotorSportsTalk | NBC Sports
The winningest driver in NHRA history turns 70 this Saturday. He's ready to celebrate in a big way.
The No. 68: Statistics Surrounding John Force’s 68th Birthday - Motor Racing Press.com
May the Force be with you: Happy 67th birthday, John Force - MotorSportsTalk | NBC Sports
Say Happy Birthday to NHRA drag racing legend John Force, who turns 67 today.
Brute Force Archives - MotorSportsTalk | NBC Sports