Photos Courtesy of NHRA Media
After a yearlong hiatus drag racing’s winningest driver was back on top this weekend after scoring his second four-wide victory in just his fourth race of the season. Although John Force and his entire John Force Racing team may have taken a COVID-influenced sabbatical during the 2020 race season, this break did not seem to put a damper on the King of Funny Car racing at this weekend’s NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. Force, who won Funny Car at the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in 2010, collected his sport-leading 152nd career win and his first since the 2019 U.S. Nationals by outrunning fellow former world champions J.R. Todd and Cruz Pedregon as well as Alexis DeJoria to claim the victory. Force wouldn’t be the only NHRA king to reclaim his throne at this weekend’s four-wide’s. Despite Antron Brown stopping Steve Torrence in his tracks at the final Lucas Oil Southern Nationals race, Torrence relit his spark this weekend after taking down his former nemesis along with the Queen of John Force Racing, Brittany Force, and Josh Hart in Sunday’s final round. Although royalty seemed to reign this weekend at zMAX Dragway, there was also a spark found in the future of the NHRA when promising rookie Dallas Glenn held off fellow young guns Mason McGaha and Troy Coughlin Jr. in Sunday’s final.
If you look back at the history of the NHRA’s Funny Car Series, the name John Force has been synonymous with some of the best performance and victories that this division has ever seen. So, when John Force and his entire race team decided to take a hiatus last season, this series seemed to take a bit of a hit. Luckily, the King of the Funny Car Series is back this season and with him the spark, which was found at this weekend’s NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, at zMAX Dragway.
After taking the victory in both of his pre-final quads, finishing ahead of Mike McIntire Jr. in the first round and then powering his way into the final round, John Force continued to stay on fire after moving on to Sunday’s final race against former world champions J.R. Todd, Cruz Pedregon as well as Alexis DeJoria, who also recently made her return to the sport after a two year hiatus. Thanks to Force’s quickest pass of the entire weekend, a 3.91 in his Danny Hood-tuned BlueDef Chevy Camaro, this force of nature would take down his toughest competitors for his sport-leading 152nd career win.
“Timing is everything,” said Force. “Some days, things go right, and our car was ready and prepared. I only halfway did my job, but my crew chief and my team did everything to make this happen, even after a short break. Having the opportunity to send this Wally trophy to Bruton Smith, a guy I really love and admire, is icing on the cake.”
From one king to another, Steve Torrence, also had reason to celebrate at this weekend’s NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. The three-time and reigning NHRA Camping World Top Fuel champion won for the sixth time in the last seven NHRA four-wide events after winning his first-round quad ahead of Doug Foley, Mike Salinas, and Artie Allen with low e.t. of the day, 3.70-seconds, then finishing second behind Brown in his semifinal quad.
After lining up for Sunday’s final round against No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force, his former nemesis Antron Brown and rookie Josh Hart, Torrence’s red and black Richard Hogan-tuned steamrolled his competitors with a 3.71-second pass for the reigning NHRA Camping World Top Fuel champion’s sixth win in the last seven NHRA four-wide events.
“At first, admittedly, I was not a fan of the four-wide’s because it is so challenging,” said Torrence. “Although we have done well here, this track makes me, as a driver, step up more and that it takes you out of your body, your wheelhouse of thinking makes you concentrate and focus a whole lot more, which I realize makes us a much better team with a winning record.”
While the kings of the NHRA seemed to be having all the fun at the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, that does not mean that student cannot become the teacher. That certainly was the case for the Pro Stock division, where the future seems to be bright for rookie Dallas Glenn.
Despite losing in the opening round at the most recent race in Atlanta, and his KB Racing team making several changes after, Glenn qualified 10th for this weekend’s four-wide’s and followed this up with a victorious elimination day on Sunday. In fact, the Pro Stock rookie made the quickest run of the quad with a pass of 6.547-seconds at 209.52 mph to advance to his first career final.
This promising rookie also found his way to the podium after going 6.540-seconds at 209.88 mph in his Rad Torque Systems Chevrolet Camaro to hold off fellow young guns Mason McGaha and Troy Coughlin Jr.
“This win is a super-emotional one,” said Glenn. “To be honest, I don’t even think it has hit me yet. I am just trying to enjoy everything I can, and I have never experienced it on this side. This is a whole new perspective for me, and these cars are so much fun, but they are hard to drive. This is why I am glad to see results a little sooner than we were expecting.”
The 2021 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals, Presented By Pennzoil, at Houston Raceway Park, in Baytown, TX (May 21-23). Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all your NHRA coverage!