NHRA Story
John Force nominated for 2014 ESPY Best Driver Award
Wednesday, June 25, 2014


John Force, the 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car world champion, has been nominated for the 2014 ESPY Best Driver Award.

It is the sixth time Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., has been nominated for the ESPY Best Driver Award. The winner of an NHRA-record 139 races, Force was also nominated for the ESPY Best Driver award in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2011.

The ESPY Awards, for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly, was created by ESPN in 1993. Sports fans can vote for Force and their other sports heroes in each of 33 different categories via an online poll at: ESPN.com/ESPYS. Voting is underway and concludes at 9 p.m. (ET) on July 16.

Force, 65, driver of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, finished the 2013 season in dramatic fashion by advancing to the final round in the final five races during the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, winning three of those. He also powered to No. 1 qualifying positions at the final three events. He held off rival Matt Hagan for the championship crown.

Joining Force on the 2014 ESPY Best Driver ballot are NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Past ESPY Best Driver winners include last year’s winner, Hunter-Reay, two-time winner Tony Stewart, four-time winner Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt Jr., Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Jimmy Vasser, Al Unser Jr., Nigel Mansell, and Michael Schumacher.

In addition to Force, other NHRA drivers who have been nominated for ESPY awards include Del Worsham (2012), Tony Schumacher (2007-2010), Ashley Force Hood (2008), Melanie Troxel (2006), Tony Pedregon (2004) and Greg Anderson (2005 and 2011). No NHRA driver has ever won an ESPY Award.

The 2014 ESPY winners will be announced during the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on July 16. Host Drake will be joined by a wide variety of the world’s premier athletes and Hollywood’s biggest stars. The ESPYs will be televised on ESPN on July 16 at 9 p.m. ET.

John Force career highlights
* 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champion in Funny Car
* Has raced to an NHRA-record 139 Funny Car victories
* Has claimed an NHRA-record 148 No. 1 qualifying awards
* First driver in NHRA history to earn 10 consecutive Funny Car world championships  (1993-2002)
* Four-time winner of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world's most prestigious drag race
* Named Driver of the Year for American motorsports in 1996 

Past ESPY Best Driver Award winners
2013 – Ryan Hunter-Reay, IndyCar
2012 – Tony Stewart, NASCAR
2011 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
2010 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
2009 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
2008 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
2007 – Jeff Gordon, NASCAR
2006 – Tony Stewart, NASCAR
2005 – Michael Schumacher, F1
2004 – Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR
2003 – Tony Stewart, NASCAR
2002 – Michael Schumacher, F1
2001 – Bobby Labonte, NASCAR
2000 – Dale Jarrett, NASCAR
1999 – Jeff Gordon, NASCAR
1998 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR
1997 – Jimmy Vasser, IRL
1996 – Jeff Gordon, NASCAR
1995 – Al Unser Jr., IRL
1994 – Nigel Mansell, F1
1993 - Nigel Mansell, F1