After taking off the majority of the 2020 season in a COVID-influenced sabbatical, it didn’t take drag racing’s winningest driver long to get back into the winner’s circle, scoring his second four-wide victory in just his fourth race after a yearlong shutdown.
Force, who won Funny Car at the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway 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’s 3.91 in his Danny Hood-tuned BlueDef Chevy Camaro got the job done ahead of Todd’s 3.94 in the DHL Toyota, which finished ahead of Pedregon’s late-leaving 3.93. DeJoria finished fourth.
“Timing is everything,” Force said. “I won the inaugural (four-wide race) here and this makes me so proud. Don’t take the job you love for granted. I wanted to win for (track owner) Bruton (Smith), (crew chief) Daniel (Hood), but these kids are tough out here. Some days, things go right and our car was ready and prepared, and I halfway did my job. I’m excited and I get to send this (Wally trophy) to Bruton, a guy I really love.”
Force won both of his pre-final quads, finishing ahead of Mike McIntire Jr. in the first round then powered his way into the final round with low e.t. of the event, a 3.897, to beat Todd. McIntire, and Terry Haddock were also in that semifinal quad.
Gatornationals champ Todd, a two-time Las Vegas four-wide winner, won his first-round quad with a 3.95 ahead of upset second-place finisher Haddock then finished second behind Force in their semifinal quad to reach the final round.