Legendary Funny Car driver John Force is set to hit another incredible milestone this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway, as the 16-time world champion will make his 800th race start on Sunday at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals.
Including Force, only eight drivers have made 500 or more starts in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and only two - Force and Warren Johnson - have made more than 600. Cruz Pedregon should pass the 600-race mark later this season, but Force stands far ahead of anyone else in the sport, which can be said about the bulk of his remarkable accomplishments.
Force is a 155-time event winner, including earlier this year at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, and making it to the 800-race mark isn’t lost on the longtime star.
“Drag racing is all about winning, you're out here to race for another win and to break barriers and I guess I've broken another one with 800 starts,” Force said. “It’s pretty cool but I have to give credit to the others because I've been out here a lot longer than everyone else.
“I honestly didn't really think about it until recently. Kind of how I didn't realize I now have five grandchildren. It's like wow, five, but I never really stepped back and thought about it that way and it's kind of the same thing with 800 starts. I just keep on going and I love it.”
After two qualifying sessions at Maple Grove Raceway, Force is currently qualified second with a run of 3.890 at 329.99 in his PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS. He started the Countdown to the Championship fifth in points as Force aims for his 17th world championship.
He's enjoyed a long career of success in Reading, putting together seven wins at the facility, the most of any pro driver in NHRA history (1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2013). The 1989 win was just the fifth of his career and his only win of that season.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors who have made 500 or more career starts:
John Force. 799
Warren Johnson 605
Cruz Pedregon 598
Ron Capps 584
Doug Kalitta 554
Del Worsham 541
Tim Wilkerson 527
Tony Schumacher 521