John Force To Compete With Jeff Gordon Tribute Scheme During NHRA Carolina Nationals At zMAX Dragwayby Hunter Thomas September 15, 2015 0 comments
Photo Credit: John Force Racing PR
CONCORD, NC – John Force, the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion will honor NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Jeff Gordon this weekend in Charlotte during the Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Force first met the California kid at an awards banquet back in the early 90s. Jeff Gordon, who at the time was just beginning his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career was nervous about going on stage, and Force, the outgoing, energetic NHRA veteran gave him a little advice. Years later, Jeff Gordon is now a four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and is competing in his final fulltime season.
“I loved being around the NASCAR guys,” Force said. “Dale Earnhardt Sr. was my hero and I learned a lot from him. Getting to know Gordon over the years has been a lot of fun. We see each other at NASCAR races and I know his kids love coming to the drag races at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte. He is just a great guy and I am proud to run this Chevrolet Camaro to thank him for everything he has done for motorsports.”
This weekend at zMAX Dragway, Force’s Chevrolet Camaro SS will resemble the scheme Gordon competed with between the 2001 and 2008 seasons. Funny Cars aren’t adorned by huge numbers on the side like stock cars, but this weekend, Force’s Chevrolet will feature the iconic yellow No. 24 along with red flames.
“I got the idea for the flames from Jeff telling me years ago he was a fan because I was always on fire,” Force said. “He was right, when I got started we were on fire from here to Australia. I always enjoyed seeing Jeff at races and award banquets. The guy was just so polite and professional but you knew he had the eye of the tiger too. You don’t win all those championships on your good looks”
Force, the 143-time winner in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series hopes to capture a win in Charlotte and get one step closer to his 17th championship. Last year, the event was rain shortened in Charlotte and was completed in Dallas at the Texas Motorplex. John Force finished runner-up. The last time Force earned a win at zMAX Dragway was back in 2010 during the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
“Winning that first Four-Wide race was big,” Force said. “Bruton and Marcus Smith built this amazing race track and I wanted to get that first Four-Wide trophy. This is NASCAR country so we will see a lot of new fans and I love talking to them about all kinds of racing. I’ll be spending a day with the media on Wednesday preaching the gospel about NHRA and the Countdown. I have a lot of new sponsors like Peak, Lucas Oil, Chevrolet, and Monster Energy but I also have to take care of the sponsors that have been with me for years like Auto Club, Traxxas, and Mac Tools. This will be exciting to get the Countdown started and I have a really good young team,” said Force, who has two wins so far in 2015.”
The NHRA Carolina Nationals kicks off at zMAX Dragway on Friday, September 18 and will go through Sunday, September 20. The event is the first of the six races included in the NHRA Mello Yello Series Countdown to the Championship, a playoff format that will determine the champion.