John Force broke a 31-race winless drought Sunday by driving his Ford Mustang Funny Car to a Father’s Day victory.
It was Force’s 135th career win, and it came against his biggest rival—Cruz Pedregon.
Steve Torrence was the winner in Top Fuel and Rodger Brogdon took home the Pro Stock Wally at the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, TN.
“I really thought Courtney was going to take me out first round,” Force said. “Her car has been flyin’ all year. It’s all in the teamwork. We haven’t won the championship, we haven’t won the Countdown, but we have a race car. That’s what I’m excited about. It’s a great day.”
In the final, Force powered his Mustang to a winning performance of 4.148 seconds at 305.29 miles-per-hour to take the victory as Pedregon’s Toyota Camry shut off as it approached the finish line, ultimately coasting across in 4.335 at 224.02.
“If you can’t compete you are just mentally out of it,” said Force, 64, the seventh different Funny Car winner of the season. He celebrated the win with his wife Laurie and daughters Courtney and Brittany. He said he received a phone call from daughter Ashley to congratulate him and wish him a happy Father’s Day while he was in winner’s circle.
“This is great to come back here and win,” Force said. “So many fans wanted me to win on Father’s Day. It’s just a great day for the Force family and to do it on Father’s Day is just awesome.”
[important]Read our story about the best fathers and families in motorsports here.[/important]
In Top Fuel, Torrence claimed his first win of the season and fourth of his career by defeating event top qualifier Spencer Massey in the final round. Torrence covered the distance in 3.871 at 320.13 in his dragster to finish in front of Massey’s dragster, which trailed with a 3.894 at 317.19.
The victory was the first for Torrence with his new crew chief, veteran tuner Lee Beard. Prior to the Atlanta race in May, Torrence hired Beard to replace his previous tuner, Richard Hogan.
Brogdon claimed his first Pro Stock victory by outrunning Erica Enders-Stevens in the final round. Brodgon’s Chevy Camaro posted a 6.745 at 205.38 while Enders-Stevens trailed with a 6.752 at 205.66 in her Camaro.
Brogdon scored early round wins over V. Gaines, points leader and top qualifier Mike Edwards, and Jason Line before driving around Enders-Stevens in the final.
“Erica is like a daughter to me,” Brogdon said. “I’ve known her dad for a long time, and we used to race against each other years ago. But when you go up against each other in the final, you have to put all that behind you.”
Brogdon, who moved to ninth in the points order with the victory, said some changes that he’s put in place in the last couple of months are finally starting to pay off. He said his decision to test at Bristol Dragway last week also proved to be critical in this outcome.
“I said when we started this deal that it was going to take at least 10 races or so [for it to show results] and this happened to be the 10th race,” Brogdon said. “We made nine runs in two days of testing here, and it sure paid off. We were so much better at the end of our testing than we were when we got here. I have to give a lot of credit to my guys for coming up here and doing such great work.”
Pro Stock Championship point standings
1. Mike Edwards 921 2. Jeg Coughlin 757 Allen Johnson 757 4. Erica Enders-Stevens 687 5. Jason Line 657
Funny Car Championship point standings
1. Matt Hagan 746 2. Cruz Pedregon 730 3. Johnny Gray 677 4. Jack Beckman 584 5. Ron Capps 579
Top Fuel Championship point standings
1. Tony Schumacher 802 2. Shawn Langdon 801 3. Spencer Massey 716 4. Antron Brown 660 5. Khalid alBalooshi 578