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Nitro Shots: Potential History in the Making for John Force

John Force has been no stranger to making history in his storied career and he has the opportunity to do so once again this weekend. Force won the first two legs of the Western Swing in Denver and Sonoma and enters Seattle as the only driver with a chance to complete the sweep this year. A look at the numbers shows just how big of a deal this is.

The sweep has happened only eight times. Of those eight, six have been accomplished in Top Fuel, while Funny Car and Pro Stock have one sweep each. The one time someone did it in Funny Car: in 1994 by John Force. If Force can complete the sweep, he would remain the only Funny Car driver to do so, and become the only driver in any class to do it twice. The gap between the first and second sweep for Force would be 22 years. Those numbers should make it clear just how difficult sweeping the three race Western Swing is.

NHRA 2016 Sonoma John Force celebration courtesy NHRA

“It doesn’t matter how good you are,” said Force. “How much you are out running the pack. I am not outrunning the pack I am running with it. The Worshams are right there and so are all of the Schumacher teams. My daughter Courtney is outrunning me every week just like Robert Hight. It is the toughest Funny Car pack I have ever seen. To win the Swing a lot comes into play. The pressure comes in from the media and the fans. Then you can’t let your mindset change. You have to be able to run with the pack. Keep your mindset right and you need destiny.”

Force does have a few things going his way on this deal. He’s won in Seattle eight times before, most recently in 2014, so he does well at this particular track. Force has also won three races in a row twelve times previously. Obviously experience is on his side. John Force has pretty much been there, done that for just about anything you can imagine. Still, given the rarity of the feat at hand, whether or not he can pull it off will be the thing to watch this weekend.

“I can’t make a call on the Swing,” Force continued. “I like Seattle, good air, good race track. The fans are great, let’s see if we can go give them a show.”

Just in case you were wondering, the full list of drivers who have swept the Western Swing: Joe Amato (1991), Cory McClenathan (1997), Larry Dixon (2003), Tony Schumacher (2008) and Antron Brown (2009) are the six Top Fuel winners; John Force (1994) is the only Funny Car winner; Greg Anderson (2004) is the only Pro Stock winner.

What’s News?

* Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patron Tequila Toyota Camry for Kalitta Motorsports, suffered a fractured pelvis after an incident during the first round of eliminations last Sunday in Sonoma. DeJoria’s car lost traction leaving the starting line and cut left, making contact with the wall. She got out of the car under her own power but immediately knew there was a problem.

DeJoria was taken to the local hospital where X-rays revealed the fracture. She did not require surgery and was released from the hospital on Sunday. DeJoria planned to start physical therapy immediately but her status for the race this weekend in Seattle has not yet been announced.

Driver Profile: LE Tonglet

NHRA 2016 LE Tonglet head shot courtesy NHRA

Category: Pro Stock Motorcycle
Hometown: Metairie, Louisiana
Date of birth: December 14, 1989
2016 motorcycle: Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki
Crew chief: Gary Tonglet
Team Owner: Gary Tonglet

Career Highlights:
Career wins/runner-up finishes: 10/4
Best points finish: 1st in 2010
First start: Houston, 2009
Career best ET: 6.825, Gainesville, 2011
Career best speed: 197.91, Englishtown, 2016

2015 – Competed in 13 events; five semifinal finishes

2011 – Won four races in four final round appearances.

2010 – Won NHRA Mello Yello world championship in his rookie season, the third rookie to do so; won six races, including Indianapolis; won Auto Club Road to the Future award, NHRA’s rookie of the year.

Follow LE: @LETonglet on Twitter, LE Tonglet on Facebook, @LE_Tonglet on Instagram

Hey Y’All, Watch This!

Here is a clip of the incident from last Sunday in Sonoma during which Alexis DeJoria suffered a pelvic fracture.

Word of the Week: Speed Trap

This is the final 66 feet of the race track before the finish line and is the area where the top speeds posted for the run are recorded.

NHRA on TV:

ProgramDate/TimeChannel
AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
QualifyingFriday, November 10, 6:30 PM ETFS1 (Live)
QualifyingSaturday, November 11, 6:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)
EliminationsSunday, November 12, 4:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)
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About Toni Montgomery

Toni Montgomery
A writer for Frontstretch since 2002, and editor since 2006, Toni heads up the NHRA coverage for the site. She’s responsible for post-race coverage in the weekly Pace Laps multi-series round-up along with the weekly Nitro Shots column featuring news and features from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. An award-winning former writer for the Presbyterian Church, Toni works in web design and freelances with writing in North Carolina.

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