CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 21, 2023) – John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS team are only 129 points out of the Funny Car points lead. With five races still left in the Countdown to the Championship, the gap could easily be closed with a solid weekend at the betway NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway just outside of Charlotte.
Force will be competing on a track where he has had recent success, qualifying No. 1 in four of his last five starts including two straight No. 1s in the Carolina Nationals. In addition to his recent dominance in qualifying, he is the track record holder at 3.850 seconds (April 29, 2022) as well as the event record holder (3.854 on Sept. 23, 2022). Force won the Carolina Nationals in 2016 but he has won the companion event, the Four-Wide Nationals in the spring, three times (2010, 2021 and 2022). In 2022 at the Carolina Nationals, after qualifying No. 1, Force went on to a semifinal finish, losing to eventual race winner and reigning world champ Ron Capps.
“I love coming to Charlotte, zMAX Dragway, the Bellagio of drag strips. It’s Bruton Smith’s legacy. Now his son, Marcus, is carrying it over. It’s something else getting to race there,” Force said. “We’re in the Countdown now. One race down. This weekend will be important. We all know it and we’re ready. It will be exciting. Exciting for the racers, teams, and sponsors but exciting for the fans who get to see it all happen, too.”
Force is looking for his first win of the season as he enters the weekend sitting No. 9 in the Countdown to the Championship. His best performances so far in 2023 were a No. 1 start at the Northwest Nationals near Seattle and a runner-up finish to Bob Tasca III in the New England Nationals, which began in Epping, New Hampshire but finished in Bristol, Tennessee.
Competition at the betway NHRA Carolina Nationals will begin with three rounds of qualifying Friday at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday at 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. Eliminations will be run Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Television coverage of the second of six races in the Countdown to the Championship will air on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and include two qualifying shows on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET. Eliminations coverage will be on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET.