JOHN FORCE RACING
NHRA Funny Car
It took John Force a long time to
become an overnight success. He
made his first NHRA Funny Car
final-round appearance in 1979, took
a first win in ’ 87, and unlocked his first
championship in ’ 90. Then the flood
gates opened... Since then, only six
titles haven’t been won by John Force
Racing drivers. JFR’s current haul is
16 for Force (including 2013) and
one apiece for Robert Hight and Tony
Pedregon. And, of course, JFR led the
2014 points as we closed for press...
There have been countless successful race teams, but
some rise above with their superlative achievements.
owerhouse. The RACER office dictionary
defines it as a group of people or an
organization that has a lot of power,
energy, strength and skill. Which is pretty
much all successful race teams, really...
We wanted to narrow it down a little
more and, while highly subjective, to look
at successful teams in the context of who
they beat, how long they were successful,
and how they adapted to change
and circumstance thrust upon them.
From that, we determined a shortlist –
our “powerhouse powerhouses,” as it
were – then argued some more and
came up with our ultimate powerhouse.
Looking at the rest of the shortlist, it’s
an intriguing mixture of short-term
dominators, long-term benchmarks and
era-defining organizations that, due to fate
or circumstance, come with a “What if?”
The Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 team of
1954-’ 55 is a short-term dominator that
perfectly fits the “What if?” category.
Running a partial season in ’ 54, its W196
won four of six grands prix entered – not
a bad warmup. All came for Juan Manuel
Fangio, who’d started the year winning
Pmore than enough to give the Argentine
ace his second F1 World Championship.
The ’ 55 season was the one Mercedes
had targeted to get really serious and, had
Fangio and new signing Stirling Moss not
suffered uncharacteristic transmission and
engine failures while running 1-2 in Monaco,
it would have swept all six GPs contested.
Fangio duly collected his third F1 crown,
thanks to four wins and one second-place.
“The Mercedes F1 team of
1954-’ 55 is a short-term
dominator that perfectly
fits the ‘What if?’ category”
With the German factory taking F1 racing
to new levels with its technologically-advanced, near-bulletproof racecars, stellar
driver lineup and deep-pockets approach to
budgets and logistics, it certainly meets our
powerhouse criteria. But following the ’ 55
Le Mans disaster, Mercedes announced it
would pull out of all racing at the end of the
year, meaning we never got a chance to find
out what heights the Silver Arrows might
have reached in subsequent seasons.