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Force, Ashley and Glenn Win Postponed Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Phoenix

NHRA photos

Funny Car legend John Force picked up his first victory in two years, powering past Matt Hagan of Tony Stewart Racing to win the postponed Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, which was completed on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd at Firebird Motorsports Park in Phoenix.

Justin Ashley (Top Fuel) and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) also won the postponed Pomona race on Saturday at Firebird Motorsports Park, which was the second of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

Force, the winningest driver in NHRA history, went 4.033-seconds at 318.24 mph in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS, slipping past Hagan’s 4.048 to claim his 156th career victory and first since April of 2022. Force now has eight Winternationals wins to his credit and this marked another special one in his iconic career.

“I’m just facing the truth in life, that, you know, time’s running out, and I’m trying to hang on,” Force said. “This morning, I was talking about, ‘You know, maybe this is it, maybe I should just walk out the gate and go to the casino,’ and then all sudden you win and your weight and your personality just changes.

“I was mad, mad at myself [for losing in the Mission Challenge earlier in the day], and I started saying, ‘You just need to get out of the seat, you’re just too old for this stuff’ or ‘Get out there and fight the fight.’ And I did and things went right, and I got the win, so I’m excited.”

NHRA photos

In Top Fuel, Justin Ashley kept his Winternationals winning streak alive, even in a new location, winning the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals for the third straight year and defeating Tony Schumacher on a holeshot with a pass of 3.802 at 330.15 in his 11,000-horsepower Scag Power Equipment dragster. Ashley posted an impressive reaction time of .023 to hold off Schumacher’s run of 3.772 at 326.00

It is Ashley’s 12th career victory and first this season, and certainly one of the more unique ones in his young career.

“It’s very special. Even though is not in Pomona, the NHRA Winternationals is a very prestigious race so to win it once is extraordinary. To win in three times in a row is an incredible blessing,” Ashley said. “This event, the way everything played out, it was a test for our team and they came through just as they seemingly do every time. I think we needed this as a team.

“This was a huge round win. It’s just so special because you never know when you’ll be in another final and you want to try to take advantage of that opportunity and you never know when you’re going to win your next race so you just have to try and enjoy it. This one feels a little bit different and a little bit different in a good way.” 

In Pro Stock, Glenn defended his Winternationals victory with a second straight win, this one coming in Phoenix and on a holeshot against reigning world champion Erica Enders. Glenn went 6.537 at 209.14 in his RAD Torque Systems Chevrolet Camaro, using an .024 reaction time to hold off Enders’ 6.531 at 209.52.

It’s the ninth career win for Glenn and his first in the 2024 campaign, giving the young standout some much-needed Phoenix success.

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“I was just thinking that the last two times I’ve raced here in Phoenix I’ve lost first round both times, so Phoenix hasn’t been the best place to me,” Glenn said. “I definitely wanted to finish that last one in Pomona. We tried some new things and kind of took a few runs to get it dialed in, but it definitely came around in the final. I just tried to do everything I can to hit everything I could on that one. I’m just glad to be able to get it done because I was feeling really good in Pomona.”

Eliminations for the 39th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals begin at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday at Firebird Motorsports Park.

This story was originally published on April 7, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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