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John Force Shares Potential Retirement Details After Win in New England

In a thrilling weekend at the NHRA New England Nationals, John Force showcased his enduring talent by winning his second race of the season. The 16-time Funny Car world champion defeated his teammate Austin Prock in the final round, clocking in at 4.081 seconds at 319.29 mph. This victory, marking his 157th career win, propelled him to second place in the points standings.

Though, it’s not the win or the fact that John also picked up the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge victory that has caught the attention of many. Sure, it’s a big feat in and of its own for the Funny Car stalwart that’s often referred to as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). It’s what he said after the win that has captivated many.

When asked in his top end interview after crawling out of his PEAK Funny Car, Force went through his typical sponsor shoutout script but then turned his speech into something that’s perhaps been on his mind.

“I want to say something that really does matter, this kid [Austin Prock], because I’m there, is gonna replace me,” said Force, as he grabbed Prock to join him in the frame.

What’s more, he handed Prock the Wally, almost as a symbol of him passing the torch.

Fast forward to Force joining fans on the starting line to celebrate his victory, and he continued to talk about his potential retirement plans in front of thousands.

“I’m down right now because don’t like beating my teammate in the final. He is the future. I love that kid. He’s going to be here for a long time and Robert [Hight] will be coming back,” added Force. “I’m not being dramatic, but my time is up. It was up when I was 65. Hell, it was up when I turned 50. The world is changing for me and I’ve got to do some real thinking. I’m not quitting today. I’m going to Bristol, but I just know I’m not what I used to be.”

Much of the internet was reeling after this (pseudo) announcement from the man who has made the sport so much of what it is today. Force’s announcement that Prock will replace him in his Funny Car has sparked a mix of reactions, with some praising the choice and his legacy while some expressed surprise or concern about filling Force’s “large shoes.” Others called out his age, urging him to retire over safety concerns.

NHRA photo

Force also mentioned that he has a dragster in the shop in Brownsburg, IN, and he’s currently interviewing drivers to fill that seat. There have been rumblings as to who might join his daughter, Brittany, in the Top Fuel ranks, but nothing has come to light officially.

As for when Robert Hight will return, that’s been a great unknown. Our guess is that he will return next year, and Force will go on his “retirement tour,” ending his storied career at the end of the 2025 season.

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However, the 75-year-old has said that winning makes him want to stay in the seat longer, stating, “All sudden you win, and your weight and your personality just changes.”

It’s obviously an internal, now-made external battle that the Funny Car legend is fighting.

It’s cliche, but all we can say is that only time will tell what happens with John Force and John Force Racing. But one thing we know for sure is that his legacy will live on, even if he decides to retire tomorrow.

This story was originally published on June 3, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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