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John Force to Make 800th Career Start as Hunt for 17th Championship Kicks Off at Maple Grove

John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS team enter the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the first race of the NRHA Countdown to the Championship, sitting fifth in the points standings, just 50 back from the lead after the points reset for the six race playoffs.

Force will make his 800th career start Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway, a track on which he has won a record seven times, most of any pro driver, regardless of category. His victories at Reading, Pennsylvania came in 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2013. The 1989 win was just the fifth of his career and his only win of that season.

“Starting the Countdown, the points reset really is working in our favor. Robert Hight and the Auto Club team are up there but it’s within reach,” Force said. “Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisi they’ve made this PEAK Auto Chevy fast and we’ve found some consistency. These last six races are going to be exciting. Reading has been good to me in the past, be good to get some momentum going. We want to start with a good long weekend, keep ourselves in the conversation, a win this weekend would do just that.”

In 2021, after qualifying 12th, Force took his PEAK Chevy Camaro SS to the final round before losing to Tommy Johnson Jr., subbing for COVID-sidelined Matt Hagan. Force has qualified No. 1 seven times at Maple Grove Raceway, most recently in 2013 but also 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2001.

Competition at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway begins with qualifying on Friday at 5:45 p.m. and Saturday at 1:15 and 4:45 p.m. Eliminations are scheduled to begin Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Television coverage of the event begins Friday with a qualifying show at 7 p.m. ET and another on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Eliminations will be aired Sunday at 2 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. ET (check local listings) on FOX Broadcasting Network.

This story was originally published on September 15, 2022. Drag Illustrated

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