NHRA: John Force, Cory McClenathan and Mike Edwards take wins at inaugural four-wide race
John Force won for the 128th time in his storied career on Monday afternoon by defeating daughter Ashley Force Hood, Ron Capps and Matt Hagan at the rain-delayed inaugural NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway.
“This is a little taste of history, and it’s great to be a part of it,” Force said. “This was special.”
Force has now won at every track on the NHRA schedule except for Norwalk, Ohio.
In the other pro classes, Cory McClenathan beat Doug Kalitta by the slimmest of margins to win Top Fuel, and Mike Edwards got back on the winning track with a victory in Pro Stock.
Force, who talked all weekend about trying to figure out the modified staging procedure, was first off the line in the Funny Car final and roared to a 4.036-second pass at 316.23 mph in his Castrol Ford Mustang to beat runner-up Force Hood, who had a 4.042-second run at 316.38 mph in the Castrol GTX Mustang.
“Winning that [final] was something,” Force said. “Racing Ron Capps is always tough. Racing Matt Hagan now that [former JFR crew chief] John Medlen is over there, that’ll put the fear in you too, but racing my own daughter is the hardest part. I’m really proud of Ashley because she’s learned the game.”
McClenathan, who won at Charlotte last fall, trailed Kalitta for 999 feet of the 1,000-foot race, but produced enough of a final burst of horsepower in the Fram dragster to pass Kalitta at the line and win by 15 ten-thousandths of a second.
“When it comes to a specialty race, I want to win, and I wanted this bad,” said McClenathan, who now leads teammate Tony Schumacher in the points. “To come here and know you have something to win with, it makes you confident, and it puts that fire in you because you know you have to get the job done.”
McClenathan ran a 3.820-second pass at 319.60 mph to Kalitta’s 3.825 at 316.60 mph in the Technicoat dragster. Antron Brown and Doug Herbert also ran in the final quad.
Edwards had a stellar 0.009-second reaction time to get a jump on finalists Jason Line, Bob Yonke and Greg Stanfield. Then he raced away in his Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to win with a 6.596 at 210.05 mph. After breaking a 12-race streak of qualifying on top of the class, Edwards posted the best ET of every elimination round to take his 23rd career win.