Reigning funny car champion John Force, 64, wins in Pomona

NHRA drag racing legend John Force competes in qualifying at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona on Saturday.
(Jerry Foss / Associated Press)

John Force added another chapter to his legendary career Sunday as the 64-year-old drag racer won the funny car race at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.

Force, who earned a record 16th funny car championship last year, knocked out another former champion, Matt Hagan, in the final round at Auto Club Raceway.

In doing so, Force set another record. His final-round run was 3.965 seconds, a new national low, at 323.58 mph in the 1,000-foot race.

It was the 139th victory for Force, who owns the Yorba Linda-based team that includes his daughter Courtney and son-in-law Robert Hight in funny cars, and daughter Brittany in the sport’s other 300-mph class called top fuel.

In top fuel, Khalid alBalooshi defeated Doug Kalitta to win the Winternationals with a run of 3.974 seconds at 324.36 mph.


It was the third career victory for alBalooshi, a Dubai native who lives in Los Angeles and is starting his third season in the top ranks of the National Hot Rod Assn.'s Mello Yello Series.