Force starts 47th NHRA season, thinks: ‘How far can you go?’

Shirley Beal


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — “Big Daddy” Don Garlits attempted to get John Pressure into the Worldwide Drag Racing Hall of Fame decades ago. Several occasions, really.

Drive declined just about every invitation.

“I held telling him, ‘There’s other men that have to have to go in, and I’ll be around awhile, I hope,’” Pressure said. “He eventually named me and stated, ‘You want to go.’”

The practically 74-calendar year-old Force relented and was the headliner of the 2023 class that was formally inducted Thursday night time on the eve of the NHRA year. The often-colourful and generally chatty Drive sent a virtually 20-minute speech that was as rambling as it was vast-ranging in front of a packed hotel ballroom that involved the 91-year-old Garlits.

He promised to eventually shell out off numerous superb money owed from a long time ago and mentioned he’s working on acquiring daughter Courtney back on track. Courtney stepped absent from racing in 2019 and has due to the fact offered beginning to two daughters.

“Why am I nevertheless accomplishing this at my age? Due to the fact I love it,” John Drive explained.

The 16-time Humorous Motor vehicle winner also built it distinct he’s not contemplating about retirement as he begins the time-opening Gatornationals. He even signed a a few-yr agreement extension with Chevrolet and his most important sponsor, Peak, in December.

“How significantly can you go?” Force instructed The Involved Push. “I’m 73 now. I want to be respectful to the sport, but I also want to help the sport. I want to help it increase, and it wants some support suitable now.”

Drive continues to be NHRA’s leading promoter and drag racing’s unquestioned spokesman, roles he begun to embrace long ahead of his initial championship in 1990. He went on to get 15 more, together with an unprecedented 10 in a row among 1993 and 2002.

His final title arrived in 2013, and he has not concluded greater than fourth about the last eight many years.

But John Drive Racing carries on to prosper, with daughter Brittany successful her second Top Gas championship in six seasons in 2022, and teammates Robert Hight and Austin Prock finishing 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in Amusing Car and Top rated Gasoline. Hight came up a few factors shy of winning his fourth title, a quantity that would tie him with NHRA legends Kenny Bernstein and Don Prudhomme.

Power, in the meantime, is entering his 47th specialist NHRA time. He holds just about each and every history possible, which include championships, closing rounds (264) and occasion wins (155).

“Racing is what I do,” Pressure explained. “I did not actually appear for the money or the trophies. I needed to make a dwelling and I needed to race. That is what I get to do. It’s uncomplicated for me.”

It’s resulted in now 6 Corridor of Fame inductions, together with the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2008, the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame at Fort Worth in 2011, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2012, the California Sporting activities Hall of Fame in 2017 and the Countrywide Motorsports Press Affiliation Corridor of Fame in 2019.

“I’ve lived it and I love it. It’s taken care of me and now my loved ones,” stated Pressure, who requires terrific pleasure in viewing 3 of his 5 grandchildren race. “Those children motivate me. You live by your kids. Now I’m dwelling through my grandchildren.”

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