John Force, a 16-time National Hot Rod Association Funny Car champion, is set to visit St. Thomas Raceway Park June 7 and 8 for the first time since 1996.
Courtesy: Ben Forrest
John Force’s list of accolades has swollen considerably since his last visit to St. Thomas Raceway Park in 1996.
The Yorba Linda, California native has won 10 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) series championships since then and cemented his status as drag racing icon.
But he’ll be back at the track June 7 and 8, perhaps the last time people in St. Thomas and Elgin county will be able to see him in their own back yard.
“Chances are he will never be back,” said Rick Kopp, a fellow racer who’s helping bring Force to the track.
“He’s still driving, but it’s taken him this long to get back, and we figured it would be a great opportunity for everybody to get to meet and greet him and see some of his old race cars.”
Force will be a featured attraction at the Hardcore Horsepower Shootout Weekend, which runs Saturday and Sunday at the track.
“He’s the king of drag racing, and he’s a great showman,” Kopp said. “But he holds more records than anybody, and I would say he’s the most well-known in the sport.”
Force won’t race at the St. Thomas track but will be available for photos and autographs.
“When you go down to the races, down at any of the NHRA races – not to say that you’re not going to meet him, but it’s pretty tough to, because there’s so many hundreds of people at his trailer all the time,” Kopp said.
“And of course, he can only devote so much time to time to signing autographs and he’s got to get going and back to racing his car. So this way, at least his full attention is for the fans.”
The last time Force came to the track, nearly 30,000 people visited.
“That’s a huge amount,” Kopp said. “If we got 15,000 I would just be on the moon.”
The weekend will be jam-packed with races in many categories: pro mods, funny cars, top fuel dragsters, bracket racing, Nitro Harleys and a junior dragster race.
Fireworks are also scheduled for Saturday and there will be face painting, bouncy castles and clowns for kids.
“If you’re into drag racing, no matter what age you are, this is the event you’ve got to be at,” Kopp said.
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IF YOU GO
Hardcore Horsepower Shootout Weekend
WHAT: A weekend jam-packed with races and a visit from 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force
WHEN: June 7 and 8
WHERE: St. Thomas Raceway Park (45633 County Rd. 27, St. Thomas)
TICKETS: headsupracingassociation.ca or at the gate