NHRA legend John Force starts 47th season while openly wondering ‘How far can you go?’ Entry list for the 2023 Twelve Hours of Sebring

Gainesville, Florida. Years ago, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits tried to induct NHRA legend John Force into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. Or rather, several times.

Force declined all invitations.

“I kept telling him, ‘There are other guys who need to come in and I’ll hopefully be a little late,'” Force said. “Eventually he called me and said, ‘You have to go.

Force, who will be 74 in two months, relented to headline the class of 2023, which was officially inducted Thursday night ahead of the NHRA season. The often colorful and always chatty Force delivered a nearly 20-minute speech that was as rambling as it was extensive in front of a crowded hotel ballroom, which included the 91-year-old Garlits.

He promised to finally pay off several ten-year-old outstanding debts and said he was working to get daughter Kourtney back on track. Courtney retired from racing in 2019 and has since given birth to two daughters.

“Why am I still doing this at my age? Because I love it,” said John Force.

The 16-time Funny Car champion has also made it clear that he is not thinking about ending his career. when it starts the Gatornationals season opener this weekend. In December, he even signed a three-year contract with Chevrolet and its main sponsor, Peak.

“How far can you go?” Force told The Associated Press. “Now I am 73 years old. I want to respect the sport, but I also want to help the sport. I want to help him grow, and right now he needs help.”

Force remains the main promoter of the NHRA and the undisputed spokesman for drag racing. He began to fulfill this role long before his first championship in 1990. He won 15 more wins, including an unprecedented 10th in a row between 1993 and 2002.

His last title came in 2013 and he hasn’t finished higher than fourth in the past eight years. His team missed most of the 2020 season but he is back to win in 2021.

But John Force Racing continues to thrive, with daughter Brittany winning her second Top Fuel championship in six seasons in 2022, while teammates Robert Hite and Austin Prok finished second and third respectively in Funny Car and Top Fuel. Hite was three points short of winning his fourth title, a number that would have tied him with NHRA legends Kenny Bernstein and Don Prudhomme.

Meanwhile, Force enters his 47th pro season with the NHRA. He holds almost every record imaginable, including championships, final rounds (264) and competition wins (155).

“Racing is what I do,” Force said. “I didn’t really come for money or trophies. I wanted to make a living and I wanted to race. This is what I have to do. It’s easy for me.”

As a result, six Halls of Fame have been inducted, including the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2008, the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame in Fort Worth in 2011, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2012, the California Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, and the glory of the National Association of Motorsports in 2019.

“I lived it and I love it. He took care of me and now my family,” said Force, who is very proud to watch three of his five grandchildren race. “These kids motivate me. You live off your children. Now I live off my grandchildren.”

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring has 54 cars entered for the 71st edition of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

All five classes will compete in an endurance race on March 18 at Sebring International Raceway.

Eight LMDh entrants are represented in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class, eight in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), 10 in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3), eight in the GT Daytona Pro and 20 in the GT Daytona.

LIST OF INPUTS: Who will be running the 2023 Twelve Hours of Sebring?

The 3.74-mile, 17-turn, 12-hour race in central Florida starts at 10:10 am on Saturday, March 17th. Peacock will broadcast the race from flag to flag starting at 10:00 am, with the last six hours also being shown on the US network.

Sebring will see the debut of the premier GTP IMSA class for hybrid prototypes on Saturday. Last year, the number 02 Cadillac Racing VR won the top DPi class in the Twelve Hours of Sebring.

This Chip Ganassi Racing entrant (with drivers Earl Bamber, Richard Westbrook and Alex Lynn) will compete Friday, March 17th in Sebring in the hypercar category for the season opener of the World Endurance Championship. 1000 miles of Sebring 37 cars will be presented (including 11 in the top division). Porsche Penske Motorsport will enter a pair of Porsche 963 hybrids in the WEC and IMSA races in Sebring.

Other Twelve Hours of Sebring Defense Class Winners:

LMP2: Ben Keating/Mikkel Jensen/Scott Huffaker, no. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07

LMP3: Joao Barbosa/Malte Jacobsen/Lance Wilsey, No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P320

GTD PROLine: Antonio Garcia / Jordan Taylor / Nicky Catsburg, No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD

GTD: Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto/Antonio Fuoco, No. 47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari 488 GT3

The 2023 IMSA season opened with a second consecutive victory for the No. 60 Acura ARX-06 from Meyer Shank Racing at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

On March 8, the team was fined for manipulating Rolex 24 tire pressure data, but they were allowed to keep the win.

Click here for a list of Twelve Hours of Sebring 2023 participants.


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