No Funny Car repeat winner at the NHRA Arizona Nationals this year

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

There will be no repeat Funny Car winner this weekend at the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona. Courtney Force retired in January after racing multiple years in the sport. 

She retired from the sport to spend more time with her family. Now that Force retired, she may also start a family with her IndyCar racing husband Graham Rahal. 

When her sister Ashley stepped away from the sport in 2011, she began a family and never raced in a national event again.

Former Funny Car pilot Courtney Force racing on Sunday at the 2018 NHRA Arizona Nationals
Courtney Force racing on Sunday at the 2018 NHRA Arizona Nationals (Photo by the NHRA)

Force defeated Make-A-Wish Foundation Funny Car pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round of last year’s event. She went 3.834 at 337.16 mph to get the win. 

Johnson Jr. — who is celebrating his 30th year Nitro Anniversary in racing this weekend at the track — went 6.814 at 101.57 mph in the losing effort. 

There are presently 17 Funny Cars listed on the entry listed. If they all show up to the track, one Funny Car will not make eliminations on Sunday. 

Outside of the regulars, Terry Haddock, Phil Burkhart Jr., Jeff Diehl, and Gary Densham will be competing. In addition, Blake Alexander — who purchased Brian Stewart’s Funny Car operation in the off-season — will be making his Funny Car return this weekend. 

Alexander will work in conjunction with Tim Wilkerson. His son, Daniel, will be Alexander’s crew chief. 

According to, he last competed in Funny Car in 2016 before making the switch to Top Fuel. 

Living legend John Force has the most wins all-time at this facility in Funny Car. He is an eight-time winner, but he has not win since 2005. 

Besides the 2005 win, he also won in 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995, and 1994.

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