Racing’s most passionate
fans read RACER and
RACER.com. That’s why,
as always, RACER of the
Year XIX means so much
to the winners – it’s you
who voted and decided.
Once again, you cast
your votes in record
numbers. And once again,
the list of winners truly
reflects the excellence and
diversity within our sport.
Here’s who earned the
accolades from 2013.
John Force’s ability to successfully drive at
320mph at the age of 64 trumps Indy car
racing’s nearest equivalent, Al Unser, who
won the 1987 Indy 500 at the age of 47.
John Force, your overwhelming choice for
overall RACER of the Year and Drag Racer
of the Year, floundered through early 2013,
but came alive at midseason and walked
away with what he considers one of the
most meaningful championships of his
unparalleled career. It was his 16th Funny
Car title, extending his own NHRA record,
and it couldn’t have come at a better time
for the 64-year-old living legend.
Force won just six rounds through the first
nine races of the Mello Yello Drag Racing
season, then reversed his fortunes in June,
winning seven rounds in just the next two
races – Bristol, where he took an event win
for the first time anywhere in more than a
year, and Epping, where he was runner-up.
Stunned to discover that he’d be losing
both his Castrol and Ford sponsorships
after 2014, Force put together a 14-5
win-loss record over the next few months
and positioned himself perfectly for the
six-race Countdown to the Championship
playoffs. There, all he did was drive into the
final round at five races in a row and win
three – St. Louis, Reading, and Las Vegas –
to win the title in a runaway.
“There were times where, yeah, I
wondered if maybe I wasn’t going to come
all the way back to where I’ve been in the
past, but in the end they couldn’t stop us,”
says Force, who was an unbelievable 19-3
John Force’s 2013 season was similar to Scott
Dixon’s in IndyCar; it started with many
heavy defeats, which merely set the stage
for an unstoppable and glorious comeback.