September 4, 2019, St. Louis Region – By the time they hit their 30s or early 40s, most professional athletes have reached their prime and are considering retirement. John Force is 70 – count ‘em – 70 years old and is still winning races at speeds in excess of 330 miles per hour.

Force, a 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champion, is headed to World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, for the eighth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals on September 27-29.

At a time when most drivers are babysitting grandchildren, Force was at Indianapolis over the Labor Day weekend, wading past formidable competitors until he reached the final round of eliminations. He faced the respected veteran Jack Beckman in the final. Both cars left the starting line. No tire-smoking “pedalfest” this time. Force beat him to the finish line fair and square.

“Racing is what I love to do,” said Force. “This is just incredible that someone my age could do this again. Don’t let anybody tell you you’re too old. Get up and stay alive, keep moving. You know, I started hearing ‘you’re 70, this thing is over.’ It’s how bad you want it. I owe this sport so much. I love that NHRA has given me so much. It doesn’t matter what you do in life, you do it because you love it and I love it.”

Force and teammate Robert Hight are two of only six drivers who have qualified for all 13 Mello Yello Countdown to the Championships. Hight won the 2018 edition of the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at WWTR in explosive fashion after his 10,000-horsepower engine dismantled itself at the finish line.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will again deliver the world’s biggest names in professional drag racing to the St. Louis-Metro East region. To purchase tickets or obtain additional information, please call WWTR at (618) 215-8888. Follow WWTR on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates and parking lots open.

8 am. – Sportsman qualifying.

11 a.m. – Midway open.

2:30 p.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.

3:15 p.m. – Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock (car) qualifying.

4 p.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

5:15 p.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.

6 p.m. — Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock (car) qualifying.

6:45 p.m. — Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

7:45 p.m. – Track closed.

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

7 a.m. – Spectator gates and parking lots open.

8 a.m. – Sportsman eliminations begin.

10:15 a.m. – Midway opens.

1 p.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.

1:45 p.m. — Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock (car) qualifying.

2:30 p.m. — Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

3:45 p.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.

4:30 p.m. — Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock (car) qualifying.

5:15 p.m. — Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

8:15 p.m. – Track closed.

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

7 a.m. – Parking lots open.

8 a.m. – Spectator gates open.

9 a.m. – Midway open.

10 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies and SealMaster Track Walk.

11 a.m. – First round of Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car eliminations.

Noon – First round of Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock (car) eliminations.

12:30 p.m. – First round of Pro Mod eliminations.

1:10 p.m. – Second round of Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car eliminations.

1:40 p.m. – Second round of Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock (car) eliminations.

2 p.m. – Second round of Pro Mod eliminations.

2:35 p.m. — Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car semi-finals.

2:50 p.m. — Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock (car) semi-finals.

3 p.m. – Pro Mod semi-finals.

3:05 p.m. – Final rounds of eliminations for Sportsman, Comp, Factory Stock Showdown.

3:25 p.m. – Jr. Dragsters.

3:30 p.m. – Parade of champions.

3:40 p.m. – Final round of Pro Mod eliminations.

3:45 p.m. – Final round of Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock (car) eliminations.

3:50 p.m. – Final round of Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car eliminations.

4 p.m. – Track closed.

Schedule subject to change.

 

About World Wide Technology Raceway

World Wide Technology Raceway is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. World Wide Technology Raceway’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, recently-enlarged 2.0-mile road course, a state-of-the-art karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue. World Wide Technology Raceway was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from St. Louis Attractions Association. In 2018, owner and CEO Curtis Francois received the Innovator Award from the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission in recognition of his work for restoring World Wide Technology Raceway (known then as Gateway Motorsports Park) to prominence.