The technology behind a both an NHRA Top Fuel dragster and a Funny Car is stunning, a true engineering feat of genius.
However, the long, skinny power-producers, with the skinny front tires and the fat slick in the backs of the Top Fuel dragsters till are the headliners of the sport—until John Force flipped the script in 1998 at Englishtown, N.J.
Force's 323.35-mph blast for his second qualifying attempt that Friday, May 15, made him faster than five-time Top Fuel champion ace Joe Amato (and broke the 320-mph barrier). Force fired the first salvo, and Amato returned fire on race day to recapture bragging rights—for a few moments. Ultimately, with a 323.89-mph pass in the final round against Jim Epler (ironically, the first man to register a 300-mph speed), Force proved that a Funny Car could outperform a Top Fuel dragster.
Force did so again the next year in the first of two Winston No Bull Showdown exhibition events that pitted dragsters against Funny Cars.
After he beat Top Fuel’s Bob Vandergriff, Force joked, “I’m the fastest man on Earth!” (Cory McClenathan put the drag-racing world back in its traditional orbit at the second specialty race, winning on behalf of the Top Fuel class.)
Speed Milestones In Top Fuel
250 mph – 250.00, Don Garlits, 1975, Ontario, Calif.
300 mph – 301.70, Kenny Bernstein, 1992, Gainesville, Fla.
320 mph – 321.77, Cory McClenathan, 1997, Ennis, Texas
330 mph – 330.23, Tony Schumacher, 1999, Chandler, Ariz.
Speed Milestones In Funny Car
250 mph – 250.00, Don Prudhomme, 1982, Baton Rouge, La.
300 mph – 300.40, Jim Epler, 1993, Topeka
320 mph – 323.35, John Force, 1998, Englishtown, N.J.
330 mph – 330.15, Gary Scelzi, 2004, Joliet, Ill.
Top 10 Speeds In Top Fuel (in mph)
338.17 Brittany Force, Las Vegas 2, 2019
338.00 Brittany Force, Las Vegas 1, 2022
337.92 Brittany Force, Phoenix, 2020
337.66 Brittany Force, St. Louis, 2021
337.75 Brittany Force, Gainesville, 2022
337.75 Brittany Force, Sonoma, 2022
336.57 Tony Schumacher, Phoenix, 2018
336.49 Brittany Force, Sonoma, 2022
336.23 Brittany Force, Pomona 1, 2020
336.07 Brittany Force, Sonoma, 2022
Top 10 Speeds In Funny Car (in mph)
339.87 Robert Hight, Sonoma, 2017
339.28 Ron Capps, Reading, 2019
339.02 Robert Hight, Reading, 2017
338.85 Matt Hagan, Topeka 2017
338.77 Matt Hagan, Indianapolis 2017
338.68 Courtney Force, Topeka 2017
338.60 Robert Hight, St. Louis, 2017
338.60 Robert Hight, Dallas, 2017
338.09 Robert Hight, Topeka 2017
338.00 Robert Hight, Brainerd 2017