LAS VEGAS - Life is good for John Force. The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion already has a victory under his belt this season, has two final-round appearances so far and is leading the Funny Car points after three races.

And, to top it off, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is pulling into Las Vegas this weekend for the 15th annual NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"I love Las Vegas," the exuberant Force said. "I won my last championship here (in October) and it is a Bruton Smith track. I love Bruton and Marcus Smith. The town is fun and we have great fans out here.

"You want to do well at tracks like Las Vegas because they have good media and great crowds. We'll be unveiling our new media trailer at the race this weekend. We have a lot of sponsors that come out from the West Coast and the East Coast to watch us race."

It also doesn't hurt that Force has enjoyed a fair amount of success at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He has won four Funny Car titles in Las Vegas, including sweeping both events in 2010, and won the most recent race at Las Vegas last fall.

"The thing about racing at The Strip at Las Vegas is we seem to perform well here," he said. "I have won here and Robert (Hight) has won here with his Auto Club Mustang. Courtney went to the finals last year. It was tough to beat her for the championship but I saw the fire in her eyes at the top end. She is going to be tough to beat, for sure."

Force doesn't have any complaints about how the season is unfolding. He opened 2014 with a win at Pomona, advanced to the semifinals at Phoenix and lost to Hight in the finals at Gainesville two weeks ago.

"We are doing OK," Force said of the John Force Racing stable. "I have a win and Robert just won the Gatornationals. Brittany went to the (Top Fuel) finals in Phoenix and Courtney's Traxxas Funny Car is coming around.

"Jimmy (Prock, crew chief) will have my Castrol Funny Car ready to go and we are just looking forward to racing and spending time with the fans on the ropes. The NHRA is awesome in how close the fans can get to the action and I love having them around. The cheer of the crowd is what gets me excited."

The John Force Racing quartet of drivers will be interacting with the fans away from the track, as well, signing autographs in The Pub at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino on Friday, March 28, from 8-9 p.m.

The 15th annual NHRA Nationals begin Friday with pro qualifying sessions at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will be at 1:10 and 4:50 p.m. Saturday, with Pro Stock runs for the K&N Horsepower Challenge at 1, 3:45 and 4:45 p.m. Saturday. Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

For tickets and additional information, please call LVMS at (702) 644-4444 or visit


Schedule for the NHRA Nationals

Friday, March 28

7:30 a.m. - Spectator gates open.

8 a.m. - Sportsman qualifying.

10:30 a.m. - Comp Eliminator qualifying.

Noon - Top Alcohol qualifying.

1:30 p.m. - Pro Stock qualifying.

2 p.m. - Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

4:30 p.m. - Pro Stock qualifying.

5 p.m. - Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying. 6:30 p.m. - Jet dragsters

Saturday, March 29

7:30 a.m. - Spectator gates open.

8 a.m. - Sportsman eliminations.

10 a.m. - Comp Eliminator qualifying.

10:30 a.m. - Top Alcohol qualifying.

Noon - Comp Eliminator

1:10 p.m. - Pro Stock qualifying.

1:30 p.m. - Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

2:45 a.m. - Top Alcohol eliminations.

3:50 p.m. - Pro Stock qualifying.

4:15 p.m. - Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

5:30 p.m. - Jet dragsters

Sunday, March 30

7:30 a.m. - Spectator gates open.

8 a.m. - Sportsman eliminations.

10 a.m. - Pre-race ceremonies.

11 a.m. - Final eliminations begin.