John Force damages new Camaro body during Friday NHRA qualifying

John Force unveiled the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car body on Tuesday afternoon in Indianapolis. Three days later it’s already got an appointment with the body shop.

Force, while making a qualifying run at the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Kan., encountered severe tire shake and made a turn toward the left lane retaining wall. He didn’t make a direct impact but did scuff the wall enough for the team to pull the body from competition.

"First of all I want to apologize to all the Chevrolet enthusiasts out there, everyone that worked on this car and helped design it," Force said. The first run that we made with the car…..there are two different kinds of shake. There is an aggressive shake and a weak shake and on those two types, you have to know which way to pedal it. If it’s weak, it’s got to be real quick snap of the pedal to get off and get back on to catch it. And that is what I did on the first run, it was weak."

Force managed to run a 4.102 in the opening session which put him in the No. 12 spot.

"It cut the air, steered perfect, and the view was awesome," Force said of the new body. "Everything was good about it.  So we went back to work and said we have to get after this thing because the conditions were getting better."

Friday’s second session of Funny Car qualifying was one for the ages with nine of the top ten qualifiers all recording personal bests. Force had visions of the same in optimum atmospheric conditions but instead the run went wrong.

"It left hard, did the same thing," Force explained. "People had been running some big numbers and when it rattled again, I tried to catch it quicker thinking it was a weak shake. I thought I could step up and put myself higher in the show.  Well, it was an aggressive shake which means I should have got out of it and waited.   But I didn’t know. 

"Right as I went back to hit it, you can see on the video that it was starting to turn, and it’s just enough when you hit that throttle its sideways, and it put me straight into the wall."

Getting only two runs on the new body was disappointing for Force.

"It’s a shame because of all the hard work," Force said. "We can’t fix it and it will have to go back, and go back in the mold. And that is all we can do right now."