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April 19, 2014

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64-year-old John Force wins 16th NHRA title

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Associated Press / AP

In this photo provided by NHRA, veteran Funny Car driver John Force powered his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to his third consecutive event victory and clinched the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello world championship title Sunday, Oct. 28, 2013, at the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Force defeated his youngest daughter Courtney with a 4.062 second run at 310.63 mph in the final round.

John Force won his record 16th Funny Car season title Sunday, beating daughter Courtney Force in the final round in the NHRA Toyota Nationals.

The 64-year-old Force has won three straight events and four overall this season to push his record career total to 138.

"I read an article this morning about being humble, but right now I'd like to scream and shout," Force said. "If there is anything I've ever done right in my life, it's been a team effort."

He won the final with a 4.062-second run at 310.63 mph.

"We've won the championship and we're glad to have done so, man we're having fun. ... I don't want to end my career at 16. I want to end it at 17 at least."

Force beat Gary Densham, Del Worsham and Alexis DeJoria to reach the final round.

"I'd like to scream and say, 'Gee, it was me,' but the truth is (crew chief) Jimmy Prock and the team he's got around him is unbelievable," Force said. "It's a team effort and that's what I'm really proud of, holding together when it looked like we were falling apart."

Matt Smith also won at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to wrap up his second Pro Stock Motorcycle season title. Antron Brown won the Top Fuel event, and Shane Gray topped the Pro Stock field.

The season-ending Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals Nov. 7-10 in Pomona, Calif.

Smith topped Jerry Savoie with a 6.991 at 192.08 on a Buell. Smith also has won three straight events and four this year.

"This team has been awesome and winning this championship, it's great," Smith said. "I don't want to sound too confident, but we've almost been unstoppable lately."

Antron Brown edged Clay Millican at 3.782 and 324.51.

"Hats off to all the boys," Brown said. We've been working really hard."

Brown moved from fifth to second in the standings, 102 points behind Shawn Langdon. Langdon was in a position to clinch the title, but fell to Millican in the semifinals.

"Anything can happen," Brown said. "It's never done until the last race of the year."

Gray beat V. Gaines with a 6.699 at 206.89 in a Chevy Camaro for his first victory of the year.

"We really needed this one," Gray said. "I'm looking forward to going to Pomona. I think I'll be even stronger there."

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