If you thought that NASCAR is the only motorsport where things can get just as intense off the racetrack as on, then think again. In the NHRA, the tempers can be just as quick as the dragsters. Just look at the John Force vs. Tony Pedregon incident during the Indianapolis U.S. Nationals in 2009.
Force, who was 60 years old at the time, showed that he could get just as fired up as he did during his younger years. And, of course, he provided us with another classic John Force soundbite: "My kid kicked your ass."
Tony Pedregon and his brother, Cruz Pedregon, have been racing against John Force for a long time, but on that fateful day in '09, they decided to let their suspiciousness get the better of them. Force was racing against Robert Hight in the semifinals. Hight is part of the John Force Racing team and is also John's son-in-law. Well, John ended up losing to Hight, and the Pedregon brothers cried foul. They claimed that John lost on purpose. You might wonder why anyone would lose a race on purpose. Well, since John lost, that meant that Hight would now qualify for the NHRA's Full Throttle series. As a double whammy, it also knocked Cruz Pedregon out of the playoffs.
Now, the other half of the semifinals included Ashley Force, John's daughter, racing against Tony Pedregon. Ashley had an extremely low ET (elapsed time) all night, and it looked promising for the young racer to take home the win. Sure enough, she managed to get the jump on Tony and won the race, which meant both of the Pedregon brothers were now out of the competition with no shot at the Funny Car title.
Tony and John eventually encountered each other after the race and exchanged some words, which devolved into a screaming match. Of course, the TV cameras were all around them, so the audience at home essentially got a front-row seat to the craziness. You can hear Tony tell John at one point, "You should be ashamed," to which Force replies, "No, you should be. My kid kicked your ass."
The two get into each others faces, and it looks as if it's going to turn into a full-on fistfight. No blows were thrown, but there was a parting shot. Tony's last words to John before they got separated were, "Hey, John, after eight years, I think I'm entitled to say something," insinuating how John had a tendency to manipulate the races.
So, what happened after the smoke cleared? Well, John got slapped with a $10,000 fine for getting physical with an NHRA official, which is strictly against the rules. After some time passed, Tony and John hashed things out, and today they're great friends, though their whole dust-up back in 2009 just goes to show how tense some of these NHRA races can get.
MORE: Classic Clip Shows a Fired-Up John Force Dropping F-Bombs After Getting Disqualified From NHRA Race
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