NHRA Funny Car icon John Force took over the historic No. 9 Fishermen's Grotto crab stand on Wednesday in advance of the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Sonoma Raceway, July 29-31.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion joined restaurant owner Gus Geraldi behind the famous Fisherman's Wharf crab stand to crack crab and visit with locals and tourists before sitting down to lunch with local media members. Fishermen's Grotto opened in 1935 as the first sit-down restaurant on San Francisco's world famous Fisherman's Wharf.

 "To come out here and crack crab and let the fans try some, it's an honor for me," said Force, driver of the Peak Antifreeze & Coolant Chevrolet Camaro. "I came to San Francisco with my parents and have brought my kids here. I love being here at Grotto No. 9 with the Geraldi family. What an experience."

Force is the winningest driver in drag racing history and the patriarch of John Force Racing, which includes his two daughters, drivers Courtney (Funny Car) and Brittany (Top Fuel), as well as daughters Adria Hight (CFO) and Ashley Force Hood (President, John Force Entertainment).

 "I'm with my family all the time, and then I get into my race car and feel like a superstar," said Force. "It's not about money or being famous because a lot of them don't get there. I was one of the lucky ones. I really love the racing and the crowds. I loved going to the circus as a kid and now I'm part of P.T. Barnum at 300 miles per hour."

Force's success has carried over to the Sonoma Raceway drag strip, where he holds the record for pro wins with seven in Funny Car (1990-'92, '94, 2000, '02, '07). He was inducted into the raceway's Wall of Fame in 2006. Courtney Force (2014), Robert Hight (2008) and the late Eric Medlen (2006) have also claimed Sonoma wins for John Force Racing.

 "My family and I love coming out to Sonoma," said Force. "The track is incredible, the weather is always perfect at the end of July and the fans sure love their drag racing. I'm looking to sweep the Western Swing and get that championship."

Force returns to Northern California next week for the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, July 29-31. In addition to professional competition in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, the weekend will also feature a celebration of 50 Year of Funny Car, including appearances by Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Ed "The Ace" McCulloch. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.sonomaraceway.com/nhra or call 800-870-7223.