John Force, the 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car world champion, has been nominated for the 2014 ESPY Best Driver Award, it was announced by ESPN.


It is the sixth time Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., has been nominated for the ESPY Best Driver Award. The winner of an NHRA-record 139 races, Force was also nominated for the ESPY Best Driver award in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2011.


The ESPY Awards, for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly, was created by ESPN in 1993. Sports fans can vote for Force and their other sports heroes in each of 33 different categories via an online poll at: Voting is underway and concludes at 9 p.m. (ET) on July 16.


Force, 65, driver of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, finished the 2013 season in dramatic fashion by advancing to the final round in the final five races during the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, winning three of those. He also powered to No. 1 qualifying positions at the final three events. He held off rival Matt Hagan for the championship crown.


Joining Force on the 2014 ESPY Best Driver ballot are NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay.


Past ESPY Best Driver winners include last year's winner, Hunter-Reay, two-time winner Tony Stewart, four-time winner Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt Jr., Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Jimmy Vasser, Al Unser Jr., Nigel Mansell, and Michael Schumacher.

In addition to Force, other NHRA drivers who have been nominated for ESPY awards include Del Worsham (2012), Tony Schumacher (2007-2010), Ashley Force Hood (2008), Melanie Troxel (2006), Tony Pedregon (2004) and Greg Anderson (2005 and 2011). No NHRA driver has ever won an ESPY Award.

The 2014 ESPY winners will be announced during the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on July 16. Host Drake will be joined by a wide variety of the world's premier athletes and Hollywood's biggest stars. The ESPYs will be televised on ESPN on July 16 at 9 p.m. ET.


John Force career highlights

* 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champion in Funny Car

* Has raced to an NHRA-record 139 Funny Car victories

* Has claimed an NHRA-record 148 No. 1 qualifying awards

* First driver in NHRA history to earn 10 consecutive Funny Car world championships  (1993-2002)

* Four-time winner of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world's most prestigious drag race

* Named Driver of the Year for American motorsports in 1996 


Past ESPY Best Driver Award winners

2013 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, IndyCar

2012 - Tony Stewart, NASCAR

2011 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR

2010 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR

2009 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR

2008 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR

2007 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR

2006 - Tony Stewart, NASCAR

2005 - Michael Schumacher, F1

2004 - Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR

2003 - Tony Stewart, NASCAR

2002 - Michael Schumacher, F1

2001 - Bobby Labonte, NASCAR

2000 - Dale Jarrett, NASCAR

1999 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR

1998 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR

1997 - Jimmy Vasser, IRL

1996 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR

1995 - Al Unser Jr., IRL

1994 - Nigel Mansell, F1

1993 - Nigel Mansell, F1