Date published: May 11, 2012
Journal code: NDRG
It has been a pretty good year so far for John Force. His team has monopolized the winner's circle at all six national events this year, with Force himself scoring in Pomona, Robert Hight winning four in a row, and Mike Neff taking Houston. On top of all of that, Force's youngest daughter, Courtney, is proving to be a natural in her rookie year in Funny Car, and middle daughter Brittany continues to make practice runs in the team's new Top Fueler. Also, the day before the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, Force will be inducted, along with fellow drag racing legend Kenny Bernstein and NASCAR owner Richard Childress, into the prestigious International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala.
Q: Another year, another honor for John Force. Congratulations again.
A: It's pretty exciting. When you can make the same walk that guys like Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty have made, it's an honor. I'm very humble about this because I have other reasons why these things matter to me, and it's because once I earn it, I use it to elevate the sport of drag racing and especially its future because that's the future of my children having a way to make a living. So I'm proud to be going there, proud for NHRA Drag Racing, and I'm going to accept it for all the sponsors that got me there, for the fans who have supported me, and for our sport, so we can keep climbing that ladder in front of the people from Corporate America who will be there watching. Then I'm going to Atlanta to try to win a damn race.
Q: On top of all of that, it's been a successful year already for your team: six wins in six races.
A: I wish I could have gone into Talladega with a win, and I know Robert would have liked to have five in a row, but I'm real happy for Mike Neff. I'm pumped because he's been working so hard. Neff and Jimmy Prock and Dean Antonelli are unbelievable, and they're educating the rest of my team. I have a race car that has everything it needs, but it's struggling.
Q: You have to be pleased with Courtney's success so far this year.
A: She's learning the trade. There's still so much to learn, but I'm amazed at how fast she's picked everything up. She really listened to all of my bs and has evolved. I just told her I'm really happy with the way she's been handling her interviews. I tell her, "Don't get into a pedalfest yet because you'll end up in trouble - learn what tire shake is, if it's weak or aggressive - and right now, if we have to lose races, take your foot off the gas. Unless he's right outside the window, don't get back on it and blow it up and risk losing points because you think you can chase him down." There's so much for her to think about, but she's really picking it up.
Q: How's Brittany doing in Top Fuel? Will we see her in competition this year?
A: Really good. She tested on Monday after Houston and only drove it to 800 feet and still ran 3.95. She's run .96, .97, and .98; she has enough runs for her license, but we won't submit it until down the road so we can get her some more seat time. Again, a lot to learn, and we're teaching her the basics because the car is different from an A/Fuel. I see Courtney over there talking to Brittany when she's ready to make a run, and she's saying all the right things. All of the crew chiefs have gotten involved in trying to help her to make her car better because right now, it's not leaving the starting line like we want it to. I'm so proud of everyone pitching in. I'm not sure when she'll run the car in competition; there's a lot of things to make that happen.
Q: Will we see Ashley back driving next year?
A: We're still not sure. She's loving every day being with the baby, but I really want her to come back. I'd give up my ride to get her back. She told me she's definitely coming back because she wants her kids to see her race. We just don't know when.