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John Force Racing’s Future Is Bright

John Force Racing’s Future Is Bright

by September 13, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas

CONCORD, N.C. – Despite sponsorship issues, NHRA legend, John Force is confident about the future of his race teams.

At the end of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yellow Drag Racing season, John Force Racing will lose longtime sponsor, Castrol and manufacture, Ford Racing. Both, Castrol and Ford Racing announced they were leaving earlier this year, but on Friday afternoon at zMAX Dragway during the NHRA Carolina Nationals, John and Courtney Force talked about the future of the team that has 18 NHRA Funny Car championships.

“I have no excuse,” John said. “I will find a way, because I live it seven days a week. I went to Canada for one reason, to go global. It has already brought some new excitement in. Castrol got all excited. I’ve got some stuff to tell you down the road. We’re going to be okay. So, aint going to be perfect.

“Still got to make some decisions for my employees by the 30th, and they’re all aware of it. We’re going through house. I’ve already lost 10 or 11 people. We’ve had to look at the fluff. We had to be honest. We’ll never get to where we used to be. It’s like Ford said, ‘It took 100 years to get here, and the world fell apart, and it’ll take us 100 more years to get back’, and I sure heard that, but I didn’t hear that. I put a value on me, and I was wrong.”

John says that he’ll continue to race until safety and winning are in question. However, if it all comes down to the worst case scenario, he will hang up the helmet and let his daughters follow their dreams and passion to compete in the highest ranks of the NHRA.

“Right now, I’m with Traxxas, so I have my sponsor stuff for another couple of years, but it obviously takes a toll on all of our teams with Ford leaving and with Castrol leaving,” Courtney said. “Him saying that – I’ll believe it when I see it, but I mean obviously he’s saying it as a kind thing, but I definitely wouldn’t want that at all. I’m out here because of my dad, because I grew up watching him, and he’s the one that really gave me the motivation to want to do what I want to do in this series, and that is to drive a Funny Car.

“I want to be out here competing against him and with him, so I definitely hope that’s not the case. I hope it doesn’t come down to that, but I think we’re all out here fighting to try and find sponsors for all of our teams, and I definitely hope that’s not how it goes. I definitely hope he’s out here for a long, long time, because it won’t be nearly as fun without him.”

Courtney’s earliest memories of the NHRA were walking through the pits when she was just a child, getting yelled at for being too close to the high-powered cars. However, she’d always find a way to get involved, even if it was just wiping down the cars. She says that she’d always leave the track with grease all over her, because she was helping the team in some capacity.

“I’ve been out here since I was in diapers,” Courtney said. “I’ve been out here a long time, but I remember just kind of roaming through dad’s pits. We’d always kind of get yelled at. We weren’t really allowed near the car. Obviously ‘It’s not safe, don’t go near the car,’ but somehow I always managed to wipe down the body or do something to try and help the guys. At the end of the day, I was always covered in grease head-to-toe, and I don’t know how. I was just totally out there with my backwards hat on, just following dad around going to all of his press conferences.”

John’s passion to make his daughters happy at the racetrack go way back before they even thought about getting behind the wheel. When Ashley and Brittany were kids and John was competing in Indianapolis, he bought them a plastic, blow-up swimming pool from Kmart and put it under the fifth wheel. Not thinking about it, John then drained the water into the swimming pool, but back then, you had to add water to the motor of the race car, so when it came time for the second session, there was no water left to fill the engine.

It’s the numerous stories similar to that one that illustrates his daughters’ success means everything and the decision to possibly not compete at the highest level isn’t even a question if that provides a career for them. However, only time will tell. The NHRA certainly won’t be the same if he has to take a step back.

John Force currently leads the Funny Car point standings with teammate, Robert Hight in second only 30 points back and Courtney in sixth. Brittany Force is ninth is the Top-Fuel point standings.

So far this weekend at zMAX Dragway, Courtney led the way during Friday’s first qualifying session. John was ninth with Robert all the way back in 14th. During the second session, Hight was in fifth, followed by John in sixth and Courtney in seventh. Brittany was 12th during the first Top-Fuel qualifying session and 15th in the second.

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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