Courtney Force joined her father, 15-time Funny Car champ John Force, in the winner’s circle often as a child. Photo Courtesy of Courtney Force
Professional Rookie of the Year contender Courtney Force always dreamed of driving a Funny Car. Always dreamed of racing her dad, the winningest professional drag racer in history, in Funny Car. After learning the ropes in Super Comp and A/Fuel dragster, Courtney’s dream has come true. Not only is she driving a 10,000 horsepower 320 mph nitro belching Funny Car, she’s racing her dad [and beating him] as she did on her way to her first professional title a few weeks ago in Seattle.
A few days ago, with Indy on her mind, she penned this for ESPN:
Family, superstition parts of Funny Car success
Coming off an amazing weekend in Seattle, where I got my first win in Funny Car, I look back over a week later and still can’t believe what we accomplished. Winning in only our 15th race of the season in my rookie year, and having to take out a few champion drivers in the process, still seems unreal.
I remember being in the winner’s circle with my dad as a kid and taking pictures with his trophy, which was way too heavy for me to pick up then. My sisters and I would be involved in all his crazy superstitions, like crossing our fingers and toes, chewing a new piece of strawberry Bubblicious gum before every run, giving Dad a good luck hug before he suited up and making sure we were all sitting in the exact same seat for every run, because we thought it would be bad luck for Dad if we changed our routine.
Any time my dad would win in the semis we would race to the other end in the tow vehicle to pick him up with the team while singing the same tune, “We’re in the final … we’re in the final,” and waving to all the fans out the window going down the return road. It’s crazy how much has changed since then, but then again so little. My dad has so many of those same employees on his team, at our shop or as close friends who come out and visit the races. We will always keep some of those silly superstitions going. Now, having my own race team, it’s cool we’re starting to get into a routine of things and having our own inside jokes and superstitions that will always be a mystery to others!
I didn’t get much time to celebrate after my Seattle win because we flew back to California the next day to catch up on work, do laundry and repack the suitcases before heading to Norwalk, Ohio, for some match racing with my dad and a few other Funny Car teams. The “Night Under Fire” event was a fun night of racing, with music, fireworks, jet cars, funny cars and more. The race went late into the night before rain took over and sent us packing.
The night we flew back home to California, I got to hang out with some of my close friends and go to the Orange County Fair. We went on all the rides, played games, took pictures in the photo booths and tried all the great fair food. I love the life that I live and being able to race my hot rod on weekends, but coming home to an amazing family and friends who are supportive of me and my career is awesome. They all are always there for me, even when I don’t get to see them for months at a time.
After a few great days at home, we headed to Brainerd, Minn., for another race. I’m currently sixth overall in points and fighting to stay in the top 10 by the end of the Indianapolis race next weekend so I can get locked into the Countdown and try battling for the championship with the other nine drivers. Indy’s “The Big Go” is the next race on the circuit, and it’s the biggest race of the season and the last chance for drivers to lock into the top 10, which I’m hoping I can do!
In addition, I’m also trying to get the last spot in the Traxxas Shootout, which is a race within the big Indy race, where only eight cars get to battle for the $100,000 prize. I’m hoping to get into the final spot, but it’s a fan vote on NHRA’s Facebook page, then it’s thrown into a lottery and a winner is chosen from that.
While in Brainerd, I got the chance to see what the famous “Zoo” was really about when my dad took me through it after the race. It is where fans come to watch the drag races, camp with tents and RVs, party and compete against each other to see who has built the craziest thing on wheels.
It’s going to be a busy next few weeks, but we’re going to test our race car this week and get our minds straight for the biggest race of the season, the U.S Nationals in Indy!
Vote for Courtney in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout here. You have until noon on the 28th to get your vote in!
Recently I posted Courtney’s “I Wanna Race” campaign video. As a follow-up, Courtney posted an outtakes video. Funny Stuff, especially of her and John [her dad] on the lake. The “producer’s voice” you hear is Courtney’s big sister, Three time Indy champion Ashley Force-Hood, President of John Force Entertainment.