By Gary P Jackson
RACER magazine has named drag racer Courtney Force as it’s 2012 Rookie of the Year. This honor takes in all of motorsports, not just drag racing. Courtney was also the winner of the Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award [NHRA’s version of Professional Rookie of the Year] in 2012.
The RACER award is based on fan votes, and Courtney received an incredible 60 percent of the vote. She is the first drag racer in RACER’S history to win this honor.
Courtney joins some heady company, as former winners of RACER’S Rookie of the Year honors include Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton, NASCAR’s Joey Logano, MotoCross racer Ryan Dungey and IndyCar’s James Hinchcliffe.
Courtney backed up her stellar rookie season with a powerful performance at the season opening Winternationals, which she won from the number one qualifying spot, saving her best for last, running low elapsed time of the event while defeating Ron Capps for the win.
RACER magazine’s press release:
YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Courtney Force, the youngest daughter of drag racing’s most prolific and popular driver, 15-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force, is RACER magazine’s runaway choice as Rookie of the Year, voted on by their global readership.
The 24-year-old from Yorba Linda, Calif., a former national event champion in Alcohol Dragster, reached four Funny Car finals in her 2012 rookie season. In July she defeated reigning Funny Car Champion Matt Hagan in the Seattle final for one of the most well-received victories by any driver in any drag racing class all season. A runner-up finish to Cruz Pedregon in the Pomona finals showed she’ll be a Funny Car title contender in 2013 — and victory in the season-opening Winternationals confirmed it.
“I want to thank the readers of RACER Magazine for voting for me as RACER Rookie of the Year. To be considered with top NASCAR, Indy Car and F1 rookies is an honor just in itself and to be voted as Rookie of the Year is unbelievable,” said Force, the 2012 Automobile Club Road to the Future Award winner. “I have to thank all my fans and especially RACER magazine for this honor. I also want to thank my dad, John Force, Ford and my sponsor, Traxxas, for being so supportive last season.”
RACER editor David Malsher commented, “If Courtney Force thought she had a tough battle on her hands in NHRA Funny Car last year, she had an even tougher battle in the RACER Rookie of the Year award. Or so you’d think, considering she was up against Simon Pagenaud in IndyCar and Daniel Ricciardo in Formula 1. But actually, Courtney wiped the floor with all of them, earning over 60 percent of the readers’ votes, and became the first NHRA driver ever to win this award. Scoring a win and fifth place in the championship standings in your first year of wrestling a 10,000-hp, 300-mph car is a heck of an achievement, and RACER readers clearly understand that.”
The Spring 2013 issue of RACER includes full coverage of RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance, a wide-ranging interview with Ryan Hunter-Reay and the man he replaced as IZOD IndyCar Series champion, Dario Franchitti. The issue also features previews to the 2013 IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, ALMS, Grand-Am, WEC and NHRA seasons. RACER is beginning its 21st year of publication and is offered in print and digital editions and also in iTunes, Kindle and Android apps. It is also available at national bookstore newsstands in the USA and Canada. Visit www.racer.com for all the latest racing news and subscription offers.
RACER Rookie Racer of the Year Hall of Fame:
2006 Colin Braun
2007 Lewis Hamilton
2008 Joey Logano
2009 Ben Spies
2010 Ryan Dungey
2011 James Hinchcliffe
Other 2012 winners voted for by RACER’s readers include:
RACER of the Year — 2012 IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay
Road Racer of the Year — 2012 IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay
Oval Racer of the Year — 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski
Drag Racer of the Year — 2012 NHRA Top Fuel champion Antron Brown