Drag Racing’s Brittany Force Beats Out Danica Patrick, Other Professional Drivers for RACER Magazine’s Rookie of the Year

Brittany Force Castrol

By Gary P Jackson

Father John Force, 16 time NHRA Funny Car champion, wins RACER of the Year and Drag RACER of the year honors as well




The readers of RACER magazine turned out in record numbers to recognize two John Force Racing drivers for their high levels of excellence during the 2013 NHRA season. John Force the newly crowned 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car champion was voted Drag Racer of the Year and even more impressively recognized as the RACER of the Year for all forms of motorsports. Force, driver of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang Funny Car, becomes just the third multiple time RACER of the Year winner joining four-time winner Michael Schumacher and two-time winner Jacques Villeneuve. Force won his first RACER of the Year award for his then record setting 15th Mello Yello Funny Car championship in 2010.

This is the kind of thing that really makes you stop and think. Someone was just telling me how great I did last year, and I had to tell ’em to stop. I didn’t want to hear it. Still don’t. It’s like my dad told me once, a long time ago, when I came home bragging about how I’d just won 50 grand at some race. He said, ‘What makes you think you’re so great? Because you read that in the paper? You’re probably the one who told them how great you are.’ I never forgot that. I try to stay hungry and stay humble and not think about it, but this award from RACER makes you think about it. The 2013 championship was special, and this award makes it even more special. All I can say is what an honor it is,” said Force when he was notified of both awards.

Force received an astounding 67% of the fan vote for RACER of the Year and an unbelievable 83% of the vote for Drag Racer of the Year. This was the seventh time Force has been named Drag Racer of the Year.

Another John Force Racing tradition was continued when Top Fuel driver Brittany Force was the overwhelming choice for RACER Rookie of the Year. Last year Courtney Force took home top rookie honors from RACER readers. Brittany, the first Force to race Top Fuel dragster, outdistanced NASCAR Sprint Cup rookies Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse as well as young drivers from racing series around the globe.

This is huge. I thought for sure Danica Patrick would win. She’s Danica Patrick. NASCAR’s fan base is so much larger than NHRA drag racing’s, but this just goes to show that we have the best fans,” said Force.

I struggled all year then ended the season at Pomona with a career-best E.T. and my first semi-final ever. Reaction times are still the toughest part. You can practice all you want, but it’s completely different when someone’s in the next lane and you’re strapped in with a helmet on and the engine making all that noise behind you. I’m still learning, and I’ll be learning for a while.

With a staggering 78 percent of votes, Brittany lapped the rookie field. Nearest contender was Carloz Munoz, whose second-place finish on his Indy 500 debut earned him nine percent of the poll.

It should be noted that at the second race of the young 2014 season, Brittany made it to her first final round, losing a very close race. She’ll be joining her famous father and two sisters in the winners circle soon.

~ Gary

Fans can see all the RACER awards at www.racer.com

Former RACER Rookie of the Year Winners

2006 Colin Braun
2007 Lewis Hamilton
2008 Joey Logano
2009 Ben Spies
2010 Ryan Dungey
2011 James Hinchcliffe
2012 Courtney Force
2013 Brittany Force

Former Overall RACER of the Year Winners




Filed under In The News, NHRA

13 responses to “Drag Racing’s Brittany Force Beats Out Danica Patrick, Other Professional Drivers for RACER Magazine’s Rookie of the Year

  1. mibones

    Good to see the driving Force in motorsports. Drag racing, that’s where the real women are at.

    • Gary P Jackson

      Indeed! Nothing against Danica, or NASCAR, but we had women winning NHRA national events way back in 1966!

      You might also enjoy this article I wrote last year:

      Drag Racing’s Long Record of Diversity is No Hype


      • mibones

        I remember the article. Brought back memories of when I watched Shirley and Big Daddy with my dad. Hubby and I loved to watch Diamond P Sports. Especially swamp buggy racing and the infamous Sippy Hole. Now I have a hankering to find some drag racing on cable and watch the girls get it on.

      • Gary P Jackson

        Diamond P was fantastic! The old American Sports Cavalcade on the Nashville Network! Those were great times! I really miss Steve Evans. He left us way too early. I still play the CD he put together [Be There] of all the old drag racing radio commercials from the 1960s and 1970s.

        I got to work on Big’s crew back in 1977. He always traveled light, and would pick up help at whatever track he was running at. Garlits had a match race in San Antonio against Tommy Ivo, then the next day at out track here in Temple. I was a teenager and thought I had died and gone to heaven!

        The NHRA is in Gainesville, Florida this weekend. One of the older and larger events on the tour. The Force girls, Courtney and Brittany, along with Graham Rahal from Indy Car, visited a local children’s hospital down there. Rahal was in Phoenix hanging around with Courtney.

        Here’s the first day qualifying results


        Espn2 will have the qualifying show Saturday night at 12 pm, Central time. The race will be Sunday.

        Not sure if you saw it, but Alexis DeJoria, John Paul DeJoria’s [Paul Mitchell, Tequila Patron] daughter won Funny Car in Phoenix. She’s been dipping in the 3 second range with ease. The Kalitta’s found her some power!

      • mibones

        Wow! You’re blowing my mind. My husband is listening to me read this and is drooling. Been too long for us. Thanks for the link. Checked out ESPN2 and found NHRA on Sunday’s. Will be setting the DVR. Thanks again for refueling the memories. Will be watching.

      • Gary P Jackson

        Thanks! You know, once drag racing gets in your blood, you are done for! More addictive than drugs!

        You can go to NHRA.com to keep up with stuff too, as well as Competition Plus. NHRA will have all the TV times, driver blogs, and so on.

        I was hoping Courtney Force and my Texas home girl Erica Enders-Stevens were gonna win Sunday. Erica is the fastest Pro Stock driver in history, she set the record this weekend, and made it to the finals against Alan Johnson, but lost to the Dodge. Courtney got beat by her dad in the Semis. All three Force Funny Cars made it to the Semis. John and his son-in-law Robert were in the finals! Robert won.

        Sunday’s TV show was not too good. They had some technical issues and lost video. They record live to tape. Much better than we had it 20-30 years ago, though, when we’d wait months to see a race on TV, after it had happened!

        If you go to ESPN3 [on ESPN’s website, you can watch Friday qualifying live, which is laid back and fun and even see Sunday eliminations live. Every class from Stock to Top Fuel!

        Oh, here’s another cools site:


        This guy tapes every race, from the ESPN3 feed, and loads it on You Tube. He’s usually a day or two after the event is over, but if you miss it, or want to see everything, including the sportsman classes, here ya go!

        He’s got years worth of videos archived!

        I was trying to post more race coverage here, but always find myself being drawn away by politics, which is what we’re all about, most days.

        Again, glad you and your husband have reconnected with the sport!

      • mibones

        Thanks again for the links. Both Hubby and I have them on our computers. This will make it easier to assimilate what is happening now. Hubby says he does not recognize the Ford big blocks. They look different from what he remembers. Told you it has been a long time. Take care and enjoy the ride.

      • Gary P Jackson

        You’re most welcome!

        All modern engines have changed. Mostly for the better, but …

        Chevy and Ford no longer have “big blocks” like we grew up with. All of the stuff in new Chevys are “small blocks” including the LS7 in the Corvettes and Z/28 Camaro. That engine is a 7 liter, or 427 cubic inches, a size once seen only in big block form. It’s actually 426 cubes, but Ford and Chevy both had 427s back in the day, and besides, everyone knows 426 is reserved for the Chrysler Hemi! The 426 Hemi turned 50 years old in 2014 BTW!

        The new Ford Engines like the Coyote are impressive. They are 5 liters 302 cubes, capable of making over 400 horsepower, 700 with a supercharger! They are overhead cam and rather complicated, as are all new engines. The Coyote engine is physically wider than the old Chrysler Hemi, and is found in Mustangs. It’s bigger than a big block Ford, because of the cylinder heads. It’s also one of the most popular hot rod engine swaps out there. Ford had the parts needed to swap the Coyote into just about anything, before the cars coming from the factory had even hit the streets!

        I like the engine, as I do the LS Chevy family, but it’s a whole new deal for us old guys! The cool thing is though, where those old big block Ford and Chevys needed big work to make power, and the cars got 6-8 mpg, the new stuff makes more power out of the box, and can get 24-30 mpg!

        The new Corvette, with almost 500 HP is capable of over 30mpg!

        Las Vegas is the next Drag Race. Should be good. The K&N Pro Stock event is held there as well. It’s a “race within a race” for Pro Stock drivers based on points earned since last year’s K&N race. They take the top 8 in points since last year’s race, and hold elimination’s Saturday during qualifying for Sunday’s national event. Chance for the teams to win big money.

      • mibones

        Back in the day, Ford was racing their Boss 429 hemi big block. The rumor, that Hubby is not sure of, is that they are running an engine called FR 500. This could be a 500 cubic inch engine in either wedge chambers or a mirror style cylinder head. This is way different from anything Hubby knows about. Hubby does not know if it is based on the 429 cylinder block or is a new design. P.S. I do all the typing. Hubby is too slow at it. His method is called hunt and peck. That’s why the response is in the third person.

      • Gary P Jackson

        Tell your husband that I too graduated from the Hunt and Peck School of Professional Typing! It’s only been years of repetition that got me to an acceptable level as a keyboardist!!! I’m up to 10 words per minute these days!

        Some called the Boss 429 the “Shotgun Hemi” because it had HUGE intake ports that had a straight shot into the cylinder. Thus, “shotgunning” the air/fuel mixture. Those ports are almost the size of tennis balls!

        Everything that is old is new again. Jon Kasse, who has been building winning racing engines for decades is building what he calls the “Boss Nine” It’s a brand new “replica” of the old Boss 429 Shotgun Hemi. He’s building hundreds of them for high end hot rods and show cars. They are simply amazing. Here’s Jon’s website:


        Jon also builds the Ford “modular” engines, and makes more power with them than the law of physics should allow. He just won another Engine Masters competition.

        Street Rod builder Bobby Alloway built a 1967 Ford Fairlane [one of my favorite models] and put a Boss Nine in it It was in Street Rodder Ultimate last year. Here’s an even better write up from Modified Mustangs and Fords:


        This car is gorgeous, with a Mustang interior, including the dashboard, which was widened to fit the bigger car.

        As it happens, I found a video of the car, at the upholsterer’s shop, of all places. It was in the process of being finished.

        The FR 500 was a Ford concept car for 2000. It actually used a small 4.6 liter modular engine [3 valve] http://www.mustangworld.com/ourpics/News/sema99/sema99frp1.htm

        Ford would later build and offer to the public a factory built FR 500 S race car, also with a small modular engine:


        It put out a whopping 325 horsepower!!

        John Force and Ford Racing introduced the “Boss 500” engine in 2007, and still run it.


        Of course, it’s nothing more than a version of Chrysler’s Hemi, like every other Top Fuel and Funny Cars run. They anodize the blocks Ford Blue and put Ford on the valve covers, and oh, they changed the bolt pattern on the oil pan bolts, other than that, it’s just another copy of the Chrysler Hemi, like all the rest.

        I love all the new car technology, especially fuel injection and direct injection. More performance than ever before, with better fuel efficiency and reliability. Back in the day, a 400 hp muscle car was radical, and not all that streetable. Now we’re seeing lame everyday sedans that make more horsepower and are dead reliable. 500 and 600 hp cars are as docile as they come.

        If we can just get the government out of the way, who knows where we’ll go!

      • mibones

        Just a heads up. Hubby thinks he is going senile. For some reason Hubby associated the FR 500 with the Ford Pro Stock Engine M-6010-JC50. He was looking for this info in response to what you had said above. Unfortunately, all of his links have dead ended(probably for a good reason). He said he read it on the internet so it must be true. Truth, on the internet, is such a fleeting thing. The one engine he has interest in, is the on again, off again, on again, (off again?), Hurricane/Boss/Raptor/Truck SOHC engine. He read that Roush Racing had tested a Boss engine, code name “777”(7.0L,700hp@7,000rpm). He was hoping that this engine would be the top performance engine of the Mustang, but I guess that some things were not meant to be.
        Again, appreciate all the info and links that you have given to us.
        Take care.

      • Gary P Jackson

        Ford had the “Shotgun” engine in Pro Stock dating back to the days when Bob Glidden [along with our buddy, the late, great Lee Shepherd] pretty much owned Pro Stock.

        The 500 inch block your husband remembers is indeed for Pro Stock, just a later version. Pro Stock engines are all 500 cubic inches.

        The new 2015 Mustang will have three engines to start with. A 300 horsepower turbo 4 cylinder, a 300 horsepower V-6, and the Coyote V-8, which they are keeping quite on regarding horsepower. The current Mustang with the Coyote engine puts out 420 hp in base cars with the Shelby GT 500 putting out 500 hp, with a supercharger.

        Ford says the base V-8 will put out “substantially more power” in the 2015 model. The Shelby and Boss packages are supposed to be stupid fast, when they finally come out.

        Roush may have some sort of package offering the “777” for Mustang at some point. Like Carroll Shelby used to do, that would be a deal where the car went to Roush to have their goodies put on a car after it left the factory. George Hurst used to do that with various cars like Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles and even AMC from time to time.

        According to this article: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-ford/FMC-engines/7b70s-experimental/index.htm the 777 was an experimental engine Ford contracted Roush to build, to “stress test” they new Coyote engine’s architecture. Turning a 5 liter engine into a 7 liter and nearly doubling the horsepower, without a turbo or blower would do it!

        I always enjoy talking cars, so…!

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