Published on January 22, 2014

Show of Force: John and Brittany clash at NHRA race

(Tire Business file photos)
Brittany Force was the 2013 Auto Club Rookie of the Year award winner.

Crain News Service report

DETROIT (Jan. 22, 2014) — John Force and the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car made the last run of the fourth annual NHRA PRO Winter Warm-Up last weekend and posted the quickest elapsed time of the day for the Funny Cars, a 4.013 second blast.

But for a couple hundred feet, it looked like he might not be the first to the finish line.

In the lane beside the 16-time Funny Car champion was 2013 Auto Club Rookie of the Year and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force. It was the first time these Forces have clashed—and a quirk in the ladder provided the opportunity for Mr. Force to race his second youngest daughter, completing the trifecta. Previously, he had raced daughters Ashley Force Hood and Courtney Force.

"I have raced all my daughters. I never knew if I would get a chance to race Brittany," Mr. Force said. "The pairings worked out so we could match up, and they asked if we would consider running together. I wouldn't race anybody else. I want to race my own teams at a deal like this. You want to put on a show for the fans. It was great."

"She said she couldn't see me when we pulled up to stage because she sits back in that dragster with the canopy," he continued. "We both flickered the bottom light trying to get shallow. I knew if she went [down the track under power], she would beat me. Even with that 4.01, or if I ran 3.98, if she ran a 3.80, she would have me.

John Force

"I tried to get after her on the light, but she actually left on me. It was fun for the crowd. We had great racing all weekend."

For the soon-to-be sophomore driver, racing her legendary dad came with its own pitfalls and challenges even before they took to the Palm Beach, Fla., International Raceway track.

"That was pretty crazy. Just running him that one time makes me think I could never be in Funny Car," Brittany Force said. "We had about 100 pep talks. I was fine going up there. I don't ever worry or try and think about who I am running. He had me so worked up about him being in the other lane. He was just trying to help me, but it was a little too much.

"It was definitely fun, and I want to do it again. I have to beat him. He beat me down there, and it was pretty cool for the fans. I didn't see him until we did our burnouts and then I saw him again when I shook and he shot past me.

"It was fun to be able to say I raced my dad."

John Force shook loose at about 200 feet as the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car raced away to the finish line.

Mr. Force was the quickest on Jan. 18, but he had to run quicker than teammate Robert Hight in the Auto Club Ford Mustang, 4.019 at 316.97 mph and Del Worsham, 4.014 at 318.17 mph. Mr. Force's first run of the day at the PRO Winter Warm-Ups was an impressive 4.036 seconds, the quickest of the first session.

In the first session, Courtney Force was second quickest, with a strong 4.077 second pass in her Traxxas Ford Mustang.

This report appeared on the website of Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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