COURTNEY – JOHN FORCE INDY POWER
COURTNEY FORCE AND TRAXXAS NEW PLAYERS IN “THE BIG GO”
INDIANAPOLIS (August 28, 2012) – Rookie sensation Courtney Force and primary sponsor Traxxas are new to the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series for 2012 and now for the 17th event of 23 total, are finding themselves preparing for the 58th Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus, referred to by many as “The Big Go.”
“I’m really excited going into Indy this week because it’s kind of like a second home track for me. It’s where John Force Racing is based. We’ve had a lot of family history at this track and my sister (Ashley Force Hood) has been really successful here so I’m definitely excited to be racing in the Funny Car class,” said Force.
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is the last race in the NHRA Full Throttle Series regular season. At the conclusion of this event, the top 10 drivers will be locked in to begin the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Currently, Force is sitting in the no. 6 spot in the point standings. She is 21 points ahead of the No. 7 spot and needs to qualify in order to make the Countdown.
Force is also a leading candidate for the eighth and final spot in the inaugural Traxxas Nitro Shootout, which will be announced later this week. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout is a race within a race that gives eight drivers in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes a shot at $100,000. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will be on Saturday and the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car will be on Sunday.
Force has big shoes to fill this weekend, knowing that older sister, Ashley Force Hood, took back-to-back wins at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in 2009 and 2010.
“I really want to push our team hard and see what our Traxxas Ford Mustang can pull out this weekend. We have a good race car and we’re just hoping to go out there and get some good runs in and make it into the Countdown,” said Force.
Force threw out the first pitch on Monday at the Indianapolis Indians game. The Indians took on the Clippers and managed an 8-5 win over the Ohio team.
Force signed autographs and took photos with the local fans during the third inning of the game and drew quite a mixed crowd of baseball and NHRA Drag Racing fans.
“I got to throw out the first pitch at the Indianapolis Indians game, which was awesome. I’m not a very good pitcher, but to go there and experience it was pretty cool. We also took some time during the third inning to sign autographs for the fans and take photos so I want to thank all of those who came out. The Indians won the game over the (Columbus) Clippers, 8-5. It was definitely an honor for them to have me be involved in their game day in those ways and it’s an experience I’ll never forget,” said Force.
can john force the issue at indy?
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – John Force will make his 33rd appearance this week in drag racing’s most prestigious single event. The question most often posed to the 15-time series champion is, “who’s gonna show up for the 58th renewal of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway?”
Will it be the John Force who won the Indy classic three times in six years from 1993 through 1998? Or the one who advanced beyond the first round just twice in seven years from 2005 to the present?
The Force who qualified No. 1 11 times? Or the one who DNQed on four occasions, more often than at any other event in the NHRA’s Full Throttle Series?
Will it be the Force who lost to almost forgotten African-American Funny Car driver Tony McCallum in the first round in 1989? Or the one who beat Tommy Johnson Jr. on a hole shot in the 2002 final?
The Force who muscled the Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang into the finals against daughter Ashley Force Hood in 2010 or the one who lost in the first round a year ago to Bob Tasca III?
Finally, will it be the John Force who won the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., or the John Force who has been guilty of foul starts in two of the last four races?
For his part, drag racing’s biggest winner refuses to acknowledge those multiple personalities. He’ll show up, he said, just like always — expecting, at the very least, to be in the championship conversation.
“It’s tough,” Force said. “There are a lot of great race cars out there right now. (Ron) Capps, (Jack) Beckman and Cruz (Pedregon), Robert (Hight) and (Mike) Neff and Courtney. But we’re pretty good, too.”
As for the foul starts, as far as he’s concerned, they’re a non-issue.
“Racing against all these kids, I have to push that starting line to see what I can get away with,” he said. “Sometimes you goof up and that’s what happened.”
Force’s hole card this week is the fact that he has yet to lock up a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs and the fact that, over the course of his career, he has done his best work when stakes have been the highest.
At 63, the recent inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame again has shown that he can drive an 8,000 horsepower fuel Funny Car as well as anyone in the sport.
Coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Brainerd, Minn., he has a renewed confidence in his team and his race car.
“What is most important is I have a race car now,” Force said after climbing from 10th to eighth in points. “To make the Countdown (would be) great, but I don’t like to just make the field if I can’t compete (for the championship). We’ll see what happens.
“(In the Countdown), whoever gets the hot hand, can win it all,” said the 15-time series champion. “They say, ‘you gotta be in it to win it,’ so we’re just fighting to get in – me and ‘Guido’ and Danny D (crew chiefs Dean Antonelli and Danny DeGennaro).”
Even for a man like Force who has won a record 134 NHRA tour events, the U.S. Nationals remains something special – with or without the Countdown implications.
“I call Indy the “Big Daddy” of drag races because I always think of it as Garlits’ race (one the Hall of Famer won eight times in his career),” Force said. “Winning Indy is like winning the championship. I know guys that have never won championships, but they’ve won Indy. I know guys who have won championships but because they never won Indy they feel like they are missing something.”
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