Many childhood dreams begin with a small glimpse into the working world their parents live in, but when your father is 15-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force and races to speeds topping 300 mph, you may think some kids would change their minds.
This was not the case for Courtney Force. The 23-year-old addition to John Force Racing took on the racing world at the age of 16, competing in classes such as Super Comp Dragster and Top Alcohol Dragster. Her sister Ashley Force Hood, who is a four-time Funny Car national event winner including back to back Mac Tools US Nationals titles in 2009 and 2010, began the tradition.
Now, it's Courtney Force's time to shine as she begins an action-packed rookie year in Funny Car for the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season. Force will compete in the 52nd annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries, Feb. 9-12, at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California. "It's unreal to look back at being a little kid and watching my dad race, knowing that was what I wanted to do with my life someday. Time has really flown by and now I'm here, looking around and saying, 'This is it.' When I really stop and think about it that way it's unreal and extremely exciting at the same time" said Force.
On January 10, 2012 Force announced that she would begin a five-year sponsorship with Traxxas for 2012. She will run a full 23-race tour in her Traxxas Mustang Funny Car powered by the JFR-developed BOSS 500 Ford engine. "2012 is going to be a year of learning. John Force Racing will be running four Funny Cars this year and that's something we haven't done in a while. It may take a few races for both my dad and I to get used to seeing my name on the side of a Funny Car body, but I couldn't be more thrilled," she added.
Courtney participated in the 2nd Annual PRO Winter Warm-ups and additional John Force Racing private testing at Palm Beach International Raceway January 19-24 in West Palm Beach along with teammates John Force, Mike Neff and Robert Hight.
The PRO Winter Warm-ups presented fans with the chance to witness history. Courtney and John Force raced in their first side-by-side competition—an exciting pair to get everyone warmed up for 2012. Force made several laps in the Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car test body beginning with half-track passes. She then gradually and safely completed full, clean, straight runs, giving new Crew Chiefs Ron Douglas and Scott Wible necessary data to tune the Traxxas Funny Car to a customary level of precision for the 2012 season.
The Yorba Linda, California native traveled straight from testing to NASCAR Media Day at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina where she was very well received as a future star of John Force Racing and the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing series.
Force plans to be very active in 2012 promoting the sport she loves while competing in her rookie year. She will be supplying ESPN.com with an ongoing video blog throughout the entire season that gives fans a behind-the-scenes view of what it's like to be a 23-year-old woman competing in a professional drag racing world.
Traxxas is very proud to be racing with Courtney Force as she carries The Fastest Name In Radio Control across the finish line at over 300mph. Be sure to visit Traxxas in Nitro Alley at each stop of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series!
2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Series schedule:
Feb. 9-12 • 52nd Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals • Pomona
ESPN2 Schedule: 2/11 Qualifying 11:00:00 PM-1:00:00 AM ET; 2/12 Eliminations 7:30:00 PM-11:00:00 PM ET
Feb. 17-19 • 28th Annual NHRA Arizona Nationals • Phoenix
March 8-11 • 43rd Annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals • Gainesville
March 30-April 1 • 13th Annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals • Las Vegas
April 13-15 • Third Annual VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals • Charlotte
April 27-29 • 25th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals • Houston
May 4-6 • 32nd Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals • Commerce, Ga.
May 18-20 • 24th Annual NHRA Summer Nationals • Topeka
May 31-June 3 • 43rd Annual NHRA SuperNationals • Englishtown
June 15-17 • 12th Annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals • Bristol
June 28-July 1 • 15th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals • Chicago
July 5-8 • Sixth Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals • Norwalk
July 20-22 • 33rd Annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals • Denver
July 27-29 • 25th Annual FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals • Sonoma
Aug. 3-5 • 25th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals • Seattle
Aug. 16-19 • 31st Annual NHRA Nationals • Brainerd
Aug. 29-Sept. 3 • 58th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals • Indianapolis
Sept. 14-16 • Fifth Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals • Charlotte
Sept. 20-23 • 27th Annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals • Dallas
Sept. 27-30 • 28th Annual Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals • Reading
Oct. 5-7 • Inaugural NHRA Midwest Nationals • St. Louis
Oct. 25–28 • 12th Annual NHRA Nevada Nationals • Las Vegas
Nov. 8-11 • 48th Annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals • Pomona