Courtney Force Moves Up To Nitro Funny Car
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
John Force Racing announced Tuesday that Courtney Force, youngest daughter of team owner John Force, will drive a fuel Funny Car for the team during the upcoming NHRA season.
She will drive a Ford Mustang tuned by veteran Ron Douglas. It will be sponsored by Traxxas, a Texas company which got started by making radio-controlled vehicles
Her car will be one of four in the John Force Racing stable in 2012 as the team will expand from the three it featured last year.
Courtney Force spent 2010 completing work on her degree in communications at Cal State-Fullerton, driving a Top Alcohol dragster in the NHRA and, testing nitro Funny Cars for her father.
She has been approved to drive the 8,000 horsepower floppers and will head to Palm Beach, Fla. to take part in NHRA tests later this month.
She will make her Funny Car debut Feb. 9-12 at the 52nd annual Kragen O’Reilly Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
“I’m excited to finally be getting ready for my first professional race,” Courtney Force said. “This is what I’ve always wanted to do and to have had my sister Ashley, my dad, brother-in-law Robert Hight and Mike Neff teach me makes it that much better. I have had the best teachers. I’m just going to learn all I can and see where it takes me.”
Courtney, 23, will be the second of Force’s three daughters to take the wheel of one of his fuelers. Oldest daughter Ashley Force competed for – and against – the 15-time NHRA champion until getting out of the car last season to start a family.
Ashley Force is a four-time national event winner in Funny Car. In 2009, Ashley became the first woman to win the presitgeous Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, an event she won twice. In 2009 she also finished second in Funny Car points. In 2010, she finished third in points – two places behind her father.
Though still on hiatus, Ashley has played an active part in teaching Courtney the art of driving 300-plus mph, and in dealing with off-track aspects of the sport.
JFR also announced Tuesday that middle daughter Brittany Force will take an active driving roll in the company.
The 25-year-old Brittany Force will start the season as test driver in the BrandSource Top Fuel dragster utilizing the JFR-built Ford BOSS 500 nitro motor that powers the JFR Funny Cars. Later in the season the team will evaluate the three-rail dragster and see what the future holds for Brittany.
JFR had a disappointing 2011 season. So, in the offseason, a number of other changes were made to the team.
Added were Danny DeGennaro, Dickie Venables, and Scott Wible to work with an existing crew chiefs led by the JFR crew of Jimmy Prock, Mike Neff, Dean “Guido” Antonelli, Douglas, and Hall of Famer Bernie Fedderly.
The on-track lineup includes Neff, who now serves as both driver and crew chief on the Castrol GTX Ford after winning two NHRA championships as crew chief alone; Prock, who engineered Hight’s 2009 title; Eric Lane, Prock’s right hand for the last 10 years; and Antonelli, and Douglas, whose collaboration on Force Hood’s car produced back-to-back victories in the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.
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