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Force Wants To Field A Second Top Fuel Car

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 28 2017

Team owner John Force said Friday that he has “a deal cooking” to put a second Top Fuel team on the track. (File photo courtesy of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – Sixteen-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force said Friday he plans to field a second Top Fuel dragster team, but he can’t say when it will join daughter Brittany Force at the starting line.

“I just can’t get the money to get there, but I’ve got a deal cooking,” Force told the media covering this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. “I’ve been working on a deal for a year-and-a-half.

“We spent three days at the NASCAR races with Bubba Burgers. That’s a handful! We’ve got another company that’s very interested out of Phoenix. I hope it goes down because you need a team car to share stuff.”    

Force said he had five or six potential sponsor meetings scheduled between rounds during the weekend.

“I was with Featherlite over here on the time frame of my two new trailers,” Force said. “They said give us a date. I said I can’t, but I’ll give you a head start.”

Force said they were building two new chassis for his daughter’s dragster. He noted she lost to Leah Pritchett in the final round at Phoenix because of car bend. It was then her team began redesigning her dragster’s chassis.

“We couldn’t come up with anything so we built a dump truck and it shows,” Force said. “The car can’t win a round.”

Chevrolet and John Force Racing engineers examined the car and that has led to the chassis now under construction.

“We are struggling, but I told all my drivers, you think this winning is fun … sometimes we make it look easy,” Force said. “But bottom line, you’ve got to earn that right. Getting beat up, getting those black eyes will make you better if you really want it. If you don’t want it, they will run you out. They don’t run my kids out.”  

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Three-time NHRA champion Shirley Muldowney lost her 59-year-old son, John, Thursday when he suffered a blood clot.

John, of Springfield, Mo., worked on his mother’s dragsters throughout her racing career and later for a variety of other teams, machine shops and fabricators. He was the only child of Muldowney and her first husband, Jack Muldowney.

In lieu of flowers, Muldowney has asked that friends and fans consider a donation to Shirley’s Kids, a 501(c) (3) charity that helps children in need at various stops on the NHRA tour. Donations can be made at ShirleysKids.org.

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J.R. Todd admits the switch from piloting a Top Fuel dragster to driving a Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports has been quite an adjustment this season.

“I’m still learning the different staging procedures with the different drivers,” Todd said. “This race you have to pay more attention on the starting line and focus on what lane you’re in on the tree when you’re staging, be aware of who you’re running and their staging procedures. Some guys or girls are a little slow staging, so you just have to know when to take your time or go in before them.”

In making the change, Todd said his primary concern was making sure he wasn’t the weak link in the team that won the Funny Car title in 2015 with Del Worsham.

“At first, I didn’t think I was doing a good enough job keeping that thing straight down the track,” Todd said. “I didn’t want to cost the team runs because of me struggling driving. Now I think I’ve gotten myself to where I need to be comfortable in the car seat-wise, steering, the throttle pedal and all that. Now it’s time to start focusing on things like reaction time on race day.

“There’s a lot more goes into Funny Car racing than a dragster. To me dragster racing is more like a gentleman’s sport. Everybody there races pretty nice. Funny Car is pretty dirty; it’s aggressive.   

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Funny Car driver John Force readily admits his three daughters all have different personalities. He describes Ashley as being a combination of her mother and him. Brittany is just like her mother and Courtney mirrors her father.

“Courtney is psycho like me. You just haven’t seen it yet, but I do, especially since she married (Graham) Rahal,” Force said. “She’s a problem child. Brittany is a very gifted kid in a lot of ways. She’s very emotional.

“Courtney will tell you what she feels, what she wants and where she’s going to go. Brittany won’t. Brittany will get there, but she’s … smart, educated, got the personality of her mother.”   

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Funny Car driver Robert Hight recently re-signed with sponsor Auto Club for another five years.

“That’s a big deal,” team owner John Force said. “That’s 17 or 18 years with Auto Club.”  

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 28 2017
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  • Couldn’t be happier for the Force team,or for J R Todd. All we ever hear about is diversity. Well you’ll not find a more diversified sport than Drag Racing. From the race, gender and age, only the work place can match it. Thanks for what you do NHRA.