Editor’s note: NHRA driver Courtney Force will document her summer on the drag-racing circuit in an online diary for USA TODAY:It’s been almost a year since my last USA TODAY journal entry and a lot has happened! Let me catch everyone up, just in case you missed it.
STANDINGS: Updated NHRA points
I ended my season in the NHRA A-Fuel Dragster category with my first National event win in Seattle, Wash.; I won a People’s Choice Award as a Ford Fiesta Agent; my brother-in-law Robert Hight won the Full Throttle Championship in the NHRA’s Funny Car class; my sister Ashley Force Hood was runner-up for the Championship; and my dad, John Force, is currently No. 1 in points this season in Funny Car … and he’s still driving our family crazy!
This past week started the beginning of my summer vacation, from Cal State Fullerton, but I definitely didn’t get to stop and rest. However, being in a fast-paced family, I’m pretty used to it.
After finishing my last final exam, I packed up my suitcase and got on a flight for the Topeka, Kansas race. I was able to take my BrandSource/Ford A-Fuel Dragster all the way to the semifinal round along with my sister Brittany, who also races for BrandSource.
Although we were hoping to race each other in the final round of eliminations, our cars couldn’t quite outrun our opponents for that round. Our teams had our cars running consistent all weekend and I think we got off on a great start for this summer. My brother-in-law Robert Hight had a little bit better luck than us and was able to get past the semis and went on to win his third race in a row this season.
When I returned home to California, this meant returning to “training.” Ever since I was a little girl, growing up watching my dad race his Funny Car, I’ve always wanted to follow in his footsteps. I grew up either watching my dad race on TV or I would travel across the country to the race track once summer began. This was always an amazing experience to be able to grow up in and I’ve been so blessed to have the opportunity to race with my family today.
In school it was always difficult to try and receive advice from teachers and counselors whenever I would tell them what I wanted to do as a profession, which was to be a drag racer. I’m sure it sounded a little strange to them but it’s the sport I grew up in that I love. Trying to figure out a major that would correlate with drag racing was always impossible. It’s too bad there isn’t a similar major in college so then I could leave with a degree in Drag Racing.
Now that I’ve been in the Sportsman category racing for five years, I’m looking towards pushing myself to move into the professional ranks. Recently my older sister Ashley Force Hood created a “Funny Car 101″ syllabus on teaching me the basics of drag racing as a profession. This includes the anatomy of a Funny Car, driving it, handling it, dealing with media and fans, and most importantly how to work with dad.
The first step of training has been to tow around our Yorba Linda race shop parking lot in the Funny Car chassis to familiarize myself with how to drive it since it’s completely different than my dragster. After hours of this training throughout the week I was able to add the body to the race car and continue towing to get a feel of how limited my vision is compared to my dragster.
Every week is a new step to this process, which will continue throughout the summer. Although this training process seems a little strange, I’m taking advice from my dad and sister and hope that by following what they tell me, it will help me to achieve my goal.
While I wasn’t training over the Memorial Day weekend I was able to spend a lot of time with my family. We decided to have a barbecue on Sunday and all got to pitch in and help cook something. But of course, Dad got to do most of the cooking!
It’s nice to get a little time off but it won’t be long until I’m back in the seat driving my A-Fuel Dragster and training in “Funny Car 101.”
Follow Courtney Force at twitter.com/courtneyforce