Editor’s note: NHRA driver Courtney Force will document her summer on the drag-racing circuit in an online diary for USA TODAY:This week was an exciting week because I had the opportunity with my sisters Brittany and Ashley to be a part of an awards ceremony for a local elementary school in Orange County. This was especially great because it wasn’t just any awards ceremony … it was racecar-themed!
STANDINGS: Updated NHRA points
We were asked to be a part of the students’ special day since we’re drivers within the drag racing community. They asked us to help pass out the awards to the students who had succeeded in the reading competitions throughout the year. These reading competitions had been themed to racing with the various reading groups being their “pit crews.” The gym was decorated according to theme and packed with kids.
My sisters and I were able to bring some of our own props to add to the excitement. We got the chance to speak to the students about the importance of staying in school and how much it could have an impact on their future careers. We got to congratulate them on their hard work while sharing with them a little bit about what we do. We brought a video that highlighted our cars and drivers at John Force Racing, while we showed them our die-cast cars, fire suits, helmets, and all other safety equipment.
It was so exciting to see the looks on their faces when they got to see a clip of our race cars speeding down the track. It’s always fun to introduce the NHRA to those who are unfamiliar with it. We passed out signed hero cards and presented them with gold, silver, and bronze medals. While these students worked hard to achieve their goals in reading, it was amazing to be a part of the experience and help to motivate them, while pushing them to reach high for their career goals and to never give up.
After spending a day with them, I was back to towing around the parking lot in the Funny Car working toward my own personal goal in life. In addition, I had to take a trip back down the street to Cal State-Fullerton to take an English writing exam that I need to pass in order to graduate in the fall. My exam topic was on my personal feeling toward group projects and I couldn’t think of anything more fitting. Group projects are kind of like teamwork on a race team and everyone knows there’s no “I” in Team!
I believe that if everyone on a team is passionate about what they do and are willing to put forth an effort, then you can achieve your ultimate goal. Without my crew guys and my family, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to say we’ve achieved winning a national event. I’ll never forget that day last July when my win light came on in Seattle and they handed me my first Wally. My team is very important to me and we support each other all through race day.
While spending the weekend at home, I was bummed to have missed such a great weekend in Chicago with our race teams. Robert raced to another final in his Auto Club Ford Mustang but just missed winning four races in a row. Ashley also almost made it to the final round to race Robert, but Matt Hagan made an amazing run to beat her in the semifinals.
I am not flying to Englishtown this weekend unfortunately. This is a big race for John Force Racing since Castrol, our major sponsor, has their headquarters nearby. There will be hundreds of employees at the race cheering my dad, Ashley and Robert on. Last year my sister Brittany had a chance to win that race in her BrandSource dragster.
I flew to Indy on Monday to get fitted for my race car seat. I’m sure I’ll have some tales to tell from being at our Brownsburg shop for a couple of days.
Follow Courtney Force at twitter.com/courtneyforce