John Force is surrounded by women. So what’s the problem? What man wouldn’t like the ratio that the National Hot Rod Association Funny Car icon has? Force is husband to Laurie Force; father to John Force Racing chief financial officer Adria Hight, as well as emerging sportsman-level drivers ley, Brittany, and Courtney Force; grandfather o one-year-old Autumn Hight; and boss to a handful of businesswomen who take care of his schedule, venirs, sponsor relationships, and fan activities. at has caused him years of trouble is his devotion to ot-tall brass-plated little man called Wally. These den “Wally” statues took over the Yorba Linda, fornia, driver’s life.
And that consumed all of his attention. It had to. It was his dream. No one but himself predicted he would emerge as drag racing’s Babe Ruth or Pele.
Force has 121 of the trophies, named for organized drag racing’s founder, Wally Parks. He has earned championships as a driver and one more as a car ner. He has qualified for nearly 400 consecutive RA tour events, dating back to the start of the 1988 son. He has appeared in almost half of all the final rounds contested in the NHRA Funny Car division since 9, and he has won at least one event for 20 straight seasons.
And that consumed all of his attention. It had to. It was his dream. No one but himself predicted he would emerge as drag racing’s Babe Ruth or Pele. But he dreamed it, back when he called himself a “dumb kid in love with the magic of Don Prudhomme, Tom ‘The Mongoose’ McEwen, Shirley Muldowney, and Big Daddy Don Garlits.” He never gave up when he said he was a “dumb ol’ truck driver” who loved Elvis Presley. Nobody knew that this kid who had overcome childhood polio and loved football but played on a team that never won a game during his high-school career would do what no golfer, jockey, skater, bowler, gymnast, or tennis player had done. John Force, who struggled to get enough money to show up to the next race, achieved something the storied New York Yankees, Montreal Canadians or UCLA basketball team couldn’t do and something no NBA, or NFL team has done: win 10 straight championships. However, his accomplishment came at a high price.
I Get A Chance At Redemption
“I fell in love with the race car and forgot about the kids. It’s hard to fix what you’ve screwed up over 25 years,” Force said, showing his trademark selfcriticism. “I’m really struggling with that. I missed a lot of things. I paid the price, but now I get a chance at redemption.”
Drag racing, the passion that came before all other passions, was what pulled him away from his family. Now, with all his daughters involved in the thrill of the quarter-mile, Force is discovering the sport is what, ironically, is pulling them together at last. Laurie Force conceded that her husband has “been away so much. And he’s not normal to begin with. When he comes home, he goofs everything up, truthfully. It’s better for him to be on the road. He’s on fire when he comes home. You can’t calm him down because he’s got to go out and do the battle again.” One aspect is different now. Said Laurie, “Now we’re in the battle with him.”
Through the years, Force had tried in his own way to make memorable moments with his daughters. They were memorable, certainly, much like a hurricane or dizzying roller-coaster ride would be. For example, when he came home from a road trip on a Sunday night and the girls, elementary-school students then, were asleep in bed, he would insist on waking them up and having a rollicking time. Brittany said she remembers more than one Monday morning, when they said they had to go to school, Force would say, “Nope! We’re going to Universal Studios! You girls are playing hooky!” She said, “We’d all go nuts!”
Courtney recalled that now and again he would watch “In her first couple of races Brittany was terrified. “I never wanted to hop in it again scary movies on TV and he would convince them it wasn’t frightening. “They were up all night long,” Laurie said. “They had nightmares for weeks.” “He made us watch the movie all the way through,” Brittany said of the plots with bad guys and creepy creatures, “and we were like ‘No, no – I don’t want to watch it. I’m too scared.’ And he’s like, ‘Well, you don’t want to go upstairs. He might be up there. That’s why Laurie said, “I would never let him be upset with the kids and decide what the punishment was going to be. He would be horrible. He once gave Ashley, the summer she was going into college, an 8:30 curfew. Or if they really were annoying him, he would pass out $100 bills so they would shut up and leave him alone. Neither one’s acceptable, in my opinion. He took everything to extremes. So I just thought he didn’t need to be handling the kids and what they were doing. He didn’t have a clue how old they were or what they were involved in, anyway, so it was better that he didn’t make those decisions.” Force himself even laughs at his unconventional and undisciplined parenting style. Saying he knows that “when I came home I drove them nuts,” he likens his family to the cartoon clan Simpsons.