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NHRA: Force in the top of standings coming into Brainerd

John Force comes into Brainerd after winning his 154th race in Kansas last weekend

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John Force in action during the 2021 season. NHRA Photo.

At 72-years-old, John Force is still winning.

Force comes into the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Aug. 20-22 at Brainerd International Raceway off a win in Topeka, Kansas. His 154th career win on the NHRA circuit vaulted him to the top of the Funny Car series standings.

“We got a good race car,” he said. “It’s coming around. It’s got a real good team. Danny Hood, my son-in-law, he runs the car and with this group it’s coming around. As a driver, you know, I’m no spring chicken, but I’m holding my own. I got a lot of work to do in that cockpit. I got to get better at the lights. I think I got a car that can run for the championship. The problem right now is me and I just got to get my (stuff) together and you know it’s part of the game, but I’m excited about it.”

What made his win in Kansas even more special was that his daughter Brittany Force won the Top Fuel series championship making it the first time both father and daughter were in the winner’s circle together.

RELATED: NHRA: Steve Torrence hopes to check BIR off his list with a victory
Force mentioned how cool it was considering his other children who raced, Ashley and Courtney, both were in Funny Car, so he’d compete against them.

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“I got to say that I’m probably going to apologize to Brittney when I see her, because I was always rough on her,” Force said. “I was rough on Ashley in the Funny Car. I was rough on Courtney in the Funny Car. Always wanting them to get better and always wanting them to win and driving them and pushing them and I’ve been worse on Brittany, but I love her with all my heart. And I never realized how much she wanted to double-up. She wanted it for her mom, she wanted it for herself and she wanted it for me and her. But for all the years of me being a jerk dad, to get her what she wanted to be with me for that moment was like the high of highs for me.”


"Going back to Brainerd to me will be a big thing. I’m going to kiss that ground when I get to that gate because it keeps me alive."

— John Force


Brittany Force won the Top Fuel Series Championship in 2017. John Force recalls being pumped about his daughter being a champion. The first race of 2018 in Pomona, Brittany had an accident.

“She rolled the car over on its roof and I’m standing on the sidelines with her mother and it was like — oh my God we put in all this work and got her to be the champion she’s going to be like me and then she rolled it over on its roof like a lot of drivers have done,” John Force said. “We went to the hospital and I thought she’d never come back from this. But she has and is in the hunt (this year). I’m guilty of living for that and I think she lives for it too.”

Force is no stranger to Brainerd International Raceway either being the all-time winningest racer at the track with 11 wins total. Force’s last win at BIR came in 2007. He dominated the track in the 1990s winning seven times in the decade alone.

It will also be Force’s first start at Brainerd since 2018 where he lost in the first round.

“I hope we can pack them in Brainerd, that's what I want to see,” Force said. “In my younger days I loved the jungle (at Brainerd), but I can’t live that anymore. It was just a party out there in the old days. Just the race track and the crowd support is really good there. It can get hot, but if the air is right you can run records there and it’s a good race track. You always feel safe on it and I’ve just always done well there over the years, so let’s see if we can do it again.”

RELATED: NHRA: Capps wants to make it 7 wins at BIR
Force says it makes him emotional to be back racing again after last year and he’s excited to get back to Brainerd again.

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“I don't think the fans realize that we need them to motivate us,” he said. “When you look out from the hood of your car and we see the stands packed, man it puts a fire in your belly and you want to win. When the stands are down and the pandemic has caused a lot of problems like it has for the world, but the fans keep you alive and that’s what I’m hoping to see in Brainerd.”

Force said it’s hard to explain why at 72-years-old he still finds himself racing.

“I get on an airplane and people always tell me that I’m miserable in the car going to the airport, but when I get dropped off I’m all happy,” Force said. “Well, I’m working. When I’m on that plane I know what I’m doing. When I’m home I’m walking around lost if I’m not in the office. When I get to a race track — oh man — when I came back this year and we went back racing after the pandemic, I was emotional. And going to each track has had that same feeling. Going back to Brainerd to me will be a big thing. I’m going to kiss that ground when I get to that gate because it keeps me alive.”

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

John Force

Ride: PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS

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Crew Chief: Danny Hood

2019 at BIR: Did not race

Current Standing: First

2021_John Force.jpg
John Force.

2021_John Force.jpg
John Force.

2021_John Force.jpg
John Force.

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