Driving Through the Glass Ceiling: Forces To Be Reckoned with

Jen PrestonSenior Analyst IJuly 27, 2009

“I know it's scary, but that's how you have to learn.” -John Force, talking to daughter Brittany after a wreck in 2006. 

John Force has more than cemented his legacy in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). With more than thirty-years of experience under his belt, Force has more wins (1,000) and more championships (14) than any other driver in the sport.


He's also made strides off the track, becoming instrumental in making NHRA safer after Scott Kalitta in 2008.


While he continues to drive, the second coming of the Force legacy has already begun to take drag racing by storm. Call it the ABC's of the new generation, because Ashley, Brittany, and Courtney Force are here to stay.



Courtney Force


Currently balancing classes at California State University-Fullterton and her up and coming drag racing career, Courtney is the youngest daughter of John Force and his wife, Laurie. She became licensed to drive in the NHRA four years ago at the tender age of 17, and hasn't disappointed.


On July 19th, a day before her 21st birthday, Courtney got her first win in Top Alcohol Dragster in Seattle.


"So now I can really go celebrate," she said after he win. "When I saw the win light I didn't believe it at first."


The youngest Force had to defeat her sister Brittany in an earlier race, and while she said it was fun racing against her big sis "she'll probably kick my butt next time."



Brittany Force


Known as the "rebel middle sis," the 23-year-old, is also a college student at CSUF, and said in 2006 she would like to become a teacher. In the meantime, Brittany is making waves racing in Top Alcohol Dragster, driving solo after sharing the ride with younger sister Courtney in 2008.


“She’s tough when she’s in the car,” her father said, “but she’s got to learn to do everything else, like giving enough time to the sponsors and the media and the fans.  She’s always gone her own way, but if she wants to race, I’ll do all I can to give her a chance (to succeed).”



Ashley Force Hood

The oldest daughter of John and Laurie, Ashley has been racing since she was 21-years-old, beginning in 2004 when she was named the top rookie in the Alcohol class.

There was no doubt that Ashley would make her famous father proud, and she's done much more than that, breaking new ground for women in drag racing with each passing year.

By the time AOL users named her 2007's "Hottest Athlete," beating out New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Ashley had placed tenth in Funny Car series points, the best ever by a female driver. 

The following year, the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation named her the "Female Athlete of the Year," and she became the first woman to ever make it to the finals in a Funny Car event.

There was more history to be made by this Force. 

It was just a week after IndyCar driver Danica Patrick made history by becoming the first woman to win in an open wheel car when Ashley herself made history, becoming the first woman to ever win in an NHRA Funny Car.

Who did she beat to go to victory lane? Her father, John.

"I'm proud of her. She did her job. She didn't do anything stupid at the starting line. ...I love her."


Thanks to ESPN, the Associated Press and the drivers web sites for the quotes used in this piece. For more information, visit the team and driver web sites: John Force RacingAshley Force Hood, Brittany Force and Courtney Force. Be sure to check out their web site blogs, where you can find their Twitter, Myspace and Facebook URLs. The family was also featured on their A&E show 'Driving Force' for two years. You can see a promo for the show here.