John Force to teach Graham Rahal how to drive Funny Car?

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NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force and IndyCar driver Graham Rahal are mulling over the idea of switching rides for a day, according to Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star.

Force is still trying to decide if she’ll go through with it, but Rahal is gung-ho to hop into a nitromethane-burning Funny Car.

But there’s one caveat: Rahal will have to go  through the John Force School of Drag Racing – Force, of course, being the 16-time NHRA Funny Car world champ and also Courtney’s father.

“I told (Rahal) he’s going to go through what we call ‘Funny Car 101,’ ” Force told Cavin. “I’m going to tow him around the parking lot like I did with (my) girls. ‘Here’s a chassis, get in it.’ No firesuit, no helmet.”

Basically, Force wants Rahal to learn how a Funny Car feels, handles and steers – even though it’s designed to do one thing best: go straight.

“These things are an animal, and they’ll eat you alive in second,” Force said of Funny Cars. “You don’t have time to think; you have to feel it.”

Right now, the plan is to have Rahal get behind the wheel of Force’s car after the season-ending NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, which will also be after the season ends for the Verizon IndyCar Series, as well.

In addition to letting Courtney drive his open-wheel IndyCar, Rahal also wants to put her dad behind the wheel.

Forget it, says John Force.

“I went to Buck Baker’s (road racing driving school), and I was in the Long Beach Grand Prix celebrity race (in 1993); I’ve done all that,” Force told Cavin. “I stay in drag racing because I know what I do. Besides, I told Rahal that if I crash one of his dad’s Indy cars he’s going to make me pay for it.”

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NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.