Show of Force: Courtney trumps father John in inaugural New England NHRA race

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One week after Father’s Day, Courtney Force proved that father doesn’t always know best.

In the first final round matchup with her father and legendary 15-time Funny Car champion John Force, Courtney celebrated her 25th birthday by winning the inaugural Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

Courtney’s Ford Mustang bested her father’s Mustang, 4.301 seconds at 261.67 mph to 4.367 seconds at 262.28 mph.

It was Courtney Force’s second win of 2013 and the third of her career. She defeated Alexis DeJoria, Tim Wilkerson and defending Funny Car champ Jack Beckman earlier Sunday en route to meeting her father for the deciding matchup.

In addition, she’s now 4-2 in all-time round wins against dear old dad, but Sunday was the first time they had ever met in the final round of an NHRA national event. It also allowed Courtney to avenge a first round loss to John last week at Bristol Dragway.

“I definitely told him I was going to get some revenge and we were able to do it. It was a lot of fun,” Courtney Force told NHRA.com. “We got down there, and our car got in a little bit of trouble, but I had my foot on the throttle hoping he wouldn’t catch up. After the win, he came over and hugged me and congratulated me. We were both really excited, and it was great for our team.”

Courtney Force moved up to fourth in the series standings, while John Force is right behind in fifth place.

As for the other three pro classes in the 11th of 24 races in this season’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Spencer Massey won in Top Fuel, Allen Johnson in Pro Stock and John Hall in Pro Stock Motorcyle.

The NHRA now moves on to its third race in a grueling four-week period with the O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in suburban Chicago, June 27-30.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.