NHRA: Top Fuel driver Brittany Force inks ‘Monster’ sponsorship deal

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When NHRA legend John Force hinted he’d have a “monster” sponsorship announcement Wednesday for daughter Brittany’s Top Fuel dragster, he wasn’t kidding – literally or figuratively.

Father and daughter Force were ecstatic when they were finally able to reveal a major deal where Monster Energy drink will become the primary sponsor for Brittany’s dragster for all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events for the next three years.

Sister Courtney’s team, as well as those of brother-in-law Robert Hight and team patriarch John Force, will also carry Monster as an associate sponsor.

“This is honestly a dream come true,” Brittany Force said in a Wednesday afternoon teleconference. “My sister and I have been chasing Monster for a while. To see it all actually happening, it’s pretty surreal. I’m beyond excited about it.

“Monster’s all about living life on the edge. I think our sport ties in perfectly to that because there’s nothing more extreme than driving a Top Fuel dragster. You’re racing down the track 330 miles per hour. I don’t think there’s anything more extreme than that. I honestly think we are really a perfect fit.”

John Force, who had been financing much of Brittany’s dragster this season out of his pocket, is both excited – and financially relieved.

“Well, it’s a big relief to me not just financially, but a relief that we’ve kept this a secret for a year,” Force said. “You know me, I can’t keep a secret.

“The problem I had was my next generation, my driver, my daughter, didn’t have a home (sponsorship). You could see the teams, as hard as they work night and day on the racecars at the races, having a trailer that’s not branded with a sponsor’s name.

“Everyone knows you’re underfunded. Everyone knows financially you don’t have everything that it takes. You want that name. It’s an honor badge that you wear.

“To land a company like Monster, that’s huge. … The kids got it done. Unbelievable. It’s the chance of a lifetime.”

Monster was previously an NHRA sponsor with the now-retired Kenny Bernstein.

“Monster’s marketing is built on three things mainly: that’s racing, music and girls,” Monster vice president of sports marketing Mitch Covington said in a Wednesday afternoon teleconference. “We think that fits great with drag racing. We’re just super excited to be back in this sport.”

Brittany Force will debut her new sponsorship and colors at this weekend’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.

“John Force Racing, we don’t have to tell anybody, is synonymous with winning,” Covington said. “Monster’s brand is really built on a culture of winning. Man, we just can’t wait till this weekend to unveil that car.”

Covington went on to tell a funny story of how the deal first began to take shape.

“As to how we got in with John Force Racing, you guys all know John Force is one hell of a salesman,” Covington said. “I actually met him at a wedding party. This dude (Force) chased me down the whole time.

“But I got news for everybody. John Force didn’t sell this deal, it was his daughter Brittany and his other daughter Courtney.”

Brittany Force, in effect, will become Monster teammates with several dozen athletes that the company sponsors, including NASCAR drivers Kyle and Kyle Busch and reigning Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg.

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Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.