Bobby Rahal goes to NHRA race to scout a driver — future daughter-in-law, Courtney Force


JOLIET, Il. – IndyCar team owner and former CART champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal was on a scouting trip of sorts on Friday, checking out a driver.

This was a rather unique scouting trip, as Rahal was at Route 66 Raceway, and the driver is National Hot Rod Association Funny Car pilot Courtney Force. It’s the first time Rahal has been at an NHRA race in over a decade.

But Rahal isn’t going to hire Force for his IndyCar team. Rather, he wanted to see how his future daughter-in-law does behind the wheel, as Force and Bobby’s son, IndyCar driver Graham Rahal, are getting married in November in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“I’ve always been very impressed with this sport, and particularly now that my future daughter-in-law is out there,” Rahal said. “She’s a great girl and is doing a great job and it’s fun to come out and cheer her on.”

Rahal is also having fun hanging around Courtney’s father, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force – who is such a contrast to his daughter.

“The first time I met her, Courtney was, I don’t want to say shy, but quiet – not like John,” Rahal said with a smile. “With John, he’s at the rev limit all the time.

“Courtney comes across as a very solid person, and as I’ve gotten to know her a lot better over the last year and a half or so, she’s a great girl. I’m very glad for both of them. She makes (Graham) happy and he makes her happy.”

And the younger Force can certainly wheel a Funny Car. She was No. 1 after the first qualifying round Friday and No. 4 after the second qualifying session later in the evening — two spots higher than dear old dad. There are two more qualifying rounds Saturday night.

There’s no question that the pending merger between two of the biggest names in motorsports may lead to some interesting times in the future.

When asked what direction his future grandkids might follow in motorsports, Rahal smiled and said, “I don’t know what direction they’re going to go, but I’m sure John’s going to do all he can do to make them drag racers.”

But Rahal appreciates his son’s future father-in-law for the person he is and all the achievements he’s made in drag racing.

“What I like about John is what you see is what you get, it’s not an act,” Rahal said. “I love John. I have a lot of respect for the guy, he’s made his way.

“In some respects, I wonder where drag racing would be without him. He’s such an engaging and popular figure, people love him. And I’m impressed that he’s a couple years older than me and he’s still going 300-plus mph, so he’s a lot braver I am, that’s for sure.”

When asked if he’s getting nervous at his son’s impending nuptials, Rahal’s face broke into a big smile.

“No, I’m not nervous because I don’t have to pay for that wedding,” he said with a laugh. “I called John up and left a message on his voicemail that this was going to be the most expensive wedding in Southern California in 2015.”

Like most fathers, Rahal has already given his son some advice about getting married — and about his future father-in-law.

“I told Graham,” the elder Rahal said with another big smile on his face, “you do realize you’re marrying John, too, right?”

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Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

How to Watch Seattle Supercross
Dylan Ferrandis may return before SX finale
SMX develops “Leader Lights”
Power Rankings after Detroit
Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan
Results and points after Detroit
Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points