They say behind every man is a good woman. Whoever came up with that saying could very easily have been thinking about Laurie Force, wife of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force.
Laurie Force, who has been by John’s side since the start of his four-plus decade racing career, was awarded the Pat Garlits Memorial Award by Mopar during a banquet last Friday at the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Gainesville, Florida.
Laurie is also mother to drag racing daughters Brittany and Courtney Force and Ashley Force Hood.
The award honors the late wife of “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, who passed away in February 2014. Pat and Don had been married for nearly 61 years.
Laurie Force was honored for her dedication, passion and service to not only her husband’s and daughter’s teams, but also to drag racing as a whole.
“In the early days Laurie wrote my first contracts, mixed fuel and backed the race car up,” John Force said of his wife. “She was with me from the beginning and there is no doubt I would not be where I am today without the support and love of Laurie.”
Laurie Force is the third person to win the Pat Garlits Memorial Award. Barbara Hamilton, the first woman licensed to drive supercharged cars (in 1964), won the inaugural award in 2014.
Joan Gwynn, mother of former Top Fuel driver Darrell Gwynn and wife of 57 years to drag racing legend Jerry Gwynn, received the award in 2015 for her contributions to the sport, as well as her work with the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and the Drag Racing Association of Women (D.R.A.W.).
Check out this video, produced by Ashley Force Hood, and which includes interviews with Ashley, Brittany, Courtney and John Force.