Courtney Force performs one of best burnouts you’ll ever see

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John Force has taught his racing daughters – Ashley (retired), Brittany and Courtney – quite a few lessons about drag racing over the years.

One of the most important lessons Papa John has imparted on his daughters is how to do a major league burnout. After all, the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion is the undisputed king of burnouts in the sport.

It’s obvious his daughters have learned their lessons well, particularly Courtney.

Having just celebrated the one-year anniversary of her wedding to Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal, Courtney Force had a chance a few days ago to put her burnout talents on display.

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And boy, did she ever. She generated so much smoke from her rear tires that the fire department should have been on hand.

We’re almost ready to say that if John is the king of burnouts, Courtney is now the queen.

Courtney was loaned a brand new, red-hot (both its paint scheme, as well as the 650 horses it has under the hood) 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to do some burnouts and quarter-mile passes at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

She literally smoked the tires off the Camaro with one of the most spectacular burnouts you’ll ever see come from a street car. If you think NASCAR drivers do great burnouts, wait until you see when Courtney mashed the pedal. Her car disappeared for several seconds in a massive display of burnout smoke before re-emerging.

“The best part about racing is the burnout,” Courtney Force said from behind the wheel. “For me, this is like a dream come true car. It’s a street-legal car that you can take right from the street and take it to a drag strip and race it.”

Thankfully, cameras were on hand to record the fun Courtney had, with NHRA reporter Amanda Busick – who appeared a bit apprehensive before climbing into the car – riding shotgun.

Force, who recently signed a multi-year major sponsorship deal with Advance Auto Parts, consistently ran sub-eight second laps at over 100 mph in her flashy Chevy.

Needless to say, the fun only served to further whet Courtney’s appetite for the 2017 NHRA racing season, which begins in less than two months with the season-opening Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway.

“I’m already looking forward to testing in Phoenix (in late January),” said Courtney Force, who finished sixth in 2016, but has much higher goals for 2017.

“We’re going for a championship and I can’t wait to get to testing,” she said with a big smile on her face.

Here’s the video once again:

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Rahal determined to regain winning touch in 2019 IndyCar season

Photo by Shawn Gritzmacher, INDYCAR
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AUSTIN, Texas – Graham Rahal entered the room with a smile on his face and a chip on his shoulder.

It was IndyCar “Media Day” and Rahal wasn’t happy with the way last season went at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He was less happy with the fact some aren’t considering him a serious threat in 2019. He playfully chided with one media outlet for failing to mention his team as one to watch in 2019.

“We use that as motivation to show everybody how we are viewed,” Rahal said. “We are here to win.”

Rahal just turned 30 in January but is entering his 13thseason in big-time Indy car racing. He entered the 2007 Champ Car Series season when he was just 17. He missed his high school prom because he was racing at Houston.

“That was the luckiest day of my life,” Rahal said. “I didn’t have to go to the prom. It doesn’t get any better than that.

“Plus, I got my second career podium that weekend.”

Rahal drove to victory in his very first race in the combined IndyCar Series in the 2008 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He was hailed as the “Poster Boy of Unification” and a future star. What followed was a seven-year drought before he captured his second-career win in a thrilling race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

He won two races in 2015, one in 2016 and two in 2017. He was expected to contend for victories and possibly the championship last year but struggled through a disappointing season and finished eighth in the standings.

“I’m looking forward for chance this year,” Rahal said. “Last year was a tough one for me and for the team. I’m looking forward to what my new engineer, Allen McDonald, has done so far. He is an accomplished engineer and brings a different mindset to our program this year from what we had last year. He and (fellow engineer) Eddie Jones are very close friends and that will help us from the standpoint they are on the same page.

“We needed a bit of life brought back to the team.”

Rahal believes his challenges are to get everything in order before the season starts. The team has defined the areas where it was lacking in 2019. The team needed to improve in research and development after starting behind last season.

“I’m excited for what I see, and I know in the end it will all pay off,” Rahal said. “It’s just a matter of when.

“There is a lot to be excited about for us. We are in a great position as a team. We have great sponsorship and that will allow us to push forward and do the things we need to do.”

Rahal believes at 30, he has a long time ahead of him to win races and championships and maybe even the Indianapolis 500. In order to reach those goals, however, Rahal’s team needs to regain the competitive level he displayed prior to last year.

“We’ve been fortunate to win six times,” Rahal said. “A lot of people come into this sport and never win. I fully recognize there is no reason we can’t win a lot. I don’t care what anybody writes, what anybody thinks – I really feel that when it comes to race day, we perform better than 99 percent of the other people out there.

“As a team and for myself, we have to qualify better. If we can qualify better, we’ll be a thorn in everybody’s side. We know the rear of our cars just aren’t good enough. When we need to find that extra tenth or two, it’s just not there but absolutely, we want to win.

“I don’t come here year after year to just drive around. Our sponsors don’t invest in us year after year to not see us win. We feel that. But our cars aren’t good enough and we know that.”

Rahal believes the team has identified the problems with the setup of its car. It has a deep engineering staff but hasn’t had a chance to develop the damper program and other important areas that provide a competition setup.

Takuma Sato, the winner of the 101stIndianapolis 500 when he was with Andretti Autosport, scored the team’s only victory in 2018 with a win in the Portland Grand Prix. The two are back this year and have built a respect for each other.

“He’s a good guy,” Rahal said of Sato. “Other than Helio Castroneves, Takuma is probably the happiest man on the planet. He’s a great guy and fits in well with our organization. We pride ourselves on being a family and he fits in extremely well to that.

“We need to do a better job for him as a team. He won a race last year, but we can both do better to win with both cars.

“The Andretti cars are the best right now and the Penske cars will be good. We have a lot of space to close up on those two teams but hopefully, we can do it.”