Photo: John Force Racing

Force family ready to compete on Father’s Day in Bristol

Leave a comment

Father’s Day weekend is always a special occasion for John Force and his family, perhaps most notably because it involves the family competing together on the same weekend, and sometimes against each other. John Force Racing features 16-time Funny Car champion John Force competing against his youngest daughter, Courtney, in the Funny Car division. John’s middle daughter, Brittany, is also an NHRA star in her own right, but as a Top Fuel competitor, she does not compete against her father.

Of course, given that Courtney is often in direct competition with her father in the Funny Car division, there is a peculiar dynamic that exists within the team.

“Being able to race against my dad on Father’s Day weekend is something that I really look forward to. Hopefully, we can give him Sunday off – that’s always the goal coming out to Bristol, to give dad the day off for Father’s Day. We’ll see what we can do,” Courtney quipped.

Of course, she is obviously joking, as the youngest of Force’s daughters relishes the chance to compete against her father, and enjoys the fun atmosphere it creates, an atmosphere that is especially noteworthy as Father’s Day approaches.

“Honestly, he’s taught me everything I know in a Funny Car, and I have fun when I’m in the lane next to him competing against him,” Courtney added. “I try to mess with him, but literally nothing breaks that guy down. I can’t screw him up, even if I try. We have fun with it.”

Brittany, the middle of John Force’s daughters, who competes in the Top Fuel division, does not compete against her father, but that not have make Father’s Day weekend any less poignant.

She highlighted that Father’s Day weekend is always special for the Force family, particularly in that they’re usually competing at the Bristol Dragway, one of her favorite tracks.

“Racing in Bristol on Father’s Day is always special,” said Brittany. “It always happens to land on that weekend, and Courtney and I do the Track Walk with our dad, which is something fun before race day.”

She added, “Bristol is one of my favorite race tracks – Thunder Valley. It’s a Bruton Smith track, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a race that I want to win, it’s a race I will win one of these days. I’d love to do it this year on Father’s Day.”

Heading into the weekend, Brittany ranks sixth in the Top Fuel standings, while Courtney sits fourth in the Funny Car standings, ahead of John in seventh.

John, meanwhile, looks to overcome a recent run of challenges and inconsistency.

“In my early days, I spent a lot of Father’s Days on the road,” John Force said. “Couldn’t get home to them, and I didn’t have the money – I was driving the 18-wheeler. To be with kids that I’ve missed so much and to race with them, life’s good for me.

“I’m getting beat up on that race track. But they beat me up 40 years ago and then I beat them up. They beat me up the first 10 years, and I dominated for 20, and now I’m getting my butt kicked. That’s what makes it exciting.”

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Daniel Ricciardo to decide soon about moving from Red Bull to another F1 team

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LE CASTELLET, France (AP) Daniel Ricciardo says over the next six weeks he wants to decide between staying at Red Bull or joining another Formula One team for next year.

Ricciardo said on Thursday at the French Grand Prix, “It would be nice to go on the summer break knowing what I am doing.”

F1 is working its way toward its three-week break in August with speculation mounting that Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren are interested in luring Ricciardo away from Red Bull for 2019.

“I will be honest, everyone is talking about Mercedes and Ferrari as potential places for me to go, and I am aware that there will be interest from other teams,” he said.

The Australian driver has won seven races in his four-plus seasons with Red Bull. He is fourth in the standings behind leader Sebastian Vettel heading into the race at the Paul Ricard Circuit near Marseille.

Ricciardo’s stock has risen in recent months after his victories in Shanghai and Monaco. His Monaco win was particularly impressive because Ricciardo had to deploy some masterful defensive driving to protect his lead after losing an estimated 25 percent of his engine power.

Ricciardo said he had not directly spoken to rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, but he hedged when asked if his manager had.

“People talk, have coffees, I will leave that one open-ended,” he said with a laugh.

Ricciardo called the decision on whether to go or stay with Red Bull the biggest choice of his career following his decision to leave his native Australia and continue his racing career in Europe over a decade ago.

“For sure the priority is to get a car to win the world title because I really believe I can,” he said. “I am slightly careful because it is easy to think the grass is greener and maybe it is, but I also have it pretty good where I am.

“People do like a change but just to make change for the sake of making a change is not enough for me. I need to find some substance behind it to jump ship.”

Red Bull announced recently it would be ending its 12-year partnership with engine-maker Renault and switching to Honda motors for next year.

Ricciardo was hesitant to endorse or criticize the change, saying he was going to “try to keep putting the pieces together if it is a good move.”

But with the question of the engine manufacturer out of the way, Ricciardo said Red Bull would likely be looking to resolve its drivers’ lineup for next year.

“I haven’t been pushed yet, but I would say that there will be some movement in the next week,” he said. “Whether that is something that gets put down on paper (or not), for sure the discussions will start to ramp up in the next few days.”