NHRA: Courtney Force to run Taylor Swift album livery in Pomona

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Courtney Force has unveiled a special livery to her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS for this weekend’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season finale at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.

And she’ll be hoping her reaction time will be feeling 0.022.

Force today revealed, in partnership with Big Machine Records, a Taylor Swift livery in advance of her new album, “Reputation,” which is released on Friday, November 10.

“I’ve had an incredible experience working with our partners Advance Auto Parts and Big Machine Records this season and am honored to drive the special Taylor Swift reputation Funny Car for our final race in Pomona,” Force said. “My team and I are always playing her songs to get in the zone and prepare to battle it out against the boys on race day. I hope to finish out our season on a high note while promoting Taylor’s album release at over 330 mph and hopefully celebrating in the winner’s circle with my team on Sunday.”

“Having Taylor’s reputation album art on Courtney’s car for the NHRA championship weekend, which also happens to coincide with the Nov. 10 release is the perfect match of two game-changers who are truly the best of the best,” added Scott Borchetta, Big Machine Label Group President and CEO.

Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time T-Swift and racing have been intertwined.

Swift performed her lone major concert of 2016 at that year’s United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

Meanwhile in 2015, Tony Kanaan ran the No. 10 Taylor Swift Big Machine Records Chevrolet at the Verizon IndyCar Series race in Detroit. Swift was performing in Detroit that weekend.

Tony Kanaan in 2015. Photo: IndyCar

As for Force, she enters this weekend in third place at 125 points behind John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight, who leads the Funny Car standings. Ron Capps is second and just 15 back as he searches for his second straight title.

Force is yet to win a final round this year but has used a mix of consistency and No. 1 qualifying runs – including a four-in-a-row run earlier this year – to stay in the championship hunt. She’d need to win this race and hope for quite a bit of bad luck hitting Hight and Capps early in the eliminations to overcome the deficit.

“Even though we haven’t gotten a win yet this season, at least we’re being consistent,” Force said. “And I think that’s the most important thing. You can definitely win a championship with a consistent car, rather than just having a fling and one great run, or a killer record run. Not having consistency won’t get you anywhere. I’m really proud of my guys. So far this season, having a consistent race car is what we need.”

“I think everyone going into the final race wants to get that win. Obviously, we’ve been right there, been in multiple final rounds. Like I said, we’ve had a consistent race car all year, but have yet to get in the winner’s circle. But at least we’ve made a lot of great strides this entire year, learned a lot, and found that consistency that we were kind of missing last year. We would love to finish off the season on a high note and take home that win. We were close at Vegas, so hopefully we can keep the momentum going into Pomona, and it’s going to be a great race and a lot of exciting things are going to happen.”

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”