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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.”

It’s official: Laguna Seca to host INDYCAR for at least next 3 seasons

Laguna Seca, from the 1991 CART race there. Photo: Getty Images
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INDYCAR made it official today: the 2019 season-ending race will move a couple of hours down the Northern California coast to WeatherTechRaceway Laguna Seca.

Sonoma Raceway, which has hosted INDYCAR since 2005 – including the last five season-ending races (that includes this year’s upcoming season finale) – will not be part of next season’s schedule.

Earlier today, the Monterey County (Calif.) Board of Supervisors, which oversees operation of the iconic racing facility, approved a three-year agreement with INDYCAR to host next year’s season finale on Sept. 20-22, 2019.

The remaining two race dates for 2020 and 2021 will be announced later, according to an INDYCAR media release.

The 2.238-mile permanent road course previously hosted CART and Champ Car World Series Indy car races from 1983 through 2004, including the season-ending races from 1989 through 1996.

“I can’t imagine a more attractive destination location for INDYCAR’s season finale,” Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a statement. “Monterey is a place people want to be, and we will bring all of our guests. I think it’s a great choice for us.”

Bobby Rahal, former CART/CCWS driver and current INDYCAR team co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, won four of the prior 22 previous Indy car races at Laguna Seca, all consecutively (1984-87).

“It’s great news, but I might be biased,” Rahal said. “I personally won four Indy car races there and won my first Can-Am race there. Our Indy car team won with Bryan Herta and Max Papis and our sports car team won IMSA races there.

“So I would almost bet you that Laguna Seca is the site of more victories for me as a driver and team owner combined of any track I’ve ever raced on.

“There is nothing better than the Monterey Bay area, and it’s a great circuit that always drew great crowds. So I’m thrilled to have Indy car racing coming back to a circuit I love so much. We will put on a good show, for sure.”

In addition to Rahal as a multiple winner, two-time winners at Laguna Seca were fellow current INDYCAR team co-owners Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta, INDYCAR on NBCSN analyst Paul Tracy, Danny Sullivan and Patrick Carpentier.

“The return of INDYCAR to its spiritual road racing home of Laguna Seca is a tremendous honor and testament to the appeal of Monterey, and through the support of the County of Monterey will provide a significant economic benefit to our area businesses,” said Timothy McGrane, CEO of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, “We are looking forward to creating more memories in race fans’ minds like Bobby Rahal’s four consecutive Indy car wins from 1984-1987, Mario Andretti’s farewell race in 1994 and Alex Zanardi’s last-lap overtaking of Bryan Herta in the Corkscrew in 1996 that simply became known as ‘The Pass.'”

NBC Sports Group has secured exclusive domestic television and digital media rights for INDYCAR races beginning in 2019. Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, agreed that Laguna Seca is an ideal venue to close out the schedule.

“We commend INDYCAR for returning to Laguna Seca, a historic track and an inspired place for the 2019 season finale,” Miller said. “The 2019 season will be our first as the exclusive media rights partner of INDYCAR, and we could not be more pleased to broadcast the championship from beautiful Monterrey.”

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