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.”

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”