John Force: ‘Mixed emotions’ on daughter Courtney ending drag racing career

Courtney Force, with husband Graham Rahal and father, John Force. Photo: NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force admits that he has “mixed feelings” about Thursday’s announcement that daughter Courtney has likely ended her drag racing career.

On one hand, John Force has a number of great memories garnered from not only watching Courtney grow up, but also as she followed in his racing footsteps to become Funny Car racing’s winningest female driver during her seven-year career in the class. He couldn’t be prouder of the person she’s become and what she’s achieved.

Courtney, my daughter, grew up around racing,” John Force told NBC Sports. “As a kid she lived at the race tracks and at home she drew pictures racing her dad in a Funny Car.

John Force. Photo: NHRA.

“We knew at an early age that all the girls had an interest but Courtney probably showed it the most. As she evolved through super comp into A-fuel while attending college and getting her degree, it was always about race cars. When she went pro, following her sister Ashely, she excelled.

“Courtney had this love and passion and she took to it like a fish in water,. She was living the dream like I was, running to the race tracks, travelling, loving the teams. That was probably what she cherished most was her team, that was her family.

“It wasn’t just the winning, she proved she could do that, she led the points all of 2018 and we thought she was going to win the title, but she always worked with the fans, especially the children. They adored her, why wouldn’t they? She is a social media machine and a PR dream and worked it continually. She accomplished so much and now wants to move onto the next chapter in her life.”

But on the other hand, the elder Force had hoped his youngest of four daughters would eventually replace him as the lead Funny Car driver at John Force Racing

Am I saddened by her leaving? Yes and no. I have mixed emotions. (Courtney) would have replaced me in time.

“Am I saddened by her leaving? Yes and no. I have mixed emotions,” John Force said. “(Courtney) would have replaced me in time as a female Funny Car star but now her goal is to move ahead.

“Once you get hooked on the sport it’s really hard to walk away. She not only drove a race car but she married a race car driver, Graham Rahal, so she’s in this life.”

Courtney is now the second of three of Force’s daughters who have walked away from racing (Ashley Force Hood ended her career after the 2011 season to start a family).

But her older sister, 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champ Brittany, will continue to carry the family torch, in addition to papa John, who turns 70 in May.

John Force said that while Courtney will no longer be behind the wheel, she will still be involved in the sport in other ways, including serving as a spokesman for Advance Auto Parts, as well as having a presence at John Force Racing.

“Courtney will continue to work with sponsors in the future,” Force said. “She’s going to be out there and not just at the drag races.

“It’s been fun the last few days, we’ve spent some time with her, the whole family, (wife) Laurie, Brittany, Ashely, Adria (plus John Force’s other three daughters) and myself. It’s important to keep the family together. The door is always open (for Courtney), she’ll always have a spot here at John Force Racing if she chooses.”

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Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston

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Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart


The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s