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Force sisters celebrate Dad on Father's Day

Jeff Birchfield • Jun 17, 2018 at 1:38 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — They got their father’s love of speed, but the annual trip to Bristol Dragway for the NHRA Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley Nationals is a time when the racing Force sisters can also celebrate 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force simply as their dad.

Courtney Force gave her best imitation of her father on the track Friday night with her run of 3.993 seconds at 325.92 mph, easily the best time in the qualifying session. But more than performance on the track, all her sisters and her husband, IndyCar racer Graham Rahal, agree that the youngest of Force’s four children is easily the one most like the racing legend off it.

“I’m reminded of that by my sisters and my husband all the time,” Courtney said. “They tell me I’m just like my dad. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I have the same passion for racing, but we’re both very stubborn, so I think that’s more of what they’re talking about.”

Her sister Brittany, the defending NHRA Top Fuel world champion, agrees that Courtney is the closest to their father, and not just on the track. Courtney is outgoing and embraces the spotlight much more than her sisters and, like her father, is full of energy and emotion.

“I’m like my dad and my mom where Courtney is a spitting image of my dad,” Brittany said. “Like she said, it’s scary. Even driving to the drag strip, I’m like, ‘You’re just like Dad.’ She’s like him in every single way. I remind her of it and she recognizes it. My dad is a handful, but I’m so thankful for everything I get from my dad. He teaches me something new every weekend.”

Older sister Ashley Force Hood was actually the first to join their father in the Funny Car division. She earned four wins in the division, including two in the U.S. Nationals, before turning her attention to family.

Another sister, Adria, has stayed out of the spotlight entirely, although her husband, Robert Hight, is a two-time and defending Funny Car world champion with John Force Racing.

Brittany became the first of the sisters to win a world championship last year, but it’s Courtney with her 13 career Funny Car wins who is the closest on the track. She and her father faced each other last weekend in the Funny Car final at Richmond, where Courtney won her fourth race of the season.

“It’s great. I grew up wanting to be just like my dad,” Courtney said. “I love racing against him and learning from him. It’s always been a dream of mine to be out at the racetrack with him. I love spending Father’s Day with him and I’m proud I’ve taken after him, that I remind people of my dad.”

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