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Courtney Force joins dad John Force in drag racing's top series

January 10, 2012 |  4:23 pm

Courtney Force, the youngest daughter of drag-racing legend John Force, said Tuesday that she's joining her father as a driver in the sport's big leagues, starting with the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona on Feb. 9-12.

Courtney Force, 23, will drive one of the 8,000-horsepower funny cars prepared by her family's John Force Racing team in the National Hot Rod Assn.'s Full Throttle Series. The car's primary sponsor is Traxxas, a maker of radio-controlled hobby cars that's new to the team.

"I am so thrilled and honored," Courtney Force told a news conference at the team's Yorba Linda facility. "I knew ever since I was 5 years old that I wanted to be a professional race-car driver. I can't wait to start beating up on the boys, especially my dad."

John Force, 62, is a 15-time champion in the NHRA funny car division, where dragsters reach speeds exceeding 300 mph in 1,000-foot races.

Another of his daughters, Ashley Force Hood, 29, already had been competing in the Full Throttle Series but took last year off to have a baby and is not racing again this season.

Courtney Force had been cutting her teeth in the NHRA's second-tier divisions and "she's got a lot to learn" about racing at the NHRA's top level, John Force said.

"I don't set expectations" in terms of results, he said. "I ask for one thing: Love the sport, love the fans, be respectful and be safe."

Courtney Force said her rookie goals were to "get qualified through the season" for each race's final eliminations, "hopefully go a couple of [final] rounds and maybe take home a win or two."

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-- Jim Peltz

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