After John Force beat his daughter Ashley Force Hood and two others to win the inaugural NHRA four-wide funny car drag race near Charlotte, N.C., Force Hood did little to hide her disappointment.
The normally personable and fan-friendly Force Hood, 27, gave a terse post-race interview on television while the 60-year-old Force -- a funny car legend with an unprecedented 14 championships -- celebrated nearby.
"She was mad," Force told reporters on a conference call Wednesday to discuss his victory at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., on Monday. "She is so much her mother, but that is the one bit she got from me, the temper. She wanted it so bad."
The unique four-wide format in the National Hot Rod Assn. race required two sets of staging lights -- the so-called Christmas tree -- between each pair of drivers racing down the drag strip. At the finish line, Force Hood's "light had come on in her lane" showing that she beat the driver next to her, "but she was runner-up, not winner" of the race, Force said. "She thought she won."
Force said "later she told me she was sorry, and she should have celebrated with us," but that he understood her disappointment.
"That is what you have to have in your heart and your mind," he said. "You can’t say, 'Oh well, it’s OK cause my dad won.' You've got to have that fight."
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: Funny car driver John Force celebrates winning the inaugural four-wide NHRA drag race at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., on Monday. Credit:Teresa Long / Associated Press