By Jeff Burk
days John Force -- or as he has been dubbed
by some members of the press "The Loquacious
One" -- has been keeping a low profile
or as low a
as drag racing's most popular racer/team
owner can. While having a season that
almost any other racer on the planet would
shoot his dog to have (he is currently
sixth in points, just 31 points behind
Ron Capps) he has been taking some serious
flak from his fans, the media and even
some of his competitors for, of all things,
not winning a race this season. They've
questioned his will to win, the integrity
of himself and his team, and his motives
as a racer. So, Force has kind of taken
a vow of silence. He isn't avoiding the
press but his interviews lately have been
very low key and mainstream. A combination
of DRO's reputation for playing it straight
and editor Jeff Burk's unabashed sucking
up got Force to give us a very telling
interview where he deals with some questions
that he had never been asked before.
here it is -- the ultimate game of 20
questions with 12-time World Champ John
Force with DRO editor Jeff Burk. Burk
just asked the first 20 questions he could
think of and let Force do what he does
better than most...talk.
DRO: Okay, John,
are you ready to answer twenty questions?
on what they are, but I'll do the best I can.
DRO: What are
your plans for yourself and John Force Racing
for the next five years?
I'm signed with Ford until 2007. What I want
to do during that period of time is to continue
expanding my racing operation. I want to further
expose John Force and my teams to all the racing
fans, not just drag racing fans. I've hired
a new agent to help me with that. I'd like John
Force Racing to be thought of by race fans,
the media, and corporate America in the same
way that (Roger) Penske's racing operation is.
DRO: What, if any, plans do you have for your
daughter Ashley as far as her future career
in drag racing?
Force: I'm not
getting in any hurry to move Ashley to quicker
and faster cars, if that's what you're asking.
Before I do that I have to make sure that's
what she wants. Before that happens she needs
to grow and mature as a drag racer. I need to
know in my heart that she loves this sport as
much as I do before I put here into faster cars.
I believe that if you don't love this sport,
and I mean really love it, then you can't really
be successful. I think she does love it like
I do, but we are going to take it one step at
a time and not get in a rush as far as her career
DRO: Who in drag racing had the most influence
on your career?
Force: I'd have
to say that more than anyone else Don Prudhomme
has motivated me to do what I've done. Kenny
Bernstein is also someone who has greatly influenced
the way I've tried to do things as both a racer
and a team owner. I know that a lot of people
always bring up (Don) Garlits and Shirley (Muldowney)
when that question is asked, but frankly I wasn't
a big fan of theirs because they drove dragsters.
I've always wanted to drive Funny Cars, so Prudhomme
and Bernstein were guys that influenced me.