DRO: What would you like the legacy you leave to drag racing to be?

Force: Hell, that's an easy one to answer. I want to be the guy that signed more autographs for the fans than anyone else. When I was first getting into this sport I watched Richard Petty. I watched the way he treated his fans. He would stand and sign autographs as long as people wanted them. I never saw him refuse to give a fan an autograph. I saw the love that his fans had for him and the way he seemed to really like them. I want to be like Petty except I that I want to sign even more autographs than he has. I want to take care of my fans the way he has.

DRO: What drag racing accomplishment are you most proud of ?

Force: Well, there isn't just one, there are actually three things I've accomplished in my career that I'm really proud of. First would be my hundredth NHRA national event win. I'm really proud that my team and I did that. Second, the win that tied me with Bob Glidden for career NHRA wins. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I could ever equal what that man accomplished in drag racing. And third, all my Championships.

DRO: What has happened in your drag racing career that surprised you the most?

Force: I found out that if you want something bad enough in drag racing and you work like hell you can be want you want to be. I'm living proof of that. I wanted to be exactly what I am
and I've worked toward that goal every day. Isn't it great that in life and drag racing that you can be what you want if you work at it hard enough?

DRO: What haven't you done in drag racing that you would like to?

Force: Well, I'm really curious about Top Fuel. I think I'd like to drive a Top Fuel car and spank (Larry) Dixon. Also -- and you're going to think this is weird -- I think I would like to be driving a Top Fuel car and have one of those Top Fuel "blow-overs. " I'd just like to experience that. I mean, one of the most thrilling things I've ever witnessed was when Garlits blew that thing over at Englishtown, it landed on its tires and he drove it back towards the starting line. I mean that impressed me. So, I think I might like to experience that. Of course Coil and Bernie would have a heart attack if I tried it.

DRO: Who do you think has been the most influential racer during your career?

Force: Absolutely, positively Austin Coil. He's the most intense, dedicated racer -- and I don't mean tuner, I mean racer -- I've ever met or raced with.

DRO: What figure in history do you most relate to?

Force: I think Babe Ruth and Richard Petty. Ruth, because he wasn't pretentious or anything. What you saw was what you got and he delivered. And Richard Petty because, like me, he loves and values his fans.

DRO: What figure in history do you most admire or would like to be?

Force: Well, there are two people that come to mind. Audie Murphy (Murphy was a Medal of Honor winner in World War II and one of the most decorated soldiers in history. He was also from Force's home state of Oklahoma) and Elvis Presley. Audie Murphy because he was a true hero and didn't make a big deal out of it. And Elvis Presley because, like me, when he first started out he slept in his truck and lived on the road like I did when I first started.

Okay fans, there are the first ten questions. We'll pick this up in a couple of weeks and give you the second ten as Force answers yet more questions about himself, his career, the fans and the sport.

Previous INNERviews
Scott Geoffrion — 6/6/03
IHRA Vice President Aaron Polburn
— 5/7/03


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