By Jeff Burk
When we ran the first part of this interview with John Force he was still searching for his first win of the 2003 NHRA POWERade season and was mired in sixth place in the chase for yet another NHRA World title. What a difference a couple of weeks make. Force got a win on the mountain at Denver and jumped over a couple of teams in the points chase and is now fourth on the points chart with a bullet. The rest of this NHRA POWERade season promises to be a titanic battle, as you can bet your last buck that the drivers in front of Force are hearing footsteps and looking over their shoulders. Here is the rest of our interview with the defending Champ.
DRO: How do you
continue to motivate yourself and your crew?
Force: We're a
team. I'm just part of the team. I don't have
to motivate these guys much; they want to win.
Vince Lombardi once said that you win with heart.
My team has heart and I love them even if they
do piss me off once in a while.
DRO: What is more important to you: being a successful
race driver or a successful team owner?
Force: Being a
successful team owner is important to me, but
I'm still a racer at heart and being a successful
driver is still the most important thing to
me. Besides, my crew really likes those bonus
checks they get when we win and that does motivate
DRO: At this point in your career what's more
important: money or wins?
Force: Well, the
answer to that question is both. If I win I
make my sponsors happy, they keep giving me
money so that I can keep doing this. So "both"
is the answer to that question.
DRO: What do you think can be done that isn't
being done to make drag racing more popular?
Force: It's simple,
we need more and better media coverage both
in the magazines and newspapers and on television.
Tom (Compton) put together a terrific television
package for us, but we are in a war with the
other motor sports for the fans. We need to
find ways to get the mainstream press that only
know NNASCAR or those Indy car guys to start
paying attention to our sport. The racers and
NHRA have to team up and make that happen.
DRO: If you could start over again what if anything
would you do differently?
Force: I would
spend more time with my kids. I spent too much
time away from them when I was just getting
started and I do regret that...I'd spend more
time with my kids.
DRO: Who is your best friend in drag racing?
Force: I got a lot of friends in this sport but there are three guys that I consider to be my best friends. Now, I'm going to give you three names but that doesn't mean I like the first one better than the next two; I just consider all three of these guys to be my best friend. My crew chief Austin Coil, my PR guy Dave Densmore and my pal Bob Fisher. Fisher used to work for me but now he's got the NitroFish deal going. By the way, I just want to say something about all those other people who've copied Fisher's deal. They're just bottom feeders. The NitroFish is the original and real deal.
DRO: If you weren't drag racing what would you
like to be doing and why?
Force: I either
want to be the world's greatest quarterback
or president of the Teamster's union.
DRO: Is it true you have pictures of Bob Fisher
abusing farm animals?
Force: Yes, I
DRO: Is it true that you and Densmore belong to
the hair club for men?
Force: No! (at
this point Force made this reporter pull on
his luxurious mop of slightly graying hair to
prove his point. Densmore declined to comment.