are seen as the face of American drag racing. Do you ever
feel constrained to speak or behave in a certain way because
of your image?
John Force: I have to be very careful, because I'm misunderstood
by a lot of people, and because you can insult somebody without
realising it. So I'm going to be very careful tonight. When
I watched the funeral for George Best yesterday, I listened
to them talk, and I watched and was interested in how they
honoured this individual, and yet even in their humour - they
were very careful about their humour. I've come here to represent
our sport and NHRA, and I don't want to be taken. I can make
a mistake in the States and say something, everybody will
get over it, but I only get one shot here so I'm going to
be very careful.
was on stage with Nigel Mansell when he came over and won
the AARWBA Titus Award, and I actually lost to him. I went
on stage and did my humour - I tend to swear and cuss sometimes.
He came on stage and his second speech was completely different
and he threw in all the cuss words, but his delivery was terrible.
When he started talking about big-breasted women everybody
was in shock! I delivered it in a different manner because
you know what you can get away with. But we loved it, and
the media loved it, but maybe some people got confused. I
think he was saying "Well, that's how they want to talk"
because a lot of people said "He's talking like you!",
you know what I mean? And I said "Why would he possibly
want to do that?", but they totally loved him, and it
was a different deal, in his accent, trying to use those swear
words...I'll get in trouble with this, don't get me in trouble!
But it was an honour for me just to be there and lose to
him for the accomplishments that he had, and they totally
loved him in the room. And it was hilarious! I was laughing
so hard. It was one of the top nights to hear this individual.
'Cos when he first went on stage he was very low-key, very
quiet, and I went up and did my song and dance, and then he
won the Titus and he went back and boy, he hit 'em, he hit
'em hard! And I'm gonna bring that up to him tonight!
Eurodragster.com: Over in Europe the sport is starting to
become more professional, there's more corporate involvement.
Do you think it's possible to go too far towards corporate
involvement, does it shackle and tie you any?
John Force: It's corporate, but I don't let the corporates
do that to me. I have to be careful at BP with what I say.
No humour with Lord Brown, watch what I say. It's business,
but you do what you do. You in London, you pick 'em. I mean
look at this lady right over here (Susanne Callin - Ed), I
thought it was Charlize Theron, the movie actress, when she
walked out. Women are a big sell in the States as well as
here and my daughter, it's amazing, I struggled for thirty
years to find a sponsor and my daughter - the doors are open.
Everything from the Maybellines to the Nordstroms. That's
why Castrol, they locked her up. They locked her up from now
on, bang! They're not gonna let happen when Earnhardt passed
away, Budweiser got the kid and Goodwrench were left standing.
Castrol was way ahead of the game. The market for the women
is unbelievable. I don't mean to drag out each question, but
this girl here, this lady (Susanne) would be a big hit in
the States as well as here. I'm hoping to get my daughter
back here some day. And myself!
Eurodragster.com: That's probably one of the questions you're
sick of being asked, when people come to the rope at Pomona
and say "Are you ever going to come to race in Europe?"
John Force: They do all
the time. And I would love that. The only problem is our schedule.
Australia is trying to get me back to honour our thirtieth
year. It's a matter when you prepare for the next championship.
We pushed our time off this year from two weeks to three weeks
vacation, actually the last couple of years. Because these
kids go on the road in January, they say goodbye to their
moms and dads and to their wives. And they're in prison. They
go on the road and they come back in late November. They come
back from the Banquet, we give 'em four days to tear the cars
apart, and they're off the road for three weeks and they hit
it again and half of them don't even go home for Christmas
- there's not time. Their wives will fly in to be with them,
and that's why it's hard to make a trip to London, or to Australia,
or wherever. Your season comes in the middle of our season.
In the early days we only had one or two cars - now I own
thirty. We've got cars in the Museum that have run 4.66. You
could pull them out the museum, put them on a race track,
they'd run the National record. We ought to pull some of those
cars out, they run better! But the point is that now it makes
sense because you can send a car without having to take -
you know what I mean? The problem is that the Crew Chiefs
don't know how to run that car because the technology has
changed. So we'd have to prepare a car, and ship it. To put
a car on a boat for six or seven weeks, to take the car we
run at the National events and send it would be impossible
because there's not enough break there. So what we're looking
at doing is, if we're gonna do it, we have to prepare a complete
other team so the team could stay yet Coil and Bernie could
get on a plane with us and go.