Eurodragster.com: You've hinted at it already but how do
you see the future for the Force dynasty? It seems that Ashley
has her career path pretty well mapped out, but how do you
see that continuing?
John Force: It's only starting
because big money's coming into the sport. I do sixteen, seventeen
million a year, but that's three teams and now my Super Comp
teams, two dragsters. That'd only buy you one real, slightly
good car in NASCAR, but in our deal that's why as much as
Schumacher aggravates the hell outta me I have total respect
for his way of doing business. It's to beat and fight, my
way is to love. There's two ways to get to the winners' circle:
you can beat 'em to the winners' circle or you can love 'em
to the winners' circle. But in that love it's tough love.
It's kinda like, my dad told me once when my daughter ran
out in the driveway and I called out "Come here honey",
my dad said "Did you ever consider spanking her or disciplining
her?". I said "Why?". He said "Because
you'll kill her with kindness. And if you don't teach her
that she can't run out in the street, she's gonne be dead
some day". So I run a team with that, that you punish
but you love. Schumacher...maybe "punish" is the
wrong word. He drives them in certain directions. He doesn't
care if they like him, that's the impression I got. 'Cos it
sounds like too many don't like him but he gets the job done.
And I have respect for that. So I try to find the balance.
I believe he likes them but I just think that's his personality.
You know what I mean? So I have respect...I'm talking about
the old man, Don. But there's two different ways and I do
it my way but I think that doors can open.
NASCAR, about fifteen years ago...I remember the day when
drag racing was bigger than NASCAR. We were everywhere in
the early days. But boy, they leapfrogged ten years ago. It
went crazy. And I think we're gonna get our share back. I
really do, and I believe that NASCAR has grown to that point,
that it's such a machine. Our door's open to corporate America,
they can come down here and they can buy a team and they can
be in the top of the game. Our market is huge - it's not a
NASCAR market but let's look at it in fifteen years. And that's
why I'm looking at international: there's a whole new world
out there untapped.
I'm sitting there one day trying to figure it out. Why can
Formula One come over here and their drivers are...the media's
hard to get to them, but I'd die for an interview. I'll go
anywhere for an interview. And yet their world is so huge
and the kind of money that they make because they're international.
They go to each market in America, wherever they go around
the world, that one market is as big...it's like our whole
market in the USA today. But it's so big that you say "Don't
they have a fear of insulting somebody?". I don't think
they have a fear, because their demand is so huge. I mean
I was with Montoya. I'll be real careful what I say. But I
was with him in Indy, and I was totally shocked by the way
they work. And it's like, I don't mean rude, but "Here's
the timeframe", and it's very short, "Get me now
or I'm gone". And I'm like, "Are you shitting me?
I'll stay here all day for this kind of attention". And
yet I realise that his media people moved him fast. And Castrol
said to me "Understand, that's how it works". And
I start saying "What would make it any different from
us?". And I realised, international market. And that's
where I'm going.
If I can move drag racing into a market like London, or I
could go to Japan some day, or I can go to Africa, New Zealand
or Australia. You know, what have I got to prove in the States?
I'm gonna prove that I can build a team, a dynasty, that'll
be bigger than mine, with young stars that have the financial
backing, that don't have to wait 'til they're old like me
to make it. It took me thirty years to make it. And as I build
that programme in the States, I'm gonna build my dynasty worldwide.
That's my thinking. And I'm starting right here in London.
I'm gonna let 'em know my personality, and then I will go
back to Australia, I will go to Japan, I will go to all these
places. And I never thought that way five years ago. I will
get my machine running again, and I started the next generation
a year ago. I'm building me five...actually I'm building me
five drivers: Eric, who's my lead driver, Robert - who's not
too shabby, Rookie of the Year - Ashley, Brittany and Courtney.
When I step out I'm building me five teams. And I think the
girls will wanna do it because I told them "It's not
just about drag racing, this can involve you into so many
places. You talk about Hollywood, well let's talk about London,
let's talk about the places you can go where you'll be a star
overnight". I never realised when I went to Australia
in 1975 how big I was. And I was a total nobody! But they
thought I was a megastar. I showed up wearing a cowboy hat
and I said "What do I wear?". I wore cowboy boots
and I've worn them ever since. I've never been on a horse.
And you can become a star by just leaving the States. But
you better bring that racecar with you, and you better go
three hundred miles an hour, 'cos then you're a star. And
that's the key.
So I told my youngest girls "It ain't about being a
drag racer, it's about the notoriety, the fame that you get
because you do what nobody can do and you're a female. And
that girl over there (Susanne), I can bring her to the States
and I can put her in one of my cars, and I might pitch that
pitch. A girl who looks like that would be a big star. Because
she's international. Just the words "She's from London".
John Force is from the United States and they love me in Australia.
In 75 when I went back to the States that's what gave me the
money to race: Australia, a foreign market, made me a star.
That leapfrogged me right in. You know the Prudhommes and
Bernsteins had been over there, Garlits, they'd been racing
for fifteen years ahead of me. Garlits probably twenty five.
But I came back from Australia and I was a star. And I never
got it. I don't think I got it 'til I walked off the plane
in London. I think I figured it out, that that's what does
it. Because you people pick it up, and all of a sudden we're
global. And I got the biggest company BP Castrol, they're
global. And let's face it, we all get retired. That's why
I'm bringing these kids behind me, so they can't retire me.
In five or six years I ain't gonna be so cute!
Quick answers now, I'm sorry!
Eurodragster.com: It's not a problem at all...
John Force: But remember,
I'm not going global, I'm taking NHRA with me. I built myself
to a point, people know who I am in the NHRA market. And I'm
seeing a whole new life ahead of me. See, my old deal is...I'm
turning into, at my age, if you took away my racing, I ain't
got nowhere to go. It scares me to think about it. And this
racecar makes me young. I walk into any bar with that jacket
on, and I'm a star right there buddy. And they don't care
if I'm a hundred years old, and that racecar can keep me young
for ever. And that's the key: that I gotta stick around longer
to give these kids a chance. 'Cos you can take the money away
from them, they'll sink. And do they know how to find money?
No. I do, I know where to look. 'Cos I spent thirty years
looking in the wrong place.
I would become Marlon Brando. They would move me to an island,
and I'd weigh four hundred pounds, if you took me out of my