|John Force Interview
MuscularMustangs.Com: Give us a brief summary of how you became interested in automobiles and drag racing.
John Force: My dad taught me about cars when I was a kid. I love speed and team work.
MM.Com: You have now won 13 Championships. We all know you didn't start there. What choices and decisions did you make that helped you climb to the top of the drag racing world? Also, what did you do before becoming the most well known driver in modern drag racing?
JF: 1. Dedication 2. Hiring Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly 3. Castrol and Ford coming on as sponsors.
MM.Com: Where was your first NHRA Funny Car win and when was it?
JF: My first win was in Montreal Canada in 1987.
MM.Com: How did it feel the first time you won a professional race of that caliber?
JF: It took a great load off my shoulders to know that after all these years of hard work and staying at it we were finally able to win.
MM.Com: Give us your best description of what it feels like to blast down the quarter mile in under five seconds?
JF: The launch is 4 G's so it pulls really hard. It's like the space shuttle!
MM.Com: Where did you meet Austin Coil and when did he become your crew chief?
JF: I met Austin at the racetrack in the late ‘80's.
MM.Com: We all realize Austin is a great crew chief, but in your perspective, how amazing is the guy?
JF: We call him the Wizard with 16 championships.
MM.Com: How well did you get along with Tony Pedregon and Gary Densham when they were heading the Castrol Syntec and AAA Mustangs? We've heard little things here and there about Tony being not all THAT fan-friendly. Is that true at all?
JF: Not at all. Tony was a very private person but he took care of the fans. Densham was like me. We are all still good friends.
MM.Com: How well do you get along with your new teammates: Robert Hight and Eric Medlen?
JF: Couldn't be better. We're truly family.
MM.Com: Can you see either of those "Next Generation" drivers becoming someone of your status in the future?
JF: Without a doubt. They are both very talented and driven.
MM.Com: How much does it cost you to run your car each weekend?
JF: About $8,000 a run. 8 runs if you win. Totals out to $64,000 a weekend plus testing on non-race days where we run another 3 to 4 runs.
MM.Com: How much does ford actually put into your 3-car Mustang Funny Car team?
JF: Financial backing is great but just as important is the technology.
MM.Com: Something many of us want to know is how your old racing suit would get so dirty.
JF: I worked harder and ran more rounds. Clutch dust, exhaust, tires, and smoke cause the dirt.
MM.Com: Since you were chasing your dreams of becoming the top guy in drag racing for all that time, we have heard several stories about how you missed out on lots of Ashley's child life. Do you regret your choices?
JF: Yes but now they all race with me so I get them back!
MM.Com: Through all the years, what was the scariest experience you have ever been through in drag racing?
JF: My Memphis fire. At 300 mph I hit the wall. I saw Elvis at 1,000 feet
MM.Com: Who would you consider the toughest competitor in Funny Car?
JF: My teammates first; Eric Medlen and Robert Hight. Gary Scelzi, Ron Capps.
MM.Com: Are you close friends with any of your competition?
JF: We all get along well but really only see each other at the track and over the phone some.
MM.Com: There has been a fairly large amount of other drivers who "insult" you to some degree or promise to take you out, especially on the Schumacher team. How do you take that? Do you think its mind-games, jealousy, or something else?
JF: Who cares, it doesn't work. I play by my rules anyway!
MM.Com: I remember a while back when you confronted Lee Beard, Bazemore's former crew chief. I even remember cheering you on during the process! What has happened between the two of you since then?
JF: Nothing. He was showing lack of consideration for safety. It made me mad.
MM.Com: It looked as if you had this all won earlier in the season. Both you and Ashley have dropped back a couple points. Can you make a comeback?
JF: Yes. The nitro rule change hurt Ashley but she's still doing well and so are we after Dallas.
MM.Com: Moving away from drag racing for a while and onto slightly more personal things; do you think the fans give you a hard time when you go out in public?
JF: 3 times in 30 years isn't bad. I know what they want and that's my job.
MM.Com: Do you watch any other form of racing (Formula 1, NASCAR, Indy Car, etc.)?
JF: NASCAR/Roush and Jarrett - I'm a big fan. I don't watch much of anything else because there's just not time.
MM.Com: Now some questions Mustang enthusiasts REALLY want to hear the answer to. On a scale of 1-10, how big of a Mustang fan/fanatic would you consider yourself?
JF: 8. I'm not a fanatic I just love the car.
MM.Com: What do you think of the new Mustang design? Also, in all of Mustang history, which model is your favorite?
JF: Excellent. [Past and present] stock automatic convertible.
MM.Com: Have you or do you currently own a Mustang for the street?
MM.Com: Are you truly a Ford guy or do you lean more towards GM and/or Chrysler?
JF: I am a small car collector. Chrysler doesn't interest me. Viper only because the motor's 10 cylinders. Corvettes are cool, like Mustangs.
MM.Com: Looking back on your career again; who do you think contributed the most to your drag racing career?
JF: My wife for putting up with it in the early days. Back then we starved to race. And Austin Coil.
MM.Com: What would you consider your biggest accomplishment in drag racing?
JF: Winning 10 straight championships in a row.
MM.Com: Looking forward on your career now; where are your two younger daughters going with their drag racing careers?
JF: My daughters Brittany and Courtney are in Super Comp, and only time tell what the future holds. I'm just giving them the chance.
MM.Com: What is happening with the new body style? Is it killed or is that still in the making?
JF: Finally approved. Don Davis and our team along with technology and people got it done.
MM.Com: One last question about your career. How long before you retire?
JF: I'm under contract till 2012. This job is not about age… it's a 4 second job!
MM.Com: Any "thank you's" or leftover comments you'd like to add?
JF: I've been lucky and met the right people along the way. My teammates Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly and by sponsors Castrol, Ford, Mac, and AAA. Like Vince Lombardi said "Camaraderie equals winning. And we have it.