Hanging With The NASCAR Crew

July 5th, 2011

By John Force

I got to spend the day in Charlotte at the end of March, and I had a great time in NASCAR country. I was out there helping Bruton Smith’s people promote the 2nd annual Visitmyrtlebeach.com Four Wide NHRA Nationals happening at zMax Dragway April 14-17. I was also talking up my sponsors, Castrol, Auto Club, Mac Tools, BrandSource and Ford Racing.

I did a ton of interviews and I had Nate Ryan from USA Today traveling around with me all day. That was a lot of fun, getting to tell stories and spread the gospel about NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing. At the end of the day Nate’s notebook was full, and I think I gave my PR guy Elon Werner a heart attack. I kept asking him all day if I was making him nervous with my stories. I never lie, but I might embellish every now and then.

The highlight of the day was a race the zMax Dragway people put together between me and three NASCAR guys from Roush Racing. We are all Ford guys, so it was me, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. Those guys were great. We were racing stick shift factory Mustangs and that screwed me up a little. The cars were great, but I got excited and power-shifted my Mustang–it got me messed up.

They ran the race elimination style, so in the first round David Ragan got eliminated and in the second round I just barely got whipped. The final was Biffle against Kenseth. I thought Kenseth won, but it turns out Biffle got to the finish line first.

Afterwards we had a trophy presentation and talked with the media some more about the differences and similarities between drag racing and NASCAR. For me racing is racing. I want to win and I just love to drive. On Tuesday morning I raced a radio station DJ down a hallway on office chairs. I didn’t even think twice about it. They asked me if I wanted to race and I said sure.

I could talk about drag racing all day, and I did in Charlotte. I took the gospel into NASCAR country, and I even did a radio show where they’d been talking about college basketball just before I arrived. I launched right into my storytelling and tried to get those basketball guys interested in coming out to zMax Dragway.

On the real race track we have started the season strong, even though my new President Robert Hight has beaten me the past two races. Robert won the Winternationals, and then Mike Neff drove to the winner’s circle at the Gatornationals. That was a big win for us, for Mike and for Castrol GTX. I don’t know if I have ever seen Neff that excited. He told me and the media that winning the Gatornationals was better than his first win at the end of 2009.

I am going to get back on track, don’t worry about me. My hot rod is going to start thundering. I put Ashley’s name on the side bigger than mine because this is really her Mustang and I am just driving it with her crew chiefs, Dean “Guido” Antonelli and Rob Douglas. Guido learned from Austin Coil, one of the best crew chiefs ever, and Ron has a lot of experience, as well. They work great together and their crew guys are always doing everything right.

The season has started, we are winning races, and I am spreading the gospel. I am getting my John Force Racing Road Show up and running. Keep your eyes open for dates when the Road Show might be in your town.

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