NHRA to NASCAR, Racin’ is Racin’!

June 7th, 2011

By John Force

At the beginning on March, Robert Hight and I introduced my daughter Courtney to a whole new world of horsepower. She got her first experience with NASCAR at the Nationwide and Sprint Cup events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

She was thrilled to meet so many NASCAR drivers. She was aware that most of them knew Robert and me, but everyone was thrilled to meet her. Our group toured the Nationwide and Sprint Cup garages and watched a little from the top of the Wood Brothers’ trailer.

We signed autographs in the Neon Garage fan zone where we were joined by NASCAR legend Harry Gant. My Castrol GTX Ford Mustang was on display in the fan area and hundreds of racing enthusiasts stopped to take a photo beside my 8,000-hp hot rod. In addition to the autograph-signing event, we did a number of interviews for radio and TV, including an in-race interview during the Nationwide race during the ABC broadcast.

On Sunday, I decided it would be good idea if we signed autographs at the John Force Racing sponsor trailer, which was positioned by the main entrance to the race track. The sponsor trailer, which is usually at NHRA national events, served as a placeholder for the upcoming John Force Racing Road Show. I’ll tell you more about the Road Show in a minute. Las Vegas Motor Speedway General Manager Chris Blair wanted us to generate additional interest in their upcoming Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals by having team Force talk up the event and showcase the NHRA.

All of us participated in the Sprint Cup pre-race ceremonies, we spent time with NASCAR legend Richard Petty, and we walked pit road before the start of the Sprint Cup race. I even got to meet Paris Hilton. Courtney also spent time in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway media center talking about her recent testing experiences, as well as her future behind the wheel of the BrandSource Ford Mustang Funny Car.

Now, let me tell you more about that Road Show. When the John Force Racing Road Show was announced in January during our season kick-off press conference at the John Force Racing Yorba Linda Headquarters, the idea received positive feedback. Even though the finished product is not ready for primetime my PT Barnum idea made its initial debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Let me tell you, thousands of fans were thrilled to be introduced to the excitement of NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing and Team Force.

This all started when Chris Blair came to me during the NHRA Winternationals and asked me to help spread the gospel of NHRA at his NASCAR races this weekend. I told him we were still building trailers, but he was insistent. Blair asked me to bring what we had and we would make it work. Well, after seeing the response, I think we are on to something. The NASCAR folks wanted to see what NHRA racing was all about.

We sent our usual NHRA sponsor midway trailer along with three of my Ford Mustang show cars. The show cars represented Courtney’s BrandSource Mustang, Robert’s Auto Club Ford Mustang and my Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. The promotional designs for the eventual JFR Road Show trailers were also on display, as were our sponsor kiosks and multiple video monitors showing NHRA racing highlights, sponsor commercials and John Force Entertainment-produced videos.

When the Road Show trailers are finished we’ll have a whole new look. That first weekend in Las Vegas was about helping out Chris Blair, Bruton Smith and spreading the gospel. We learned a lot and we just needed to get our feet wet. The fans were great and we had a lot of traffic every day. The big day was Sunday, of course, and my guys working the booth said we could have stayed open even longer, but we had to get on the road to Gainesville, and I had to get into the media center for more interviews.

A lot of people are going to help with the Road Show; this isn’t just me going out on my own. The NHRA is behind us and I am talking with my sponsors. This is a whole new audience for us, and we want to make a good first impression. I love talking about NHRA and my hot rods. Every sport has room to grow, and I want to help be a part of continuing to grow the NHRA and the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. My goal is to spread the gospel and make sure my kids and all of the young NHRA racers have a place to race for a long, long time.

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