The Driving Range

Dani Ben-Ari

Legendary funny car champion John Force now finds himself in the unique position of battling his daughter Courtney for the NHRA championship. While John, who has won the honor 16 times so far remains 30 points ahead of Courtney, standings of the NHRA’s premier Mello Yello Series there are still 3 events left to run before the season finale Nov. 13-16 in Pomona, and she could still turn it around to claim her first NHRA championship. This is the first time in time in funny car history that a father and daughter are 1st and 2nd second in the point standings. Both race for John Force’s Yorba Linda, California-based team.

Courtney Force, 26, became the first woman to win back-to-back funny car races on Sunday when she defeated former Champ Matt Hagan in the NHRA Midwest Nationals at St. Louis this past Sunday. The victory also made her the first female driver to garner 4 funny car wins in one season.

She now has 7 funny car wins overall (also a record for a woman) in just her second year in the series. “We got things turned around at the right time. Right here at the start of the Countdown to the Championship is when we need to have a consistent race car, and I think that’s what we’ve got so far. To have back-to-back wins and make a move in the Countdown is just huge for us. We need to create a gap between us and everyone behind us and climb our way up to catch dad if we want to win this championship. That’s what we have our eyes set on right now.” John Force, 65, is patriarch of a family racing team, that also includes daughters Brittany (now #10 in points in the Top Fuel Category), Ashley (retired) and son-in-law Robert Hight (husband of another daughter Adria Force), and president of John Force Racing.

Note: The following is a list of Female NHRA event winners:

WINS DRIVER CATEGORY FIRST WIN LAST WIN 41 Angelle Sampey Pro Stock Motorcycle Reading 1996 Houston 2007 18 Shirley Muldowney Top Fuel Columbus 1976 Phoenix 1989 10 Erica Enders-Stevens Pro Stock Chicago 2012 Norwalk 2014 7 Courtney Force Funny Car Seattle 2012 St. Louis 2014 6 Karen Stoffer Pro Stock Motorcycle Houston 2004 Denver 2011 5 Melanie Troxel Top Fuel-Funny Car b Pomona 2006 (TF) Bristol 2008 (FC) 4 Shelly Payne Top Fuel Reading 1993 Seattle 1996 4 Lori Johns Top Fuel Pomona 1990 Memphis 1991 4 Ashley Force Hood Funny Car Atlanta 2008 Indianapolis 2010 3 Alexis DeJoria Funny Car Phoenix 2014 Indianapolis 2014 1 Lucille Lee Top Fuel Atlanta 1982 — 1 Cristen Powell Top Fuel Englishtown 1997 — 1 Peggy Llewellyn Pro Stock Motorcycle Dallas 2007 — 1 Hillary Will Top Fuel Topeka 2008 —