NHRA: Courtney Force retires from drag racing

Funny Car driver Courtney Force announced that she will retire from NHRA competition but that she will remain involved in the sport.

The winningest female Funny Car driver in NHRA history announced that she will retire from competition on Thursday.

Courtney Force, the youngest daughter of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force and wife of IndyCar driver Graham Rahal, stated that she would be leaving driver’s seat of her Advanced Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS to pursue other interests and to spend more time with her family.

Here is what Force had to say about the matter, according to John Force Racing.

“I will be stepping away from my driving duties, effective immediately. This was a personal choice as I feel I’m ready to see what the next chapter in my life has in store for me, while spending more time with family.

“I intend to remain involved in the industry I love and continue to work with a few select partners as I go forward in 2019. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to have such a successful career at John Force Racing and the privilege of working with so many incredible people while racing against competitors who pushed me to be a better driver.”

Force had 12 victories in 167 starts in her Funny Car career, with her first victory coming in the 2012 Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle, Washington. She was runner-up 17 times, and she reached the semifinals 29 times. She had a 13-16 record against her father.

Force was the #1 qualifier 28 times in her career, including 11 times in 2018, which was two shy of the single-season record of 13 set by her father in 1996. Her career-high elapsed time is 3.815 seconds and she has a career-high speed of 338.85 miles per hour. She also finished in the top 10 in the points standings in six of her seven seasons of competition.

In her statement, Force thanked her father, husband and sponsors for their support of her career throughout the years.

“I first have to thank my dad for encouraging me to live out my dream of being a Funny Car driver while getting to compete against him and learn from the best. I want to thank my family and my husband, Graham, for their support through the highs and lows and to my team for their undeniable will to win and for always keeping me motivated, confident and safe in my race car.

“Thank you to all of my sponsors from the start of my career with Traxxas and Ford to now with Advance Auto Parts, Chevrolet, Auto Club, PEAK, Monster, PPG and Mac Tools. I’m grateful for all of your support both on and off the track and the opportunity I had to represent your brands with pride.”

For those who cheered her on as she competed in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for the last seven seasons, Force closed her statement with the following.

“To my fans: thank you for all of your support throughout my career. I’m excited to see where this next chapter will take me and I hope to see you all at the track soon.”

Courtney is not the only daughter of John Force to compete in the NHRA. Her older sister, Ashley, competed in Funny Car from 2007 and her older sister Brittany competes in Top Fuel, where she won the 2017 championship driving for John Force Racing.

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The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is scheduled to begin in Pomona, California with the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals from Thursday, February 7 through Sunday, February 10.

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