John Force Racing - Team
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Courtney Force
Driver

DATE OF BIRTH: June 20, 1988
HOMETOWN: Yorba Linda, Calif.
FC CAREER WINS: 8 
FC CAREER FINAL ROUNDS: 16
TAD CAREER WINS 1 
TAD CAREER FINAL ROUNDS: 2 
CAREER BEST ET: 3.871 (Topeka 2016)
CAREER BEST SPEED: 331.45 mph (Topeka 2016)

Courtney Force, 27, has proven to be one of the most exciting young stars in the NHRA Mello Yello Series as the driver of the Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. Blessed with her father’s gift for gab, the former high school cheerleader has become one of the most popular interviewees in the series.  Always considered the daughter most likely to join her father in the family business, Courtney hasn’t disappointed. 

After marrying Indy Car driver Graham Rahal in November at the conclusion of her 2015 season, Courtney is now embarking on her fifth season in the seat of her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. To date, she and her Traxxas team have managed three strong Top Ten finishes in 2012 (5th), 2013 (7th) and 2014 (4th). She will celebrate her 100th Funny Car start in Charlotte for Four-Wide this season.

Courtney has qualified for every national event, started from the front of the Funny Car field nine times, taken her Traxxas Camaro SS Funny Car to fourteen final rounds and claimed seven Funny Car victories. Courtney has posted top speed in her Traxxas Funny Car a total of 19 times so far in her career, opening the 2016 season with her most-recent track record speed of 329.34 mph in at the Winternationals in Pomona.

Her win in Sonoma in 2014 made Courtney the winningest female Funny Car driver and she extended that record setting performance with additional wins in Dallas and St. Louis during the Countdown to the Championship. She and her sister Brittany made history at the 2014 NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Kan. when the pair qualified at the top of their respective categories. Courtney then doubled up on the history-making when she picked up the 100th professional win for women on Sunday. 
            
In 2012, Courtney received the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Road to the Future Award as the NHRA Rookie of the Year after finishing fifth in the driver standings, equaling the best ever showing for a Funny Car rookie.

She earned a degree in Communication from Cal State-Fullerton and is now making the most of her opportunity to compete at drag racing’s highest level. Her preparation for a pro career included a six-year apprenticeship in Super Comp and Top Alcohol dragster. She attended Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School, where she was tutored by one of her current rivals, 2012 Funny Car Champion Jack Beckman, followed by private tutoring in sister Ashley Force Hood’s informal “Funny Car 101" class and a full season of testing in a Funny Car.

After turning pro, the graduate of Cal State-Fullerton won a race in her rookie season and two more in her second year including the prestigious NHRA Winternationals at Pomona, Calif.  Racing for crew chiefs Dan Hood and Ronnie Thompson, she has covered the 1,000 foot course in an official 3.995 seconds at 322.65 miles per hour.

Having the ability to drive a 10,000 hp Funny Car capable of zero-to-320 mile per hour acceleration in little more than four seconds won the attention of ESPN The Magazine, who placed Courtney on the cover of ESPN’s The Body Issue along with a piece on fitness and health in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In addition, Courtney has appeared on the cover of Traxxas Magazine, Speed Sport News, National Dragster, Drag Racing Action and Autoweek over her five year career.

 

 


 
Daniel Hood
Co-Crew Chief

Nickname (If any) Danny
Birthdate: 07/08/1981
Hometown: Yorkville, IL
Current Residence: Anaheim Hills, CA
Year hired at John Force Racing: 2007
Which Team (s): Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Funny Car)

How did you get involved in drag racing: his father

Background (education/work/racing experience): He has worked for Gary Bolger Racing, Dale Creasy Jr Racing, Dean Skuza Racing, Frank Pedregon Racing, and Gotham City Racing. He was also a crane mechanic for 4 years erecting tower cranes in Chicago.

Team Responsibilities: Parts Manager; Track Specialist

Favorite part about being involved with drag racing/working at JFR: it's a huge family organization

Career Highlights: winning Indy in 2007 with Mike Ashley; Ashley's First Win!

Favorite Track/Race: Chicago, IL

Hobbies/Interests: spending time with his wife, baby and cats; hockey; hunting


 
Ronnie Thompson
Co-Crew Chief

Top Fuel crew chief Ronnie Thompson’s drag racing career started out on the water but quickly picked up speed on the NHRA tour in the mid-90s. The Pittsboro resident joined John Force Racing in the off-season of 2014 to team up with crew chief Todd Smith running the JFR Top Fuel dragster driven by Brittany Force. For the 2016 season, Thompson joined forces with Danny Hood and became the assistant crew chief on Courtney Force’s Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car.

“The exciting part about coming to a new team is meeting the guys and working with a new team. I enjoy spending time with the team at the track and on the road. I get a lot of enjoyment out of watching the younger guys mature and help them along the way.  You have that camaraderie that you don’t have a lot of other places,” added Thompson when he was asked about joining John Force Racing.

In the beginning Thompson credits his father for passing on some mechanical abilities by using him as his apprentice in his early teens. He also had a next-door neighbor as an early teenager that was involved in drag boat racing. He became a crew member on his blown alcohol hydro boat, and then on his top fuel hydro drag racing boat. In 1994 Dan Olson came out and ran a Top Fuel drag boat and at the same time Thompson’s team was sidelined after a serious accident. Olson was going back to run Bob Vandergriff’s operation and he took Thompson back to Atlanta with him.

Thompson was with Vandergriff from 1995-99 and in 2000 he worked with Jerry Toliver on Jim Eppler’s WWF campaign. In 2001 Thompson moved to Don Schumacher Racing with the Matco team when it first started from 2001-04. Thompson was a fly-in tuner and helped Paul Smith with Jeff Arend’s Funny Car for the first part of the 2005 season.

Later in the season Ed “Ace” McCullough was diagnosed with cancer in Englishtown and he was going to miss the St. Louis race so current JFR crew chief Mike Neff, then a crew chief at DSR, had Thompson come in to run Ron Capps’ Funny Car at St Louis. Thompson stayed on the rest of the season to help the team.

In 2006 Thompson jumped at the opportunity to work on the start-up of Morgan Lucas Racing and was involved with the team along with John Stewart. In 2007 Thompson returned to DSR with McCullough on the NAPA Funny Car from 2007-10. At the end of 2010 with McCullough’s departure from DSR Thompson moved to Al Anabi Racing where he remained until he was hired by John Force Racing in the off-season of 2014.

“I have worked with crew chiefs that I have admired and I have tried to take something from every crew chief I worked with. I loved working with Ace. He is like a father to me. There are a lot of crew chiefs and guys I worked with I feel that way about.  In this job you have to keep your cool, be a good teacher, and understand that drag racing a humbling trial and error sport,” said Thompson when asked about the lessons he has learned over the years.

In his time away from the track, Thompson likes to spend time with his wife, Leslie, and their two young children, Connor and Olivia. He also has his pilot’s license and enjoys flying small aircrafts.


 
Brian Benedict

Nickname (If any): Fire Arms
Birthdate: 08/16/1976
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
Current Residence: Brownsburg, IN
Married: No
Year hired at John Force Racing: 2007
Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Funny Car)

How did you get involved in drag racing: His best friend, Joe Hartley

Background (education/work/racing experience): Worked for Joe Hartley Racing and Mike Troxel Racing prior to coming to John Force Racing

Team Responsibilities: Team Leader

Favorite part about being involved with drag racing/working at JFR: being a part of D-Team

Career Highlights: Winning Atlanta and the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship in 2008; winning the US Nationals back to back with Ashley

Favorite Track/Race: Las Vegas

Hobbies/Interests: being a father; theme parks; going out; traveling; racing


 
Mark Freidenfelt

Birthdate: 07/29/1988
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Current Residence: Brownsburg, IN
Year hired at John Force Racing: 2011
Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Funny Car)

How did you get involved in drag racing: He was at the right place at the right time and realized that is what he would like to do.

Background (education/work/racing experience): Traveled around with his dad’s band “The Fryed Brothers Band” as a sound engineer for several years before he started his career in drag racing. His first job in racing was with Tom Conway on his Torco Top Alcohol Dragster. He was later introduced to Fuel Funny Cars at Brian Thiel Racing.

Team Responsibilities: cylinder heads

Favorite part about being involved with drag racing/working at JFR: being a part of a brand new team and getting to know everyone at JFR

Career Highlights: the opportunity to qualify in Sonoma with Brian Thiel in front of his hometown friends and family

Favorite Track/Race: Sonoma

Hobbies/Interests: riding fast motorcycles, hanging out with my family and friends, building custom Harleys


 
Chris Wigginton

Nickname (If any): Wiggy
Birthdate: 01/07/1989
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Current Residence: Indianapolis, IN
Year hired at John Force Racing: 2012
Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Funny Car)

How did you get involved in drag racing: school

Background (education/work/racing experience): He attended Wyotech after he graduated high school. This is his first job in motor sports.

Team Responsibilities: racks and manifolds

Hobbies/Interests: trucks, fishing, hunting


 

Brandon Hazelton

Birthdate: 05/22/1986
Hometown: Pittsgrove, NJ
Current Residence: Clayton, IN
Year hired at John Force Racing: 2012
Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Funny Car)

How did you get involved in drag racing: His father

Background (education/work/racing experience): He received his associates in applied science from Camden County College before coming to work in the racing industry.

Team Responsibilities: short blocks and bottom end

Favorite part about being involved with drag racing/working at JFR: racing around the country feels like home and working at JFR makes him feel like he is doing it with his family

Career Highlights: winning the 2012 Hardest Working Crew Championship

Favorite Track/Race: Reading

Hobbies/Interests: working on his car, traveling


 
Brandon Heisler

Birthdate: 12/30/1992
Hometown: Aurora, IL
Current Residence: Indianapolis, IN
Year hired at John Force Racing: 2015
Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Funny Car)

How did you get involved in drag racing: He grew up racing Inex Legend cars every weekend

Background (education/work/racing experience): He attended Ohio Technical College and High Performance and Racing Tech.

Team Responsibilities: cylinder heads

Favorite part about being involved with drag racing/working at JFR: getting to travel across the country and working on funny cars

Hobbies/Interests: hockey, fishing, hunting



 
Tim Fabrisi

Birthdate: 02/15/1977
Hometown: Naugatuck, CT
Current Residence: Brownsburg, IN
Year hired at John Force Racing: 2008
Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Funny Car)

How did you get involved in drag racing: He started working on cars when he was 9 years old. He loved the power and acceleration of drag racing, so he got his first job building engines at the age of 15.

Background (education/work/racing experience): ASE Certified Mechanic; Certified Firefighter; former U.S. Marine; worked at Dyno Time Racing Engines for 5 years; C & C Motorsports for 4 years; started racing in 1996 on Alcohol Dragsters while in the Marines then switched to Pro Mods in 2002 and finally in 2008 made another change to Nitro Funny Cars.

Team Responsibilities: superchargers, team leader, welding, fabrication

Favorite part about being involved with drag racing/working at JFR: being involved with new ideas and projects, working side by side with many talented people, research and development, the raw horsepower

Career Highlights: finished 3rd overall in IHRA Funny Car in 2008, won 3 races that year, set multiple E.T. and MPH records in Pro Mod as Crew Chief; winning the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car Championship, winning the US Nationals in 2011

Favorite Track/Race: Bristol

Hobbies/Interests: spending time with his daughter, movies, scuba diving, target shooting, boating, skiing, working on the race car



 
Narciso Bravo

Nickname: Nacho
Birthdate: 3-18-86
Hometown: San Luis R.C., Sonora, Mexico
Current Residence: Brownsburg, IN
Marital Status: Single

Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Funny Car)

High School: Amphitheater High School in Tucson, AZ

College: UTI

Sports: Baseball

People who have had major influence on your life: Rocky Balboa; too many to list

Hobbies/Interest: Bingo

First job in motorsports: Body man on Cruz Pedregon’s car

How did you get involved in drag racing: Volunteering

Career Goals: Be the best!

Racing role models: Cruz and Tony Pedregon

Career highlights: World Champions in Top Fuel 2014 (Tony Schumacher)

Favorite race/track: Gainesville/Gatornationals



 
Ryan Wirth

 


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