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John Force Racing - Team

 
 
     
 
Courtney Force
Driver

DATE OF BIRTH: June 20, 1988
HOMETOWN: Yorba Linda, Calif.
CAREER WINS: 2 FC: 1 TAD: 1
CAREER FINAL ROUNDS: 5 FC: 3 TAD: 2
CAREER BEST E.T.: 4.028
CAREER BEST SPEED: 319.60

Courtney Force, 25, has emerged as one of the most exciting young stars in the Mello Yello Series as the driver of the Traxxas Ford Mustang. 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.

The third-year professional driver approached the 2014 season a true championship contender after two strong top ten finishes in 2012 and 2013. Since her Funny Car debut, Courtney has qualified for every national event, started from the front of the Funny Car field three times, taken her Traxxas Ford Mustang to five final rounds and claimed three Funny Car victories (O’Reilly Northwest Nationals at Seattle, Wash., the Auto-Plus New England Nationals at Epping, N.H., and the 2013 Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.).

“It's strange to think I'm already in my third professional year in the Funny Car category. I’m constantly learning new things and I'm eager to see what we can accomplish in 2014. Each year I set standards for myself a little higher and this year our team has our eyes set on that Championship.”

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 is also in her third year representing Ford Driving Skills for Life as the program’s spokesperson.

Having the ability to drive a 10,000 hp Mustang 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 three year career.

The 25-year-old 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 dragsters. 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 Ron Douglas and Dan Hood, she has covered the 1,000 foot course in an official 4.016 seconds at 319.98 miles per hour.

Courtney sped into the spotlight after being named “Top Agent” in the Fiesta Movement, a 2010 Ford marketing program in which 100 “agents” drove Ford Fiestas and then shared their experiences on various national social media platforms.

“I grew up watching my dad race and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I went to Cal State-Fullerton and I got a degree similar to Ashley’s. She has a degree in Radio and Television; mine is in Communications. When Ashley got her start in Funny Car I couldn't wait to join my family in the funny car ranks. I knew from the time I was a little kid I wanted to be a race car driver.

 

 
Ron Douglas
Crew Chief

Birthdate: 03/26/1970
Hometown: Highland, IL
Current Residence: Brownsburg, IN
Year hired at John Force Racing:
Which Team (s): Courtney Force

Background (education/work/racing experience): First job in motor sports was at Skuza Motorsports

Team Responsibilities: Crew Chief

Hobbies/Interests: sports

Ron Douglas, who helped direct Ashley Force Hood to second and third place finishes and back-to-back Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Funny Car titles in her two most recent seasons in the NHRA’s Full Throttle Series, will try to work the same magic this year with her sister Courtney.

Douglas will serve as lead crew chief on the Traxxas Ford in which 23-year-old Courtney Force, the youngest of John Force’s four daughters, will vie for the Auto Club’s Road to the Future Award which designates the NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Sharing tune-up responsibilities with Douglas will be veteran Scott Wible and a crew consisting of Kyle Darr, Steve Easton, Mark Freidenfelt, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kullberg, Robert Proctor and Brad Robinson.

With 19 years of experience working with some of the most productive teams and well-known drivers in drag racing, nine as crew chief, Douglas brings a wealth of knowledge to his new role including victories with three different drivers in two different nitro categories.

Douglas, who had worked at Don Schumacher Racing, Doug Herbert Racing and for two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon, provided additional crew chief experience that supported battery-mate Dean “Guido” Antonelli when the two hooked up to combine to make Force Hood a legitimate title contender.

“The preparation of the car is our No. 1 priority,” Douglas said. “We want to make sure the product is right before we ever take it to the starting line. We make sure the car is prepared properly and safely – that’s priority one. Then we’ll decide how we want to attack the racetrack.”

It’s a philosophy that fits solidly with Force’s vision for his daughter’s program.

Douglas began his career at Dean Skuza Motorsports in 1993 season. It was the perfect starting point because, as a smaller Funny Car operation, it gave Douglas the chance to do a little bit of everything.

“We only had three crew guys,” he said. “I mostly maintained the cylinder heads and top end of the engine, but we all had to drive the truck, learn how to work on the body and build the engines.”

It was on-the-job training and it provided a perfect foundation for Douglas, who worked briefly on Randy Anderson’s Funny Car before being hired as a crewman on Schumacher Racing’s Exide-backed Top Fuel dragster (driven by six-time NHRA champion Tony Schumacher).

“We started with nothing,” Douglas said. “We had a bare shop floor and in just a matter of weeks, we got a truck and trailer and built the whole operation.”

His work at Schumacher’s caught the eye of former World Champion Dick LaHaie, who hired him at Doug Herbert Racing. Working with LaHaie for six seasons as assistant crew chief proved fortuitous insomuch as he was named crew chief when LaHaie announced his retirement.

Nevertheless, having invested 10 years in the sport, Douglas felt like if he wanted to continue to advance, it would be advantageous to move to Indianapolis, which was becoming home to more and more pro teams.

As a result, he relocated to Indy and went to work as crew chief for Pedregon, whom he guided to a SummitRacing.com Nationals victory at Las Vegas in 2006. It would be his last stop before landing at JFR where he teamed with Dean “Guido” Antonelli and they won four times with Force Hood, helping make her the first woman ever to win an NHRA Funny Car race.


 
Daniel Hood
Assistant 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

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


 
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
Which Team (s): Courtney Force

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
Which Team (s): Courtney Force

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
Which Team (s): Courtney Force

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
Which Team (s): Courtney Force

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 Coffey

Nickname (If any): B
Birthdate: 06/16/1992
Hometown: Ellettsville, IN
Current Residence: Ellettsville, IN
Year hired at John Force Racing: 2012
Which Team (s): Courtney Force


How did you get involved in drag racing: School

Background (education/work/racing experience): He attended the University of Northwestern Ohio. During college, he worked for various sprint car teams. He was also the 2009 Mini Sprint track champion.

Team Responsibilities: Body and Tires

Favorite part about being involved with drag racing/working at JFR: being around race cars all the time

Hobbies/Interests: racing, hunting, fishing


 
Matt Madden

Birthdate: 01/14/1985
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Current Residence: Brownsburg, IN
Year hired at John Force Racing: 2008
Which Team (s): Courtney Force

How did you get involved in drag racing: While he was in school, he decided that it was his career of choice because he was familiar with the motors and wanted to travel.

Background (education/work/racing experience): He graduated from the University of Northwestern Ohio with a degree in High Performance Technology. In 2006, he worked with Walsh Bros Motorsports in the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League. In 2007, he went to work at Worsham Racing building cylinder heads.

Team Responsibilities: D Team transporter driver; clutch

Favorite part about being involved with drag racing/working at JFR: the people he works with and the traveling

Career Highlights: winning first national event in Houston 2008; 1st #1 qualifier in Reading 2007; winning back to back Mac Tools US Nationals with Ashley; getting John the career #1 qualifier record

Favorite Track/Race: Bristol and Gainesville

Hobbies/Interests: anything with wheels or an engine; fishing; his boxer puppy, Blazer


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