VIEWS: 32 PAGES: 7 CATEGORY: Engineering & Energy POSTED ON: 6/22/2010
If he had any doubts to that point, that just sealed it for him.\n I knew he wouldn't let that happen. Since his accident, he's not had a beer, and he's very committed to his health. [...] I was thankful when I had Courtney and only girls so that one of my kids wouldn't be racing; now, I've had to eat those words.
LAURIE FORCE The wife of the 14-time champion has stood by her man, through thick and thin A lot of racers like to keep their family lives separate from their racing marriage, is married to his world champion driver, Robert Hight. To many, careers, but that’s hardly been the case for John Force, the sport’s all- though, the most interesting member of the family may well be Force’s wife, time winningest driver. The personal life of the father of four has been Laurie, who, after playing a vital role in the early years of his career, kept talked about for decades — mostly by him as he toured the country making a the home front going while John was out barnstorming the country and name for himself while lamenting being away from home — and was even the making a name for himself. It’s an interesting love story, a long and twisting subject of a popular television reality show, Driving Force, on A&E a few tale of heartache and dedication, turmoil and rebirth, and the unexpected years ago, on which his sometimes-dysfunctional realities were shown to all. rekindling of a relationship in the wake of his nearly career-ending accident The family is reunited now at the track, where daughter Ashley Force in Dallas in 2007. Laurie blushes off suggestions that she’s the strong Hood races with her dad in Funny Car, daughters Brittany and Courtney woman behind the strong man, but it’s clear that, in many ways, he wouldn’t compete in Top Alcohol Dragster, and eldest daughter Adria, from his first be who he is without her. How did you and John first get together, Company from before I was born until he bizarre and wild. He told me that he always and what were those early years like? retired. When they first got married, my thought he’d want to have a Funny Car one day. We met in 1972 — he was a truck driver then, parents had that car with the door roped on and It all seemed so exciting, but I didn’t know like he says — and when mutual friends of ours six kids, but as he moved up the ladder in the how good he’d be or how it would work … and got married, he was the best man, and I was company, we ending up living in Hacienda at the start, actually, it didn’t work very well. I maid of honor. He was just so crazy and funny. Heights [Calif.] in a nice house. remember the first race he took me to when he He was full-on, just like he is now. He was very was racing, his car caught on fire. I think it was unpredictable and unlike anyone I’d ever met. How did you get your introduction to drag his Monza. He had a St. Christopher that I had He was so different that he was in a league of racing with John? given him, and it even melted off. To this day, his own, and that’s what was intriguing about On another one of our first dates, we were on he still wears a St. Christopher. him. his motorcycle, and he asked me if I liked to go to the races. I rambled on about how my dad Obviously, he struggled for a long time What did your parents think about this used to take my family to the races and we’d before he became successful. Were you character from the wrong side of the bet on the horses, and he turned around and encouraging him or thinking he was in the tracks? looked at me like I was from another planet wrong line of work? On one of our first dates, John showed up on because that wasn’t at all what he was talking He didn’t get much encouragement from his motorcycle, and I purposely did not bring about. anyone — family, friends, anyone. A few times, him into the house because I knew my mom I knew nothing about drag racing, so he I even suggested that he should quit. He had didn’t approve of motorcycles and wouldn’t took me to Orange County [Int’l Raceway], and more reasons to quit than he ever did to pursue, want me going out on one. Unfortunately, she it looked pretty exciting. I think it was the Fox but I figured he knew what he was doing, and died a few months later, but my dad has always Hunt [race], and there were bands playing, and certainly there was no talking him out of it. I thought John was quite a character. at the end of the race, everyone ran out onto the think a lot of the savvy he has now comes from My dad worked, ironically, at Ford Motor track. There were streakers. It was pretty going through the process. It was
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