MOST Intriguing PEOPLE: LAURIE FORCE by ProQuest


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.

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									                                                        LAURIE FORCE
                                               The wife of the 14-time champion has
                                              stood by her man, through thick and thin

      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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