By Anthony Caruso III
After seven seasons, Advance Auto Parts Funny Car pilot Courtney Force is stepping out of the driver’s seat. She’s leaving as the winningest female Funny Car pilot.
While she will no longer race, she will continue to work for John Force Racing. And she will continue to maintain off-the-track partnerships.
“I will be stepping away from my driving duties, effective immediately,” she said. “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.”
She is the second Force daughter to leave the sport at a young age. Ashley Force-Hood retired from the sport in 2011 after racing from 2007 through 2010.
Force-Hood, who is married to Danny Hood, who served as one-half of Courtney’s crew chief, started a family after leaving the sport.
According to the John Force Racing press release, she dreamed about being a Funny Car driver at a young age. She wanted to compete against her father, living legend John Force.
She went 13-16 against her father. In addition, she had 12 wins and 17 runner-ups in 167 races.
Force, who is married to IndyCar driver Graham Rahal, also had 28 No. 1 qualifiers in her career. Eleven of those No. 1 qualifiers came this past season.
“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,” Force said. “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 car.
“Thank you to all of my sponsors from the sport 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. Last but not least, 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.”