By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
John Force Racing has announced that the team will “live to fight another day,” according to their press release verbiage. The team has not competed since February.
And they will not compete once again until February 2021 at the earliest. The NHRA has been competing without their major personality and his team.
There has been speculation that his sponsors withdrew funding, which caused the shutdown. When the NHRA raced the last two events, John Force Racing was silent.
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“When I first got into racing, I always had a love for cars, I loved the camaraderie of the team, I loved the competition, “ Force said, who is the Owner and CEO of John Force Racing. “As I evolved, I realized what it took to become a winner. It took money and that’s when I started chasing corporate America. I had no personal wealth, I had to find sponsors to get me the crew chiefs I needed to win. As the winning happened, I found a new love. The fans. The fans are what kept me motivated and made me never ever think anything would come to an end. Even in the hardest of times, I call them crossroads, I got through it with the help of the fans and my sponsors. I went from a one car team to a multi-car team, to having machine shops, chassis shops and paint shops and the technology to win.”
Things changed in March. The professional teams arrived in Gainesville, Florida to compete for the historic Gatornationals win.
However, the day before they were scheduled to compete, the race was canceled. The NHRA was shut down for months.
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“Suddenly, the virus hit, and it changed the world,” Force said. “Robert Hight, President of the company, and I got back from Gainesville and we started working on a plan, we had to reset John Force Racing. Everyone was having to adapt. We had to make cuts everywhere. We ran numbers over and over. In our contracts with sponsors we have guarantees. They get social media, certain number of races, certain number of race days, activation at races and other commitments. No matter how I looked at it I couldn’t deliver on those commitments. It just wasn’t fair to them.
“The impact of not being able to deliver on these commitments makes sitting out the rest of the 2020 season the right thing to do. No matter how I looked at it, no matter how much I personally invested, I couldn’t make it.”
The living legend Force is not going to gamble his own money to go racing. Now, for the rest of the season, Force, Hight, Brittany Force, and Austin Prock will not compete in any national events — even if they happen at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, a short distance from their track.
“At that point, I made the decision to ‘live to fight another day.’” Force said. “We can’t fight now, we can’t race right now, but with what I have, with the help of my sponsors and my own personal money, I can maintain. I have to protect my family, my employees, my teams and my sponsors. What I built was a team that could win. All I have to do is get to next year. It will look different, but I have all my department leads and my sponsors, Auto Club, Chevrolet, PEAK, Monster, Frank Tiegs owner of Flav-R-Pac and Montana Brand, Cornwell Tools, Parker Store, Baldwin Filters, they’re all supportive.”
While his team will be sidelined for now, Force believes there will be a brighter future at the track with his team.
“What I’m saying is that I’m going to prepare to come back next year stronger than ever,” Force said. “Watching all the people that went racing, NHRA, the track, Safety Safari, TV, the media, all the winners, all the teams, thank you for racing and keeping the sport alive. I am really heartbroken I’m not out there. If I had stayed and raced, I couldn’t come back. If I step back now, I can. I want to be with all of you again and I want to be competitive. We will continue to support all our sponsors, doing their promotions as planned and stay relevant on social media for the fans; we are going to continue to build race cars, as we always have, build engines, mount bodies, parts and do everything we can because we are open for business in Indy and California.”
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