INDIANAPOLIS — Courtney Force will be seeing red during the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
John Force Racing announced Friday at the PRI Trade Show that Advance Auto Parts will be the major primary sponsor of Force’s Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car next year.
The multi-year agreement between JFR and Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America, will begin at the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.
“I am thrilled to be driving the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car starting in 2017,” said Force. “Last season, we made some big strides toward our first championship and I am very confident in my team led by my crew chiefs, Dan Hood and Ronnie Thompson, and that next season can be even better. I love the look of this red, yellow and black Camaro and I can’t wait to get it into the winner’s circle.”
Despite father John, who carried the Advance colors on his own Funny Car several times during the 2016 season, saying that this was “about my daughter and her new partner”, his off-the-cuff humor and traditional outspoken nature stole the show as he thanked Advance for coming on board with the team in a bigger capacity.
The fun began with the 16-time champion not wanting to stand at the podium and use the microphone, joking that “my plan’s broken already” after his long-time PR representative Elon Werner told him: “You have to stand there for TV, John.”
“I had a planned speech, and now it’s all gone to s***,” Force said to numerous laughs from a crowd of media representatives, team members and other dignitaries. “This is PRI weekend … where timing is everything, but my timing is all screwed up!”
“In all seriousness, though, we’re putting the band back together at John Force Racing and at my age, 67 years old … I don’t know why in the heck I’m doing what I’m doing, but I’m really excited about where NHRA is going. We are nuts, all of us, but we do it with a passion. I’m alive again! Give me some money and I’ll show you how to win races.”
Amid laughs of his own, Advance Auto Parts Marketing and Sponsorship Manager Matt Davis reiterated three times that “I can’t follow that” after John’s speech.
“I really can’t follow that,” Davis smiled. “But this is an exciting day for our 74,000 team members and our 5,000 stores. It’s really exciting that we’re partnering with John Force Racing and Courtney Force.”
“We are proud to be partnering with Courtney Force and the John Force Racing team for the 2017 season and beyond,” added Advance Auto Parts Chief Marketing Officer Walter Scott in a statement. “After working with John and the team last year through our partnership with Peak, we got to know Courtney and felt she would be a great ambassador for our company. Our team members and customers love NHRA drag racing and we can’t wait to see the Advance Auto Parts Funny Car on the track in 2017.”
Courtney Force dons the Advance Auto Parts colors after five years with Traxxas Radio Control as her primary sponsor. She finished sixth in the Funny Car points standings this past season and scored eight wins with Traxxas colors.
Force thanked Traxxas for their support of her team over the last half-decade,
“After five amazing seasons with Traxxas as my primary sponsor, in an incredible partnership that grew with them throughout the years, I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity that Mike Jenkins, his family and all of Traxxas gave to me,” added the winningest female Funny Car driver in NHRA history. “Over the last five years, we won eight races during our five seasons together, as well as the Traxxas Nitro Shootout this past season. Now I am excited to grow with a new company and hopeful to add a championship in the future with my new sponsor.”
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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