Sisters Brittany and Courtney Force were 20 minutes late to a Wednesday news conference in San Francisco in advance of this weekend's NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.
"Sorry we're running late, but our rental car wasn't booked [for pickup until today]," Courtney said. Fortunately for the Force sisters, this was one instance in which they wouldn't lose points due to a bit of tardiness. Daughters of legendary Funny Car and 15-time NHRA series champion John Force, Brittany and Courtney are establishing their own identity the good old fashioned way — by earning strong results on the track.
Brittany, 26, the first Force family member to race in a category other than Funny Car, enters Friday's qualifying 12th in the Top Fuel Mello Yello Drag Racing Series points standings. Courtney, 24, is seventh in the Funny Car points standings, just two spots behind John.
Courtney is in her second season in Funny Car, finishing fifth last season and being named Rookie of the Year.
Brittany is in her rookie season, having already shown glimpses of the racing chops that made her dad the most visible figure in NHRA history. Courtney has already beaten her old man twice, first in qualifying and then in eliminations at a race in Phoenix last year.
"In the race before [at Bristol], he beat me, so I was ready for revenge," said Courtney, who was recently featured in ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue.
Brittany and Courtney are best friends, and unlike most athletes who have a famous parent in the sport, the sisters never get tired of getting asked questions about their dad — they actually relish it.
"I think he's involved in our life way too much with work, dating, men, but we love it," Brittany said. "We do have the best teacher [in the sport]."
Brittany and Courtney knew there would be a tremendous learning curve racing cars that reach 300 mph in four seconds, but they've met and probably exceeded most people's expectations by being students of the sport, putting in a lot of preparation and representing the sport well through their numerous media appearances.
The Force sisters are not only proving their mettle on the track, they get public perception as well. When Courtney was asked to do the Body Issue last year, she declined.
"I wanted to establish myself as a driver first," she said. "[This year] I said 'Why not.' I put in a lot of time in the gym, and I was really proud of the issue."
WHAT: Top drag racers in the world will visit the Bay Area
WHEN: Friday to Sunday
WHERE: Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma
TV: Saturday, 4 p.m. (ESPN): Sunday, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)