John Force Appreciative Sponsors Provided Ample Time To Secure Replacements
NHRA team Owner/Driver John Force “thanked” sponsors Ford and Castrol for “giving him 16 months to find replacements” after both companies announced they will pull their support after the ’14 season, according to Jim Peltz of the L.A. Times. Force, whose John Force Racing team has four drivers, said that he “plans an aggressive campaign” to find new sponsors. Castrol is the primary sponsor for Force and his daughter Brittany. Radio-controlled car manufacturer Traxxas and the Auto Club of Southern California are the main sponsors for another of Force’s daughters, Courtney, and son-in-law Robert Hight, respectively. Those sponsorships “remain intact under multiyear deals.” Force “declined to say how much money his sponsors spend on his team each year or disclose other financial figures.” Peltz noted it costs roughly $4M a year to “race a top-flight dragster in the Mello Yello Series, and with four cars and other operating costs, Force's annual budget” likely is $20M or more. Castrol, Ford and the other “primary sponsors cover most of those costs.” Because Force also is “so well-known, the departure of Castrol and Ford raised questions about whether their moves reflected a pessimistic outlook for drag racing generally.” NHRA President Tom Compton said, “We never like to see major sponsors go. But things do happen in corporate America." Force said that he is “confident of replacing the lost Castrol sponsorship.” He said if he fails he will “have to step out of the seat in 2015” and sideline his car rather than Brittany Force's car (L.A. TIMES, 9/3).
MODEL CITIZEN: Courtney Force said of the effect appearing in ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue has had on the sport: "I've signed a number of copies out at the race track and have had fans tell me that they didn't know much about our sport until they saw the issue, and how they are intrigued and love it." She added, "I think this could definitely open new doors in the future and really just hope to shine a light over our sport in the NHRA" (INDYSTAR.com, 9/3).