The most recognizable team in drag racing is sitting out the entire 2020 season.
John Force Racing confirmed Friday that it wouldn’t race at all for the rest of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The NHRA got its season started before things were shut down due to the pandemic. When the season restarted in July at Indianapolis, the John Force Racing cars weren’t there. And they won’t be there at all until 2021.
“Suddenly, the virus hit, and it changed the world,” John Force said in a statement. “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.”
Force is the most successful driver in NHRA Funny Car history with 16 titles and 151 race wins. He drives one of the team’s funny cars while Hight, a three-time champion, drives the team’s other funny car. Force’s daughter Brittany drives a Top Fuel car for the team along with Austin Prock.
Force said the decision to park his team for 2020 was done to make sure it could compete in 2021 and beyond. Force, 71, won his first title in 1990 and won 10 consecutive titles from 1993-2002. The team is the first and only major United States auto racing team to not resume competing after the coronavirus pandemic delayed seasons.
“At that point, I made the decision to ‘live to fight another day.’ 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,” Force said. “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.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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