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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Final Blog (for now?)

Our greatest apologies for not updating the blog sooner. As many of you can only imagine, there have been many things on our plate here at John Force Racing. First and foremost, we would like to thank all of the fans for your understanding and heartfelt comments, cards, and best wishes through our struggles. You are truly the backbone of this NHRA POWERade drag racing family. We also find ourselves in the thick of some great competition in the nitro Funny Car category; this is some of the greatest racing in years, and you are all very lucky to be witnessing it. Season two has concluded, and we patiently wait to talk about the possibilities of a third season of Driving Force. Please be sure to continue to check our site, johnforceracing.com, and nhra.com for updates. As for our blog, today we take the opportunity to answer some questions sent in by fans:

Q: A lot of questions come in about the “house on the hill.” What happened to it? Why did you tear it down? What are your plans for it moving forward?

A: Laurie Force: As seen on the television show, we knocked down the house. It was a single-story home that really didn’t take full advantage of the land that it was on. Well, we ultimately tore down the house because it was not what we really wanted; we wanted something that could take advantage of the beautiful views and fit more accordingly on the land. One day we look forward to building another home there, but no definite plans have been made yet.

Q: Ashley, what did it feel like to beat your dad? With the anticipation of this happening, what were your feelings right before lighting that top bulb?

A: Ashley Force: I was excited to be beating anyone, period! It was a great moment when we all realized that we would have each other first round. Dad’s experienced championship-winning crew guys versus my new fresh and motivated team, Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly versus Dean Antonelli … their protégé, John Force versus his kid! The great part about it was afterward I told Dad and his team that they trained us, so our winning only proved that they taught us well! There was a lot of betting between guys and families but all in fun, and in the end, a JFR team was headed to the second round. As far as what I was thinking when I staged my car, I just tried to clear my mind and drive my car and not worry about the guy in the other lane. I felt confident because we had the better lane. If we could just go A to B we’d be all right, but I knew if Dad and I were in a pedalfest then I’d be in big trouble because he’s the best there is!

Q: John, where is your favorite place to go just to get away from it all? And why?

A: John Force: I like to get away in Lake Tahoe. We have a place there, and the family really likes to spend time there when available. I guess I like it because it is quiet, relaxing, and really one of the only places I can go and spend time with my family without having to worry or talk about work.

Q: Brittany, how do you handle filming, school, and racing and still maintain a personal life?

A: Brittany Force: Juggling more than one thing has always been easy for me since I've done it my whole life. In high school I was a busy girl and loved it. I was still traveling with my family to races, going to high school, working at a restaurant, and doing cheerleading.

I love always having something to do and being challenged. I think because I have always been that way it’s enjoyable to me even though others would disagree. I do have my moments when I feel overwhelmed and I have too much going on, but at the end of the day I have no regrets. I love being at home and spending time with my boyfriend and my closest girlfriends, but they understand and are supportive when most of my weekends I pack up my bags and catch a flight.

In the fall I will be transferring to Cal State University Fullerton, where I will be taking more classes than I did finishing my last credits at Santiago Community College, but I can't wait. It's something I will be used to. I will go to school Monday through Thursday then hop on a plane, taking my school books and homework along for the ride, with the cameras not too far behind.

People have always asked me about the cameras and filming getting annoying, but I don’t really see it in that light. In the beginning I struggled with it because it felt unnatural and uncomfortable, but now the camera crews are close friends to my family, and it makes everything easier. I love traveling and being able to see different parts of the U.S., I love drag racing and can’t wait because I still have so much to learn, and as for the show I love people being able to see me and my sisters in a male-dominated sport doing something we love and hopefully motivate other girls and young kids to get into this sport one day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Season two begins tonight

The second season of Driving Force, A&E’s real-life series starring racing legend John Force, his wife Laurie, and their three drag racing daughters, begins Tuesday, March 27 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

A dominant figure in drag racing for both his winning reputation and charismatic personality, John Force has shattered every major record on the drag strip, exhibited extraordinary skill as a team owner and businessman and is now gearing up for his greatest challenge –- raising three daughters, Ashley, 24; Brittany, 20; and Courtney, 18; who are following in his footsteps and competing in the male-dominated field of high-speed drag racing.

The July 17, 2006 series premiere of Driving Force attracted 1.2 million A18-49 and 1.1 million A25-54 viewers, making it at the time the best series premiere performance on A&E since Dog the Bounty Hunter.

In the first season fans watched as John, whose career kept him on the road throughout most of the girls’ childhoods, worked at rekindling his relationship with them by bringing them into the family business.

This season focuses on John’s pursuit of an unprecedented 15th NHRA Championship, as well as Ashley Force’s long awaited move up in ranks to compete with and against her father in the Funny Car division.

Robert Sharenow and Elaine Frontain Bryant are the A&E Executive Producers. Driving Force is produced for A&E Network by Schmaguuli LLC. Stephen Hopkins, David Schermerhorn, Brent Travers and Dan Partland are the executive producers.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Questions and Answers:

Question for Courtney: With Ashley having moved up in the ranks to Nitro Funny Car, what are the plans for Brittany and Courtney moving up?

Courtney replies:

Currently, I have been driving the Brand Source Super Comp dragster for almost two years now. The thought of A/Fuel Dragster is exciting and is definitely a step that I want to one day take to move up in the ranks, hopefully as soon as the end of the year. My long term goal would be to move into the nitro Funny Car and follow in my sister Ashley’s footsteps in her career path.

Question for Ashley: With your first race behind you, what do you think was the most pressure of the race? What do expect for the remainder of the season?

Ashley replies:

The most stressful part of the first race of the year is all the things happening from early in the morning till late in to the evening around the actual race sessions.

Pomona is the most hectic for me because it is a home track and that it’s the first race of the year. Many friends, family, and sponsors come to the event because it kicks off the NHRA circuit. Between running around taking photos, doing interviews, sponsor meet and greets, and all the fans you really only get to slow down and take a break when it’s time to go up and run and that needs to be the time to have all of your energy and focus! But it’s also a very exciting few days because everyone is happy to be back at the races!

Our goal as a new team is to get qualified for every race and go some rounds. We want to win every race but we know that the Funny Car field is very competitive this year and that we’re new but we will learn from our mistakes. I have a very supportive and excited group of guys that work on my team. We might be a rookie team but we want to win just as bad as the veterans do!

Though it might take some time, I know we will be successful because we have a hardworking team and great teachers and sponsors, and a crew chief and driver who want to win!

Question for Laurie: Having your NHRA Super Comp license, has there been a time when you have wanted to suit up and race the car yourself?

Laurie replies:

The idea of competing has crossed my mind, even though originally I got my license more to understand what the girls are talking about and going through on the track. I find myself wondering what it would be like to be out there competing.

One thing that I would really like to do is go back to the Frank Hawley Driving School for the “graduate program”. The program is designed to give you some experience driving with someone (another graduate) in the lane next to you. The other thing holding me back is not having a car, the cars that the girls drive are far different (set up wise) than the cars we learned in at the school, so that would be a learning curve I would have to face as well.

I keep my options open; who knows maybe someday.

Monday, February 12, 2007

It's baaaaaaaaaaaaack ....

I think the most common question that we received through the blog was the future of Ashley in the Funny Car class. Second, by slim margins, is the verdict of if there will or will not be a second season of Driving Force.

By now, you are all aware that Ashley Force is driving a Castrol GTX-powered Ford Mustang Funny Car in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Series…so we only find it fitting to let you know the outcome of the Driving Force inquiry.

Beginning on Tuesday, March 27, at 10 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CT you will be able to see the Forces back in action on the A&E breakout real life series Driving Force.

We hope that you will all join us once again for the season as it unfolds before you on the A&E Network. This year should prove to be the most exciting yet as the cameras capture “Nitro’s Child”, Ashley Force, in her professional Funny Car debut and her always eventful father John Force as he vies for his 15th NHRA POWERade championship. Of course, what would the show be without Laurie, Brittany, and Courtney as they try to keep up with the fast paced world dad has involved himself around, while juggling school, social lives and racing of their own.

Now you will be able to get your fix of NHRA Drag Racing, with ESPN2 Raceday coverage on Sundays and A&E Driving Force on Tuesdays…what else can a drag racing fan ask for?

Thanks for watching and see you at the races!

John Force Sports Marketing Group

Friday, January 19, 2007

More questions for Ashley

On Jan. 16, John Force Racing announced that Ashley Force would make the transition this season from Top Alcohol Dragster to Funny Car joining her father, John, and teammates Eric Medlen and Robert Hight, in the class. Ashley fielded a few questions from fans for this installment of the Driving Force blog.

Q: What are your feelings/emotions following the recent press conference about you entering the Pro Funny Car class?

Ashley: “I’m very excited to finally be making the jump into Funny Car alongside my dad and teammates, Eric Medlen and Robert Hight. We have been preparing for this for many years and though I am nervous, I can’t wait for the 2007 season to start.”

Q: If season two of Driving Force is filmed during the 2007 NHRA POWERade season, how do you plan to juggle the driving, media and television show?

Ashley: “Lots of POWERade! The first year was a struggle because the film crew was new to the sport of NHRA Drag Racing & we were new to being part of a reality show. This year we understand and know the changes that have to be made to make it work.”

Q: You have had an extremely hectic and publicized year, what are you looking forward to most for the New Year?

Ashley: “Racing with my dad in the floppers. I’m also very excited to compete with my new crew chief Guido (Dean Antonelli) and my new team.”

Q: What advice has dad given you that you feel will be most helpful in driving the Funny Car?

Ashley: “He told me that the first two years will be the hardest. He told me to remember that it is a learning experience and that I have a team that loves and supports me the entire way. When all is said and done I will fall crazy in love with the Funny Cars, because they are a blast to take down the track.”

Monday, December 18, 2006

Catching up ...

Let me begin by wishing all of the NHRA fans, employees and competitors a very Happy Holiday and best wishes for the New Year.

We haven’t updated the blog in a while because season one is over and we didn’t have any immediate updates. In talking with Phil Burgess we decided maybe there was a little bit of an update we could provide.

Our Holiday Car Show on Dec.3rd was an absolute success! We estimated that we had 25,000 attendees this year and the collection of around 7,500 gifts for the CHIPs For Kids Program. Thanks to the fans and participants involved.

I had a nice little surprise over the vacation when I found that my 1956 Ford School Bus was stolen right from my Yorba Linda facility. Luckily it was just Chip Foose and the group at Overhaulin’, for a show that you can see this Tuesday night, Dec. 19th at 9 p.m. on the TLC channel.

Our teams have returned from a very well-deserved vacation, and they came back to work with one thing on their minds: NHRA POWERade Drag Racing. The talent and determination of our teams is awesome and I look forward to next season with all of them.

The biggest question on the site is “What happened to the Driving Force show?” The last episode, in which Eric Medlen won Sonoma, was the finale to season one. The DVD for season one is now out and is available at the John Force Race Station. We’re still talking about if there will be a second season and should decide soon. Check www.nhra.com, www.johnforceracing.com and www.aetv.com for the latest news on the show.

The second most popular question is about Ashley, and what she will be driving next year. We’re getting closer, but we haven’t decided anything yet. Expect to see us in testing come January. But you will see Ashley in action next year.

That’s my time, so Happy Holidays and New Year. See you in 2007!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Season One wrapup

As filming has wrapped up for season one of Driving Force, John and Ashley Force took some time recently to reflect on the past season and what it has meant to them and the teams, and to look ahead to 2007.

Ashley Force:

It’s good that the intense filming for this season is done; it gives the teams a chance to really focus on winning the Funny Car championship. Although the film crew continues to roll the cameras and collect footage, we have had a much more laid-back schedule. Looking back at the year I am really glad that we had the chance to go through this experience, it has been really fun for both me and my family. At the track I talk to fans about how much they enjoy the show and how the show has actually brought them together much like it has my family. Fans tell me all the time how they all gather around the TV and watch the show, and that it’s something that has really been a positive influence on bringing them together.

The show has been able to document my dad and I together at the race track, my sisters during their college and social adventures and I think it really showed how my mom was the glue that held the family together throughout. I think that’s why this show reached so many different people. Not necessarily because we have the exact same lives or schedules as your average family, but because we share many similarities that each and every family can relate to in some way.

I have really had fun this season with the film crew. Each of them meant something special to me and my family and through the season they really became more than just the film crew; they became fans of the sport. They all experienced the same highs and lows that we all did with each round victory or each loss. They made such great shows because of the commitment they made to not only understand us, but also to understand the world we live in. I don’t know what 2007 has in store for us and the Driving Force show, but I definitely wouldn’t have traded this experience in for anything.

John Force:

Although the season finale shows the win Eric Medlen had in Sonoma, we continue to film. A&E built a season around 14 episodes, which should be available on DVD soon. Following that 14 we began to film four more; whether or not they will be a part of season two, we just don’t know yet. What I can tell you is that they have definitely caught a lot of great footage. I think this footage will clear up many of the questions that I hear from fans on a daily basis. The main question that I hear is: Which of your daughters is married to Robert Hight? I think that it is time to clarify for the fans my situation, I have four beautiful daughters. Ashley, Brittany and Courtney are my daughters with Laurie that you see on the show. But I was married prior to Laurie and in that marriage I had another beautiful child, Adria. She is my oldest daughter and she is married to Robert Hight and both of them gave me a beautiful granddaughter by the name of Autumn Danielle.

Adria has worked for me and JFR since she graduated college and has definitely been integral to the success of our operation. The show premise is about three racing daughters -- “Charlie’s Angels in Firesuits”. There has been a lot of footage shot of all of my team that just doesn’t fit with the show topics at the time. But a lot of effort has been spent recently filming Robert, Adria, and the baby because of the points chase and because of what they all mean to me in my personal life. I’m not sure where the series is going from here; what I do know is where it has been. And although it doesn’t always show me and my family in the best of times, it definitely shows the human side in all of my family.

These shows will probably be showing as a part of season two if it comes along, or maybe as stand-alone episodes until the whole season two thing gets figured out, but in any case I want all the fans to know that I look at my entire team as my family and you can expect to learn more about all of them in the future. Thanks for watching.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Questions and answers with Ashley

1. Are there any little tricks/pranks you and the family have or still do play on the camera crew?

We’ve been filming Driving Force for 10 months and spent a lot of time bonding with the film crew, so naturally we’ve along the way played some jokes and pranks on them. We pick on our producer Brent Travers most because we’ve known him the longest and joke that he’s the brother we never wanted! When we know he has his earphones on and can hear us we’ll talk about what a dork he is and make fun of what he’s wearing or how his hair is styled. This isn’t really a prank, but we also played cupid for one of our female producers and one of our race car crew guys. When hinted to him that she thought he was cute and they hung out a few times. We’ve pretended while being miked to go into the restroom and used a whoopy cushion, too! The Driving Force crew always likes to play around and they’ve tried to keep things light for us so that it’s not work just fun!

2. Has there been a filming instance that didn’t make it on screen that you are happy didn’t (or opposite)?

There have been a few instances while filming that I’m thankful hasn’t shown up on an episode … yet! I’ve tripped and fallen a handful of times, said some stupid things, and done some stupid things, but so far they’ve haven’t found a need for too many of those instances. That does not mean it won’t show up in the future however! Also, after our April Fools prank on dad I was really upset and started crying and went over to our producer and asked if we could stop filming for a little bit because I needed some space. They stopped filming right then and let me have some time to myself. I’m thankful for that because they could have just kept rolling but chose not to. They try to work with us because they understand that this reality show really invades a person’s privacy. There are times when those dramatic moments are necessary for the show and they must film anyway, but they respect us when we are really upset and give us the space we need.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

And now a word from our producer ...

Brent Travers, along with Stephen Hopkins and David Schermerhorn, are the executive producers of Driving Force, but it’s Brent who spent much of 2005 on tour with John Force Racing and today is in daily contact with the Force family to help create the magic you see Monday nights on A&E. In this installment of the Driving Force blog, Brent answers some questions from viewers.

Q: Will the network be releasing Driving Force on DVD and/or iTunes?

A: Actually you can get your Driving Force fix on both now! A&E has recently begun offering the show as a part of its new deal with iTunes, however only the first episode is available but the rest should be online and available to download any day now. As for the DVD version of the show, you can begin logging on to A&E’s website to pre-order the first season (all 14 episodes + extras), it will be available the first or second week of November as of now.

Q: What’s been some of the biggest challenges in doing the show?

Keeping up with the busy Force family! When they are not racing they all have something going on from school to public appearances, they keep us on our toes! However, the initial challenges were convincing the Forces, the NHRA and you, the fans, that we wanted to do a real show that brought you inside the life of the man who has come to define and dominate the sport while providing the right balance of racing and behind the scenes footage.

Q: What has been the best part of doing this show?

Besides being able to be with the Forces and all of the people at John Force Racing, it’s been traveling to the races and getting to be with the fans who have all been so good to us and have really seemed to taken a liking to the show. Lately it has been really exciting to hear fans come up and quote lines or discuss their favorite scenes. Also, it would have to be that it has given people across America, who maybe haven’t had the chance to experience an NHRA event themselves, to be inspired to attend their next local race and get to feel the teeth-rattling experience for themselves!

Also, I would say being present for some of the historical moments in their lives, things that meant something to them and to the sport, for example, being there when Ashley first tested in a Funny Car back in Topeka in 2005, being there when John and Ashley both won Pomona in 2004, standing on the starting line when Ashley made her licensing run in Vegas … you can’t help but realize that each of these things were a blessing to be a part of and long after this show is gone, they will be very fond memories.

Q: What are you doing to address some of the sound issues in the show, specifically, the sounds of the cars?

We have received a great deal of emails and calls about this one. Early on there were so many people working on the show who hadn’t been to a race or seen much footage at that point so there was a little bit of confusion on our end for sure but everyone’s heart has always been in the right place. There was so much concentration given to presenting the family and racing stories that perhaps a few things fell through the cracks but we worked hard to keep things real and now have a much better handle on this aspect of the show!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Questions? We've got answers ...

Welcome back, Driving Force fans, to another installment of the show blog. We get lots of questions from fans and viewers, and we'll try to answer some as we go along.

Below is one of the most common questions we get, plus another one that might interest you.

Question: When will Ashley make her first NHRA event driving her Funny Car? Will it be this year?

John’s answer:


I don’t think that I get through one week without the question of when Ashley will debut in Funny Car. The answer is and always will be the same … Ashley will compete in the Funny Car class once she and her crew is comfortable and ready.

It’s not just a decision for me to make; putting your kid behind 7,000 horsepower at 300-plus mph is a decision they should be involved in. Ashley will let me know when it is time; in the meantime we want to prepare her as much as possible, that includes more testing, seat time and getting her Featherlite trailer and McKinney chassis all squared away. As for racing any events this year … you’ll just have to wait and see.

Question: Do the daughters get involved with the preparation and/or the tear down of the dragsters? Pack chutes? Clean parts? Something that gets them intimately involved with the vehicle they are drving? If so, is this the way it typically is in this level of competition?

Ashley’s answer: I’m able to help with packing the chutes and in refilling the fuel but basically my team tears down and rebuilds my car between rounds and I drive the car, do the media interviews, meet with sponsors and sign autographs for the fans. Each team has an exact routine that they do, like a dance, where they’re able to get the race car prepared to run in the short time allowed.

My routine changes daily depending on what my publicist sets up. Some days are filled with radio and newspaper interviews, local TV newscasts, or meet-and-greets with sponsors, while other weekends are more low-key, where I basically just get to sign autographs when the fans are around.

Friday, August 25, 2006

We're baaaaack!

Back by popular demand! Welcome back to the revived Driving Force blog site. While those of us at John Force Racing thought that the Driving Force blog might have run its course, Phil Burgess of the NHRA informed us that he’s still getting inquiries for more entries!… So we are back again to provide insight into the world of John Force Racing and Driving Force..

Some of the topic content that may appear in upcoming blogs will focus on a “behind the scenes” perspective from Brent Travers (Executive Producer) and his staff. The content could possibly include: The Force family and recollections, stories and reactions to filming and life experiences in general. And lastly, you might hear a word or two from some of the Sports Marketing Group here at John Force Racing about appearances and new things going on with the show and our race teams.

Well I hope that you have a renewed interest in the blog! Please continue to utilize the question section to ask specific questions of the Force family. Please utilize discretion in the questions and content of your e-mails.


Chad Light

Marketing Coordinator

Monday, July 24, 2006

Thanks for following along ... and so long for now

Greetings from the Sports Marketing Group at John Force Racing! This is Chad Light, checking in because the Force family is currently on the road. Their travels this week will take them from Seattle and eventually park them in Sonoma. The week for them consists of filming multiple Northern California events for the show, college classes, press conferences, and, oh yeah, we’ll probably make that race in Sonoma by week’s end. Hopefully this rambling explains why I’m writing as opposed to a Force family member.

Driving Force debuted with record numbers last Monday and no doubt in large part to the support of the racing community, the fans, our sponsors, Schmaguuli LLC and the A&E Television Networks. Tonight marks the start of two new episodes, and if you enjoyed the premiere you will be sitting on the edge of your seats for this one. A lot of us get some interesting questions at the track and we have seen some of the e-mails sent to the family from this very site and we thought that we could comment on some of the things we are privy to.

Where is Adria Hight? Well, Adria is alive and kicking. Adria is John’s oldest daughter from a previous marriage. Although not involved in driving a of race car, Adria is very involved in the daily operations in our Yorba Linda headquarters. Acting as CFO Adria will be seen in future episodes, as daughter to John, wife to Robert Hight and mother to Autumn.

Why is John always so upset? Please understand that television is only catching a glimpse in the life of John Force and his family. What many see as anger is truly intensity. John carries a strict passion for something he believes in, this show, his driving, the race teams and especially his family. The realism behind this show is that these are struggles every family encounters, I’ve heard the same excitement and tone that you hear in the show with John’s daughters while in line ordering a Coke at McDonald’s. One thing about John Force is that he is focused, it is the same focus that he had 20-plus years ago when things weren’t as successful, but now he has a lot more to lose if he loses that focus…including the family that he is trying to get back.

Hopefully the remaining shows will help to answer any other impending questions. This will be the sign off blog for the Driving Force show, but we hope that you and your family enjoy the remainder of the season. For any other updates check our website: johnforceracing.com or aetn.com. We hope to see you soon at the races.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Tonight's the night!

Well we finally made it! Tonight is the premiere of Driving Force; I hope that you all have the excitement that we have to see the first episodes. Our family is going to an intimate screening with some of the people responsible for the show itself from Schmaguuli LLC. We know what to expect from the show but it’s a little different once it actually makes it on screen.

I want to thank all of the fans for their support. My family and I have met a lot of people through our traveling that have wished us luck with the show. I hope that the show is everything that you have hoped it will be and more.

It has been a lot of work, sometimes good sometimes bad, but all to help promote this great sport that we are all so interested in. We want to apologize to the people that we haven’t been able to answer in some of the blog questions; please know that we do read each and everyone of them. A lot of the questions will even be answered through the course of the show. Please utilize the e-mail to send us your responses to the show as well.

If you don’t have A&E yet you still have the chance to order through your cable provider. Make sure to watch us tonight on A&E at 9 p.m. Eastern time and 8 p.m. Central, and again thanks for all of the support.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mixed feelings: Anxiety and excitement

As the youngest two of the John Force daughters, one may wonder if the day to day filming gets to Brittany and Courtney: What fears they might have with the upcoming premiere and, in turn, what excitement there is. Those and many other questions answered in the girl’s newest blog.

Courtney: I thought that it was going to be hard for me driving the Brand Source dragster, finishing high school, managing my social life and adding the filming of Driving Force. I never thought that it would be as hard as it ended up being. Now that the show is among us I have feelings of both anxiety and excitement.

I have to admit its a little nerve-racking to show everyone the day to day occurrences of my life and my family’s life; the exciting part is that I get to show one of my hobbies, drag racing, and how it all relates to my family and our lives.

At first I was scared that the show would rob me of my senior year in high school. I don’t think that I missed a thing. I did everything I would have done and. as an added bonus. It’s all documented for me if I want to see it later in life. I think the show also gave me a chance to show the type of person I am away from my family. Around my friends I’m more outgoing, something I hold back around my family a little bit. I think that it is something, as a viewer, that you will notice throughout the series.

Brittany: I definitely have a bunch of mixed feelings running through my mind concerning the premiere of the show. I am really excited because it’s been a lot of work and I’m hoping it will all pay off and be worth it. I’m also excited to see all the final shows pieced together and see how they will turn out.

I also have many anxieties about the show. I really let the world see who I am and the hard part will be all the people who judge me. I am also embarrassed about some the goofy and dumb things I’ve said and done on camera.

My personal and social life is still the same since day one. The only thing is it really took away my privacy. Going out shopping and clubbing with girlfriends the cameras were there which I know was frustrating at some times for all of us.

Also hanging out with my boyfriend was hard. We would get in little fights because when I was actually in town and we could spend time together it was us and five camera crews.

All my friends were really good about it and we're all excited to see the final shows. I hope that all of you are, too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pardon the interruption, but ...

Okay, my name’s not Force but since John and Ashley are out on their media tour for Driving Force and Laurie and the other girls are probably still celebrating Laurie’s birthday Monday, I thought I’d jump in here with my two cents and keep the traffic rolling to the blog. For those who don’t know me, I’m Phil Burgess, the editor of NHRA’s weekly magazine National DRAGSTER, and, as a member of the Fourth Estate, recently had the chance to preview the first two episodes of Driving Force.

If the two special sneak-preview episodes I saw recently are any indication, it’s not just drag racing fans who are going to enjoy Driving Force. We had been warned not to expect this to be a series about drag racing per se, and it’s certainly not. Not that there isn’t plenty of good racing footage included, but because it’s designed to appeal also to non-drag racing fans, there’s much more emphasis on the family dynamics (and dysfunction), a topic to which most of us can relate no matter what our backgrounds might be.

I’ve known John for more than 20 years and consider myself well versed in his many manic moods, his sentimentalities, his worldly views; but I have to admit that in the two episodes we previewed, I saw new sides to him that I didn’t know existed. One moment there’s Force, shocked and visibly upset at Brittany – referred to in the show’s production notes as Force’s “problem child” – when she reveals her chosen profession – which doesn’t appear to include racing for the rest of her life – and then there he is later, introspective and upset having realized he never knew his daughter’s dream.

It’s going to be a real treat for the average fan and even the hardcore fan, to not only get a glimpse behind the public side of the man you see weekly on ESPN2 but also the behind-the-scenes look at how the Force operation works. You’ll sit in on team meetings and family meetings and even some girl talk between the ABCs. Some very awkward moments will almost make you feel a little guilty, like a Peeping Tom, but you know you’ll keep watching anyway.

The interaction between Force and his daughters – and Force and Laurie – is unscripted and, despite the fact that it’s based around a multi-million dollar racing operation, will ring quite true to parents – and even kids. I’m sure that some of you will see yourselves and your families in the Forces. It’s just good TV.

The two episodes I saw were so chock full of memorable moments – funny, poignant, exciting – that they were discussed for days around the office. I’d love to share some of those scenes, but we took a super-secret, pinky oath not to discuss plot details. You’ll just have to wait for the show. Force has also privately told me about some other scenes for upcoming episodes that I’m sure will be as widely discussed at watercoolers and toolboxes around the country.

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