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John Force to teach Graham Rahal how to drive Funny Car?

Jul 10, 2014, 7:55 PM EDT

Graham Rahal and Courtney Force (AP Photo/Larry Papke) AP

NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force and IndyCar driver Graham Rahal are mulling over the idea of switching rides for a day, according to Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star.

Force is still trying to decide if she’ll go through with it, but Rahal is gung-ho to hop into a nitromethane-burning Funny Car.

But there’s one caveat: Rahal will have to go  through the John Force School of Drag Racing – Force, of course, being the 16-time NHRA Funny Car world champ and also Courtney’s father.

“I told (Rahal) he’s going to go through what we call ‘Funny Car 101,’ ” Force told Cavin. “I’m going to tow him around the parking lot like I did with (my) girls. ‘Here’s a chassis, get in it.’ No firesuit, no helmet.”

Basically, Force wants Rahal to learn how a Funny Car feels, handles and steers – even though it’s designed to do one thing best: go straight.

“These things are an animal, and they’ll eat you alive in second,” Force said of Funny Cars. “You don’t have time to think; you have to feel it.”

Right now, the plan is to have Rahal get behind the wheel of Force’s car after the season-ending NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, which will also be after the season ends for the Verizon IndyCar Series, as well.

In addition to letting Courtney drive his open-wheel IndyCar, Rahal also wants to put her dad behind the wheel.

Forget it, says John Force.

“I went to Buck Baker’s (road racing driving school), and I was in the Long Beach Grand Prix celebrity race (in 1993); I’ve done all that,” Force told Cavin. “I stay in drag racing because I know what I do. Besides, I told Rahal that if I crash one of his dad’s Indy cars he’s going to make me pay for it.”

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  1. manik56 - Jul 10, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    At least Rahal is peparing for plan B.

  2. techmeister1 - Jul 10, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    I’m sure Rahal has the ability to learn how to drive a Funny Car but Force is correct that they are animals that will bite you faster than a Snake or Mongoose and then it’s too late.

    I understand John and Courtney’s concerns with driving an Indycar also. It ain’t for the uninitiated. You want to have some serious track driving seat time if you’re going to jump in an Indycar and actually drive it vs. tour in it. It’s not like I’d expect John or Courtney to be even remotely close to what an experienced Indycar driver can do, but it still takes a lot of skill to drive one of those cars at 8 tenths just as it would to run a Fuel Funny Car at 5 seconds vs. 4 @ 1000′ like the pros do.

    The cross promotion is probably good for the sport if they decide to do it.

    • testover6370 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      NHRA and Indycar probably are good matches for cross-promotion.

  3. wallio - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    As someone who drives a Funny Car (non-nitro) and someone who follows IndyCar very closely, I can easily say they”ll be scrapping Graham off the barriers. But I suppose he has to make news somehow, his results certainly aren’t doing it.

    • worknman24hours - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:11 AM


      An Indycar can bite you when you get up to speed.

      A funny car can bite you right when you drop the brake and stomp the pedal.

      The two racing series are nothing alike.and there lies the real life ending danger.

      Mad credit to John Force for being so damn good at what he does.

      • techmeister1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        For the naïve… dropping the clutch on an Indycar can also kill ya. LOL While perhaps not as dangerous as a nitro Funny Car, starting out of the pits Pros have crashed them on cold tires.

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