The Marty Smith Podcast: Iconic Drag Racer John Force on What Keeps Him Going, His Daughters Racing, and Avoiding Retirement

by Chris Haney

The Marty Smith Podcast returns this week and we’ve got the epic drag racer John Force joining the show to talk about his life, retirement, and his legendary career.

Co-hosts Marty Smith and Wes Blankenship open up the show revisiting the wild Kentucky Derby upset. They chat about the star-studded F1 race at the Miami Grand Prix and get into some NASCAR talk as well. Yet their interview with drag racer John Force is the highlight of the podcast and you won’t want to miss it.

There’s a handful of athletes that have done it all when it comes to their respective sports. As for drag racing, John Force fits that bill and then some. He’s undeniably the greatest drag racer in the history of the sport. Force has earned hundreds of wins in his decades-long career and is a 16-time NHRA champion driver with 21 championships as a car owner. As a driver and owner of John Force Racing, he’s part of the winningest team in motorsports history.

John Force opens up about his iconic career and explains why he continues to race at 73 years old after all he’s accomplished. The iconic racer talks about raising daughters who followed in their father’s footsteps. Plus, he addresses the idea of retirement, which doesn’t seem to be on his radar at all. The guys talk with John Force about this and much more during the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast.

John Force Shares What Keeps Him Going After Years at the Top of the NHRA

John Force started racing when he was just a teenager, but success didn’t follow him right away. In fact, he struggled for years and had a reputation for being a risk to himself and other drivers on the track. For nine long years, Force didn’t win a single National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) event, but things finally turned around in 1987 when he won his first race.

In 1990, he had his breakout season where he raced to seven final rounds and won each. He qualified at No. 1 ten times that season and finished with an impressive 45-12 record. Force would go on to win his first world championship that year and would follow it up with another just one year later. His back-to-back titles would set the stage for what would become an iconic career in drag racing.

After accomplishing so much in the sport, what keeps bringing him back to the track in the year 2022? It doesn’t hurt that his team has already won five of six races this 2022 Camping World race season. But host Marty Smith wanted to know right out of the gate what keeps him reaching for more today.

“What in the world possesses you to keep doing this?” Smith asked Force. “I’m guessing it’s the feeling you just had by hoisting that trophy up.”

“I do it because I love it,” John Force answered The Marty Smith Podcast host. “Loved NHRA drag racing, I followed it since I was in high school. Right out of high school, within a few years, I went to Australia to race in a funny car. Just been doing it ever since. You’ve got the cheer of the crowd, you’ve got the camaraderie of a team, and fans that love ya. And sponsors that pay you to do a job that you love. So, why wouldn’t I do it? And throw in some wins, and life is good.”

The Drag Racer Opens Up About His Daughters Following In His Footsteps

As the years went by, the iconic drag racer’s family became more and more involved with the sport. John Force has four daughters, Adria, Ashley, Brittany and Courtney, who each followed in their father’s footsteps. Brittany Force is currently on top of the NHRA standings this season. In 2017, she became only the second woman ever to win the Top Fuel championship , which was a first in 35 years.

Drag racing obviously runs in the Force family’s blood. Both The Marty Smith Podcast co-hosts are girl dads themselves, so they wanted to know about his girls getting into such a dangerous sport. These days, his eldest daughter Adria runs his racing company. Force joked that Adria “runs all the money. Hell, I ain’t smart enough, I can’t do all that.”

His other three daughters chose to get behind the wheel and drag race like their daddy. Ashley, Brittany, and Courtney are all still in the business of racing, but Brittany is still racing at a high level.

“In the middle of it, my girls got into racing. So Ashley drove, Courtney drove, and Brittany’s still driving. Of course, they’ve all won races. They were all driver of the year, and all that kinda stuff. And I beat Ashley to the championship a couple of rounds. Boy that put me on the couch for a couple of years. Mom wasn’t liking that,” John Force joked during the interview. “But they all live it.”

Yet the family tree doesn’t stop there when it comes to the Forces and racing. One of his son-in-laws is an IndyCar racer, and some of his grandkids are currently driving junior dragsters. As John Force said, “Maybe there will be a third generation of [Force drag racers]. We’ll see.”

John Force Isn’t Thinking About Retiring Anytime Soon

For someone like John Force who lives, sleeps, and breathes drag racing, retirement from the sport isn’t a pleasant thought. The famous drag racer joked on The Marty Smith Podcast that he doesn’t know how to fish and doesn’t know how to golf. So if he was to quit today, he’d end up buying another race car to go racing in his free time.

Yet at 73 years old, Force won’t be able to race forever. Host Marty Smith asked the drag racer about the possibility of retirement. Force admits it’s not something he thinks about because it’s a way of life. The sport is so ingrained in him and his family that he’s not even considering it for now.

“You know, I don’t think that way,” John Force explained about the thought of retiring. “I love it, it’s my life, and it’s my family’s life.”

“I love the company, love the history, my kids grew up in it. And I just don’t want to give it up. I want to be part of it, and I want to keep it going,” he added. “It’s what I do. I make a good paycheck, I don’t need money though. I can retire, but I don’t want to retire… it’s just a way of life.”

The guys talk about that and much more with John Force on the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast. Make sure to check out their entire conversation below, or listen to the full interview on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts.