During the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast, NHRA drag racing legend John Force joined the show for an interview where he talked about his long, iconic career. The 16-time champion is the most decorated drag racer of all time. So he has years of experience behind the wheel of dragsters. If you want to know what it’s like to be strapped into a vehicle that travels over 300 mph, there’s no one better to describe what it’s like.
Co-hosts Marty Smith and Wes Blankenship breached that subject early on while talking to Force about his amazing career. “Is there any way to put into words what it’s like to be inside of a vehicle moving at 300 mph? Do you even think about it anymore?” Blankenship asked Force.
“Been doing it so long, it’s just kinda a way of life,” John Force explained on The Marty Smith Podcast. “You know, you’ve gotta react to a Christmas tree (the green light). You can’t really get up there and think about what you’re going to do. It’s all kinda just what you’ve learned over the years… for me the last 40 years.”
“Drivers that are new at it, some of ’em struggle, some of ’em pick it up right away. But you gotta go into a zone, like a Tiger Woods on a golf course. You’ve gotta blank out the people, you’ve gotta blank out the noise, and you’ve gotta go for it. And then you’ve gotta get it from A to B at over 330 mph,” Force added.
John Force Explains What Can Go Wrong When Racing at Over 300 MPH
Of course, drag racing comes with its own set of challenges, and plenty can go wrong when driving a car over 300 mph. Drivers may only be in the car and racing for mere seconds. However, there’s so much that has to be done to have a good run, that if one little thing goes wrong, it can mean disaster for the car and its driver.
“When you really gotta go to work, that’s the fun part. That’s easy,” John Force shared on The Marty Smith Podcast. “If she wheel stands, or if she tries to smoke the tires, you’ve gotta keep it under control. And then, when you’re out there in the middle somewhere, you always think, something could go wrong. Motor could let go and you could be engulfed in fire, and that’ where your real job starts. As safe as NHRA requires these cars to be, and all the pro organization and all the people around it, you’ve gotta go into fight mode.”
As John Force mentioned, one of the biggest dangers in the sport is cars catching on fire. It’s almost commonplace for NHRA drivers. Force joked that he’s been on fire in every country he’s ever raced in before crediting NHRA safety standards.
“I’ve been very lucky in my career. I always joked I’ve been on fire from here to Australia, and I have been. But in the middle of it, the cars are safe,” Force said. “Yea, I’ve got a few burns on me. I’ve been whacked in the head a few times… but in the process, been real lucky to walk away. You’ve got to give credit to the NHRA safety.”
The guys talk about that and much more with John Force on the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast. Make sure to watch the full show above, or listen to the interview on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts.