RACER READERS NAME FORCE 2010 'RACER OF THE YEAR'
15-Time Champ is First Drag Racer to Outpoll NASCAR, Indy Car, F-1 Stars
YORBA LINDA, Calif. (February 18, 2011) -- An appreciative John Force accepted congratulations today after the editors of RACER Magazine confirmed that their readers overwhelmingly had voted him 2010's Racer of the Year, an award that encompasses all of the world's various auto racing disciplines including Formula 1.
Force, who rallied from a 2007 crash and a pair of mediocre seasons to win the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car Championship, earned 37 percent of the vote for Racer of the Year, an award presented by Mobil 1. He easily out-polled 2010 Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and 2009 Racer of the Year Jimmie Johnson. Vettel got 15 percent of the vote; Johnson 14.
It's the first time a drag racer has earned the top honor in the 16-year history of the magazine's Racer of the Year awards which also include Oval Racer of the Year, Road Racer of the Year and Drag Racer of the Year. After winning his 15th series championship, Force was named RACER'S Drag Racer of the Year for the ninth time with a whopping 79 percent of the vote.
"I love getting any award," Force told RACER editor David Malsher, "but when it's from public voting, that's extra special. I've won your Drag Racer award a few times, but getting the overall Racer of the Year is above that; it's like an extra reward not just for winning races, but for working hard. That's a giant compliment to everyone at John Force Racing.
"The last four years have been times of change at JFR," Force continued. "Since Eric Medlen's death, my big accident and working with the NHRA and PRO president Kenny Bernstein to make the cars safer, there was a lot to do before we could get ourselves into championship-winning form again.
"So, to have Robert Hight win the championship for us in 2009 (in the Auto Club Ford Mustang) and then for me to keep it in the JFR family for 2010 (at the wheel of a 25th anniversary Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang), that's huge for everyone here," Force said.
"Clearly, you guys noticed that and I thank you," he continued.
"I beat some great drivers to win the Drag Racer award, but to be Racer of the Year, ahead of all those Formula 1, NASCAR and IndyCar guys, makes me real proud and also shows what a big deal our series has become."
Johnson, who won his fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship last year, was named Oval Racer of the Year for the fourth consecutive time. Rebounding Will Power earned Road Racer of the Year honors for his standout season in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Force's drive to Racer of the Year honors is documented in the March issue of RACER Magazine which also features a full page congratulatory ad from Castrol, his primary sponsor for the last 25 seasons.
It was another in a series of firsts for the 61-year-old phenom who also was the first drag racer to win the USA Driver of the Year Award back in 1996. He will begin his 34th season on the NHRA pro tour when he defends his Funny Car championship in the 51st annual Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals (Feb. 24-27) at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif.