A fine line between dad and boss

Courtney Force is out to show her dad that she's fearless and ready to compete. Courtesy of Courtney Force

When your career takes you out on the road, it’s always changing and exciting. But it also requires a lot of patience, especially your first season out. I’ve taken on a full load this year and although it seems like a lot, I love every second of it!

However, things can become challenging when you have to work with your dad 24/7.

I love my dad and he has taught me everything I know about driving an 8,000-horsepower race car, but we definitely tend to clash at times because we’re a lot alike. Dad has a hard time walking the fine line between being my boss and being my dad, and it sometimes causes problems, especially at the racetrack.

Dad is a lot to handle as it is with his loud and charismatic personality, which, don’t get me wrong, is what we all love about him. But with that comes an overbearing, overcautious and overly worried parent. He does the best he can to make sure I’ve learned everything about driving the car, but he still finds it necessary to feed me advice 24 hours a day -- literally. Whether we are at the airport, on an airplane, driving out to the racetrack or even pulling up to the starting line while I’m strapped into the seat of my race car. For him, it always seems like the right time to give me a word of advice.

I’ve learned a lot from him, but there comes a point where I just need to get out there and experience it for myself and learn from my mistakes. I may not be perfect and I’m definitely not the perfect driver, but Dad’s so afraid of me not doing well that he forgets it’s just my rookie season and I will make mistakes. I just need to take it in, reflect and go back out there without making the same mistake twice.

When it came to a head-to-head matchup between me and Dad in the first round of eliminations at the first race of the Countdown to the Championship, there was a lot of pressure. At the same time, it’s so cool to have that moment. I find myself taking in everything I’ve learned. Just being out there racing against my dad, who inspired me to become a race car driver is huge, but most importantly, we’re out there to just have fun.

Dad and I used the time before the first round to play mind games and to try to find ways to throw the other off their game. For example, when I coughed, Dad immediately says, “You know, if you’re getting sick, as your boss I would be OK with you sitting out first round.” He knew I felt fine and he just wanted to see if I would take him up on his offer. We had a lot of fun messing with each other, but at the end of the day, we knew that one of us would advance and the other would be loading up their car on the trailer.

Being in my rookie season, I’m so proud of how far my team has come. Having to compete against my dad can be tough. At the moment I’m pulling up to the line, I’m thinking about how I want him to stay safe, but focusing on getting that win light for myself and my team. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the job done when my car smoked the tires on the hit, but I was still happy for him to advance into the second round.

Dad’s a handful to work with and it’s always tough losing to him, but it’s just another lesson learned. I’m nervous, excited, fired up, and ready to show him I’m fearless and ready to compete. I’m ready to prove to everyone else that I’m out here to win!

We have our moments, but at the end of the day, he’s always there for me. Whether I win or lose, he’s got my back and is the one standing next to me and my team, encouraging me to get back out there the following weekend and to learn to not make the same mistake twice. I’m so excited to get this Countdown to the Championship rolling and to see how far we can push our race car. Although it’s going to be a lot of time spent with Dad full of advice, pressure, nervousness and excitement, I wouldn’t want my life any other way.