In NHRA circles, they are Forces to be reckoned

Wed, May 5

In the official pecking order of sports trading cards, those depicting racing typically rank at the back of the pack. Way back. Past the big four sports, certainly, and probably past those picturing mixed martial artists, golfers and maybe even wrestlers.

Force Family
Courtesy of Press PassFor fans of NHRA, this card of the Force family is quite valuable. Yep, $600 valuable.

Go back and you'll finally get to NHRA cards, which make a blip on the pop culture radar with all the frequency of Halley's Comet (which is to say once every 75 years or so).

It's a sight to behold, sure. But most people go their whole lives without seeing it. Kind of like a $600 Funny Car card.

Leave it to John Force -- with a little help from his pedal-pushing progeny -- to pull off the unthinkable.

Force, who turns 61 this week, is a gregarious, profusely successful everyman who's come to define an entire sport during his 33-year career. He's a 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion who in 2010 is enjoying arguably the greatest season of his career. He's won three times in seven events so far and currently sits atop the standings with 616 points.

Perhaps even more impressively, he's reached a place of prominence in the sports collectibles universe too, thanks to a limited trading card from 2009 Press Pass Legends that includes Force's autograph (an in-demand but readily available commodity) and those of his three drop-dead-gorgeous daughters -- Ashley Force Hood, Brittany and Courtney -- who've followed their famous father into the driver's seat of the family business.

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