Courtney Force to compete in Funny Car

Courtney Force, the youngest daughter of 15-time NHRA champion John Force, will compete in Funny Car this season as a rookie, her father's racing team announced Tuesday.

Courtney Force, 23, spent the entire 2011 season traveling the NHRA circuit with John Force Racing and testing at most tracks in preparation for her debut season.

Veteran tuner Ron Douglas, who previously worked with Courtney's sister, Ashley Force Hood, will handle the crew chief duties for Courtney, along with Scott Wible.

Traxxas, a Texas-based company that makes radio-controlled cars, will be the primary sponsors for Courtney Force's Ford Mustang.

Courtney will join her father, her brother-in-law and 2009 Funny Car champion Robert Hight and Mike Neff as the four drivers for JFR in 2012.

Ashley Force Hood, who became the first woman to win a Funny Car event in 2008, is on a leave of absence from driving after having her first child last summer.

"This is what I've always wanted to do," Courtney said in the team statement. "To have my sister Ashley, my dad, my brother-in-law and Mike Neff teach me makes it that much better. I have the best teachers. I'm just going to learn all I can and see where it takes me."

Courtney is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton with a degree in communications, as her father insisted she complete her college education before allowing her to race full time. She has previously competed in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, winning at Seattle in 2009.

"Courtney proved she has the same competitive drive that's made her father successful, working her way through the Super Comp and Top Alcohol Dragster ranks," said Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. "We've only seen a small portion of what she's capable of achieving."

Terry Blount is a senior motorsports writer for ESPN.com.