The women will be racing, and Muldowney says that, unlike Danica Patrick in NASCAR, the NHRA women will also be competing.“Danica Patrick is sometimes a marketing tool for NASCAR, and I would not put Courtney or any of these girls in that category,” she says.At a time when motorsports were less about finances, sponsorships and technology, Muldowney started as a street racer in the late 1950s and worked her way up through the sport to become the “First Lady of Drag Racing.” In 1976, Muldowney became the first woman to win the NHRA Spring Nationals and later became the first driver, male or female, to take three World Fuel Championships, in 1977, 19.
“I’m thankful that I had all my Simpson gear on to help protect me during my explosion during Friday qualifying,” Force said.“I’m proud to see them out there, with their necks on their line.The boys better get used to it because we’re here to stay.” Although Courtney and John Force both admit that their family’s equipment, financial backing and training have helped drive their success, neither can deny the role of women in the NHRA and the sport of drag racing."The NHRA was the first to accept women, and I'm one of the only ones in the world that has competed against men, and beat them! "We're in a man’s sport and they were ugly to me in the beginning, so I'm glad to see the girls today." The top women of the NHRA—including Force, Erica Enders-Stevens, Alexis De Joria and others—have experienced the association’s embrace of females as competitors in a way that other motorsports, and other mainstream sports, have not.Just as football has the Super Bowl, and NASCAR has the Daytona 500, the NHRA has its prestigious, pinnacle event: this Labor Day weekend, the regular season culminates with the 60 annual U. Nationals, drag racing’s premiere race, held at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.John Force recalls a giant banner in one the family’s shops that Courtney received after her win at the Sonoma Nationals.“There were a lot of other women who helped her get to that 100 win, and their pictures were all on the banner.” Courtney Force knows there aren’t many sports in which she—and the women before her—could compete on a level playing field with their male counterparts.Force and Rahal have been dating since 2013, and the two first met because Courtney sent Graham a message on Twitter looking for interesting places to go in Indianapolis. Congratulations are in order for Verizon Indy Car series driver Graham Rahal and NHRA driver Courtney Force, who announced their engagement on Thursday, Nov. Rahal, 25, drives for the IZOD Indy Car Series, and Force drag races for John Force Racing.Force, who hails from California, became the 100th winning female driver in Funny Car NHRA history when she proved victorious at the Kansas Nationals this past May.The racing power couple hasn’t set a wedding date yet, but took to social media to share some adorable engagement pics Force showed off her new bling.