Driving Force (TV series)
|This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (November 2007)|
|Theme music composer||Wolfmother|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||24|
|Running time||22–26 minutes|
|Original release||July 17, 2006– May 15, 2007|
Driving Force is an American reality television program which premiered July 17, 2006, on A&E, and ended on May 15, 2007. It was centered on champion drag racer John Force and his daughters, also drag racers.
John Force is one of the most dominant drivers in drag racing, having compiled 119 career victories and 13 NHRA championships by the start of the show's first season (he has since increased these totals to 138 and 16, respectively, as of the 2013 NHRA season). The show is reality-based, following John in his day-to-day life of juggling his business and his personal life. His wife, Laurie Force, managed contracts for his racing team, most notably landing the Wendy's restaurant sponsorship. When their children were born, she decided to be a stay at home mom, to give their daughters a more traditional upbringing. John and Laurie's daughters are (ages during season 1):
John's oldest daughter, Adria Force Hight (wife of John Force Racing driver Robert Hight), was born from a previous marriage, and while not featured on the series, has managed the finances for John Force Racing since she was 20 years old. However, now the three younger daughters have decided to follow in their father's footsteps, competing as drivers for his company. Ashley, named Rookie of the Year in Top Alcohol Dragster, now competes in the third John Force Racing Funny Car. Brittany and Courtney compete in lower-level classes.
The show centers mostly around John Force now reconnecting with his daughters, having missed much of their younger childhoods due to his career. Now that his company has become one of the leading companies in the racing series, he wants to spend more quality time with his family. In doing so, he often becomes frustrated with his daughters' spending sprees, believing that they do not understand the value of money. In one episode, he takes them to the trailer where he was raised in relative poverty, pointing out his happiness there due to his loving and hard-working parents.
Ashley is fiercely competitive, and a talented driver. Brittany is the most rebellious of the three. She and her father clash often, but ultimately it becomes obvious that he respects her spirited nature. Courtney races because she enjoys it, but doesn't let it control her life at the cost of her school activities. All of his daughters insist that an education should come before racing, a notion reinforced by Laurie.
Although the series has the backdrop of the racing circuit, and his full support of his daughters career choices, it takes on a comical side when showing him trying to reconnect with being a father, and his often comical reactions to being the father of four very spirited and strong-willed girls. The show debuted on July 17, 2006, and gained steady momentum.
The show begins with a montage, with a voice-over by Force stating: "You know, I've been racing for 30 years . . . I've won 13 championships . . . I've been on fire from here to Australia . . . but NOTHING . . . could prepare me . . . for having daughters." After Force won his 14th Funny Car Championship, the opening changed accordingly.
The series was renewed for a second season, but A&E confirmed that the show would not return for a third. The season 1 DVD is available on the John Force Racing website.
Criticism over Season 2 premiere
Season 2 premiered March 27, 2007 to criticism from some fans due to a racing accident just prior to its airing.
On March 19, 2007, John Force Racing driver Eric Medlen crashed heavily and suffered severe head injuries during testing a day after the Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Florida. Medlen died on March 23 after being taken off life support. It was later learned a tire failure and side-to-side oscillation in the crash which caused the fatal head injuries, a problem which Force and driver safety group president Kenny Bernstein have been working to fix.
The entire motorsports community was in mourning and Medlen's memorial service was being held March 27, with an official funeral being held the next day.
Some fans criticized the decision to continue with the season premiere on its scheduled day, instead of delaying the premiere of the second season temporarily and replacing the episode with a Season One episode featuring Medlen as a tribute.
Season 2 was dedicated to Medlen. The series ended with its 24th episode, "The Real Deal", on May 15, 2007.
At a press conference on September 12, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina, John Force announced the hiring of JMI, Octagon, and Rogers & Cowan Marketing and Entertainment Companies to help rebrand John Force Racing after losing Castrol and Ford as sponsors after the 2014 NHRA Season. Part of the rebranding effort will include a revival of Driving Force, though under a different name, and focusing more on Courtney and Brittany than the previous iteration of the show.
- Olson, Jeff (12 September 2013). "NHRA driver John Force rebooting reality TV series". usatoday.com. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "John Force, "King of Speed"". Driving Force web site. A&E Network.
- Official site - Ashley Force bio
- Official site - Brittany Force bio
- Official site - Courtney Force bio
- Official site - about the show
- A&E message boards