INDIANAPOLIS – Courtney Force is one of the fastest women on Earth. The NHRA Drag Racing star is quite comfortable behind the wheel of a Funny Car and is in control of her own destiny, having exceeded speeds of 313 miles per hour.
On Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, however, Force admitted she was quite nervous. She was standing in the pit area of her fiancé, Graham Rahal, as he was attempting to chase down Will Power for victory in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Rahal started 17th and zoomed his way through the field to take the lead three times for nine laps. In the final 19 laps, Rahal’s Honda chased Power’s Chevrolet — with Power eventually winning the race by 1.5023-seconds over Rahal, who scored his second-straight second-place finish in a Verizon IndyCar Series race.
As an NHRA star, Force can handle the pressure. As an IndyCar driver’s fiancé, she struggles with the pressure of a situation she has no control over when Rahal is on the track.
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“It’s so nerve-wracking,” Force told FOXSports.com immediately after the race. “Being a driver myself I know what he’s going through – the ups and downs. In this sport, I’m standing over here sweating and shaking. I’m not a very good spectator myself but it’s so exciting to watch him do an amazing job as a driver. He is just getting better and better every weekend. It’s great to watch him and it’s exciting to celebrate here in Indy here with friends and family.
“I know he has got to be excited.”
Graham Rahal is the son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal, who also happens to own his IndyCar team along with television’s David Letterman and Chicago industrialist Michael Lanigan. Force is the daughter of NHRA Drag Racing legend John Force.
Both Rahal and Force have grown up in racing and have taken up their father’s profession for themselves.
The couple, who are planning their wedding for this fall, live in Southern California. Courtney’s last IndyCar race was the April 19 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach when she watched Rahal finish 12th. She was not on hand for Rahal’s second-place finish in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama but was able to attend Saturday’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Force won’t be able to watch Rahal in the 99th Indianapolis 500 because she will be competing in the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Kansas.
She looks forward to being in control of her car in that contest and admits she’s not a good spectator.
“I’m totally helpless,” Force said. “I wish there was something I could do. It’s so exciting being able to cheer him on from the sidelines but like I said, I’m not a very good spectator but I don’t know how to drive these IndyCars, either, so it’s exciting to be here to cheer him on.
“This is the best finish I got to see him have in person. I saw him do well in Alabama but only from the TV I was watching from in Houston, Texas. It’s exciting to be here in person and see him do so well.”
Force watched her fiancé celebrate on the podium along with GP of Indy winner Power and third-place finisher Juan Pablo Montoya as the trio sprayed champagne on the crowd below the stage. But Force wanted to celebrate afterwards with one of the famous products of Rahal’s sponsor.
“It’s so exciting watching Graham in his car,” Force said. “He’s doing a great job. He can drive the heck out of that car and it’s so exciting to watch for me being on the sidelines.
“I think we’re going to go celebrate with some Steak & Shake milkshakes after this I’m so excited.”
Be sure to catch Bruce Martin’s Honda IndyCar Report on RACEDAY on FOX Sports Radio every Sunday from 6-8 a.m. ET.