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|Courtney Force talked shop with some of the IndyCar drivers during an off-week stop at the Indianapolis 500.|
I've had a pretty exciting week since our last NHRA race in Topeka, Kan. My family and I flew home as quickly as possible to see my sister, Ashley, and her husband, Danny, and to welcome my new nephew, Noah William Hood, to the family.
I was very fortunate to make it home in time to meet the new baby considering I only had about 24 hours before I had to hop back on a flight to start a two-week trip.
I flew to Dearborn, Mich., where I got the opportunity to tour the Henry Ford Museum, take in all of the history and learn how the Ford Motor Company began.
Seeing "Sweepstakes -- The Race Car that Changed Everything," was the highlight of the tour for me because it has so much history behind it.
I got to take a ride in a Model T through Greenfield Village, tour Ford Racing Headquarters and see the new Ford Fiesta. They even let me take it for a spin!
I met the staff behind the Ford Driving Skills for Life program, which was very cool because I'm in my third year as the spokesperson for the initiative.
We had a packed schedule, but we managed to make it over to AutoWeek Magazine where they showed me a sneak peek of their upcoming issue. Then we headed to Indianapolis to start the weekend.
Typically I'm racing each week, but somehow I always find myself at a race track, even when we don't have an NHRA race. I'm a fan of many types of racing, and I like to see different drivers in other forms of motorsports having fun and enjoying their jobs like I do. I headed for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Carb Day and ended the night at a dirt Sprint Car race in Gas City, Ind.
At the 500, I swung through the media center and talked some racing, toured the paddock and got to watch the final practice. Before practice I got to hang out with Chip Ganassi and his teams. It was so fun to hang out in their trailers and talk NHRA drag racing with legendary IndyCar drivers like Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Alex Zanardi.
Chip pulled me into their conversation, saying, "Courtney, you've got to hear this story ... Alex, tell it again," and Alex told us about his first NHRA experience. He said after being at the oval track next door to where we were racing, he was curious to see what all the noise was over at the drag strip. He explained how it affected him when one of our cars took off. He told us he was blown away by the run until he realized it was just the burnout! He watched a full run and said he got emotional from experiencing the power of our cars, which was amazing to hear. We talked about a lot of differences between Funny cars and Indy cars.
It was a blast to hear all of the questions and comments coming from a group of guys who I admire and look up to. I hope I get to make it back to the 500 next year!