LIMA — He’s the Wayne Gretzky or the LeBron James of drag racing. John Force may not be a household name, but the legendary racer is very familiar to those in the racing business and to students at the University of Northwestern Ohio. UNOH President Jeffrey A. Jarvis presented Force with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at a special ceremony at the UNOH Event Center, Wednesday. He was joined by current students, faculty, staff and special guests.
“I’ve met him a few times before but to be able to shake his hand again now and talk to him a little bit more it’s going to be pretty cool,” said Anastasios Kaidirmaoglou Jr., a High Performance Engineering student at UNOH.
Force is best known for his 16 Funny Car championships and 148 NHRA victories. Force’s first championship came in 1990, and he went on an incredible run of 10 consecutive titles from 1993-2002. His most recent championship as a driver came in 2013. In 2017, his teams took home the Top Fuel and Funny Car championships, earning Force his 19th and 20th championships as a car owner. His legacy continues to live on through the next generation of John Force Racing drivers including daughters Courtney and Brittany and son-in-law Robert Hight.
“His dedication, commitment, perseverance and drive to excellence serves as an outstanding role model for our students and we are honored to have Mr. Force become one of our family,” said Jarvis. “John Force is truly a wonderful role model and icon in the motorsports industry. He is not only a championship driver, but he embraces a love for the future of the sport which lies within many of our students today. John Force Racing has employed UNOH graduates for many years. It was an easy decision to honor a man that has had such a large impact in the racing industry, business community, and educational environment.”
“I’m really excited to be honored by the University of Northwestern Ohio. To be awarded an honorary doctorate, that’s pretty exciting. I was amazed when I saw this school. From the engine building opportunities that you have, fabrication of dynos, chassis, everything that you have,” Force said. “I don’t have to recruit from anywhere I’m just coming here with a bus the next time I come.”
Reach Sam Shriver 567-242-0409.