Let the record reflect that for 16-time champion John Force when calamity rains, calamity pours.
Thursday, while enjoying a day at Lake Tahoe with his grandsons Noah and Jacob, Force was out for a walk with the boys and their 200-pound Leonberger, a breed which is essentially a Newfie, longhaired Saint Bernard, and Great Pyrenees mix.
Walking the dog, appropriately named Moose, can sometimes be a challenge. However, add two hunting dogs (one unrestrained) into the mix, and there was chaos on the walking trail.
“I’m not saying it was trying to kill us, maybe it was in heat, I don’t know, but it was all over our dog,” Force explained. “I was worried about my grandkids, and I just went into fight mode and tried to take the leash from Jacob because that dog just runs him around. I had a hold of it trying to get him back, but [the unrestrained dog] was after Moose. It scared me.”
In the scuffle, Force ended up falling over a log cutting his leg, arm, and neck. Just as Force got a handle on his bearings, Moose took off running, dragging the perplexed Force.
“Now my wife, she looks at it completely different,” Force explained. “What she took away from the incident is that I dropped five f-bombs during the struggle in front of the grandkids.
“Jacob set the record straight, ‘He only said four F-words, grandma.”
Force will admit it; he’s terrified of strayed dogs stemming from an incident he said happened in the 1970s when a guard dog took a chunk of flesh from his arm and sent him to the hospital.
“Not a care if I was dying or anything; I just had my life flash before my eyes,” Force said. “When that dog opened its mouth and showed teeth, they looked like werewolf teeth. I was shaken up pretty bad.”
Call it bad timing, but someone believed the very next morning would be the perfect time to pull a prank on the wearied Force.
The someone was the Fox Sports crew with Ron Capps as the accomplice posing as a track staffer, disguised with a thick, but fake mustache which completely fooled Force. They were looking to punk someone, and Force made an easy mark.
“I was trying to get into the track this morning for the mandatory meeting at 11:30 am,” Force recalled. “I pull up to the gate, I’ve been stressed, I’ve been on the phone, talking, coffee’d up like a wild man, and I see a lady tell me “go over there in the far lane.”
“I’m thinking, “what? That’s three lanes of traffic.”
She was setting up Force.
“I pull up to the gate, and I’m in a hurry, and I’m still on the phone. They asked for my ID, so I pulled it off and handed it through the door and then I heard this guy who walked up behind me. I couldn’t see him. I turned, and I could barely see his hat, and he wasn’t security or nothing. I said, “can you reach it?”
“He said, “no, you take it off.”
“I’m sitting there thinking, I’m going to be late for this meeting. I’ve got three minutes. Everyone’s calling me telling me I’ve got to be there. This guy goes, “this is no good for entry.”
“I said, ‘yeah, it is.” He said, “no, it’s expired.”
Force pleaded with the unrelenting guard, who was Capps in disguise. Capps took it one step further by calling Force a liar and pointing out his credential should be No. 1 and not No. 9.
Force went ballistic and exited the car, going after the “jerk.”
“I turned around, and he said, “this ain’t good,” Force said with a smile. “And I said, ‘well, it’s really me.”
Capps then went to the edge and grabbed Force’s hard card, and proclaimed, “Obviously you stole this. We’re confiscating this.”
Force exclaimed, “The f*** you are. Give me my s***,” and snatched his credentials from the in-shock Capps.
“Force, it’s me. Capps!”
Force calmed down, gave a minor smile, and headed to the meeting.
In a perfect example of no good deed goes unpunished, Force returned from the meeting and hopped on his scooter with the intention of going to apologize for his estimated 10 f-bombs leveled on the gate crew.
File this in the “You Can’t Make This Up” category, as Force pulled away from his pits his hat blew off, and instinctively he went to turn back when he caught a glimpse of a car headed right for him.
Force hit the pavement hard.
“Look at this leg. It’s my old broken one,” Force explained. “It’s swollen up. I can hardly walk; that’s why I’m limping. I got up, got my hat. Everybody came running over saying, “are you okay?”
“I went back to the gate, and they’re all standing there like “what the f*** happened?”
“I came over here to apologize, and I almost killed myself. I’m ready to go home. I’ve never been beaten up so bad in my life.”
In the end, it was Capps who said he had to find out the hard way just how bad the timing was.
“I’ve known John Force for a long time, and we’ve had our share on-track instances,” Capps said. “He’s probably one of my best friends out here. I’ve never seen him like he was when he came out of that car at the gate. I didn’t know when to stop and tell him this was a joke.
“When he put it in park and got out of the car, I knew he meant business. I didn’t know what to think.”
And just to think, it all started with a dog day afternoon.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019