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Old 12-06-2006, 10:52 PM   #1
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A Serious Blow to Cynicism

This is why I am a big time fan of John Force. This one gets right here if you know what I mien...

A Serious Blow to Cynicism

AutoWeek | Published 12/06/06, 8:52 am et

Drag racers are not known as particularly touchy-feely, oh-just-hug-me-Ralph, let’s-go-see-Fried Green Tomatoes people. They don’t admit the existence of anything resembling feelings, let alone display them. Such a thing could be construed by their opponents as weakness and result in being pounced upon and devoured.


In the press room just after the 2006 NHRA season wrapped up, in fact minutes after it wrapped up, Funny Car pilot John Force stopped in the middle of his usual manic victory speech and addressed newspaperman Louis Brewster directly. Brewster has been sports editor for the San Bernardino Sun and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin for years and is the highly regarded dean of local sportswriters. Outwardly he is a perfect mix of gregariousness and cynicism, able to lampoon even the most poignant moment from the safe confines of his pressman persona. For this he is loved by us all; he helps to make four days in a press room breeze by.

So what was Force doing now? You never know with Force. Earlier in his career you just listened to him go, trying hopelessly to connect the nonsequiturs. But in recent years he has become more thoughtful, almost philosophical. Force had just won his 14th Funny Car championship and had begun the usual entertainment road show that passes for an interview when he suddenly stopped and focused on Brewster.

“An’ Louie, ah jes wanna say, about yer son…”

His son? I had first seen Brewster’s son in the press room maybe seven or eight years ago, a teenager coming in to visit his dad at work. Three years ago I’d seen snapshots Brewster had of his son serving in the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan. I’d been afraid to ask how he was.

Force took the trophy he’d just won—known as a Wally in honor of NHRA founder Wally Parks—the most prized possession a drag racer can hope to win, and silently handed it to Brewster.

Last May the helicopter carrying Army Sgt. Bryan Allen Brewster and nine others went down in mountainous terrain along the Afghan/Pakistan border, killing all aboard.

Force gave Brewster a big man-hug and went on out the door. Other reporters offered condolences to Brewster one by one as the evening went on and they filed their stories and went home.

Later that night the darkened Pomona Fairplex was all but abandoned save for some cleanup crews and a small handful of writers diligently filing away. Tony Schumacher, who had also just won a championship and a Wally for his remarkable come-from-behind victory in Top Fuel, came in. With no fanfare and almost no one there to see it, Schumacher handed his trophy to Brewster. Brewster thanked him as he had thanked Force, as he had thanked all of his media colleagues one by one. If there was a dry eye in the place it was on a camera.

Brewster then went back to his keyboard and tried to type out a story. It was a story about drag racing.
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Old 12-07-2006, 12:31 AM   #2
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I've only seen him a couple of times on the tube. He seemed like a very down to earth guy who is normal in every way. That's ^ a good story. I like reading tid bits like those above. Good guy.
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:30 AM   #3
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Great story!

I'd like to meet Force someday. There aren't many like him left today.

I was, and still am, a HUGE fan of Dale Earnhardt Sr., and like Force, he was all about racing, winning, and the money was "just something that came from it." Dale Sr. got alot of negative press for his tactics on the track, but having the GREAT fortune to have met him three times, and speak to him, he truly was a great man, who cared for and did a huge amount for those in need. And, he made sure the press would keep his generosity quite, as he didn't want the publicity.

Force belongs in the upper-class, with Earnhardt, Petty, etc.
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