BRIAN CORRADI - JOHN FORCE'S MECHANICAL VOICE OF REASON
Brian Corradi has had his share of Funny Car personalities to tune for.
He's tuned for the colorful Dean Skuza, turned the wrenches for Frank Pedregon, and even Pro Modified champion turned U.S. Nationals winner Mike Ashley. Last season Corradi tuned Courtney Force to 11 number one qualifiers, and four victories in six final rounds.
Never has Corradi had an assignment the likes of which he's been given this season.
Corradi now has the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time); a driver with 149 career race wins, and 1311 round wins, and a whopping 16 NHRA Funny Car titles. He is tuning the legendary John Force.
Such an assignment could come with a measure of intimidation.
"He doesn’t intimidate me; I want to give him a good car because that’s what he deserves," Corradi said. "For as long as he’s been out here driving, 45 years, that would be the pressure, and the pressure’s directly on my shoulders to make sure that he runs well, and he’s safe. You know, other than that it doesn’t bother me. Him having all those championships, that’s what he deserves. He deserves to have a car that kicks ass. Now, where can I get him to kick would be another thing because he is getting a little bit older. But you know what, for a 69-year-old guy, the way he gets in and out of that car, I’m shocked."
Corradi, at least in testing, has had his driver, the most decorated in the sport, on a short leash. On runs during the first two days, Corradi hit the kill switch on Force's engine during runs where it appeared the car was dropping cylinders.
Corradi isn't shy or intimidated about taking the wheel remotely.
"Hell no. He doesn’t scare me." Corradi said with a smile.
"He clicked me off; It dropped a hole on the hit," Force added with a smile, knowing even the legendary Austin Coil didn't give him the hook.
"I said, ‘It always picks a hole up and goes.’ He goes, ‘No, Force.’ I think he thinks he’s going to hurt me. I told him, ‘It ain’t your fault if you hurt me because I do pretty good myself," Force said. "Bottom line. But he clicked it off on that run; it ran a .94. That was my first full pass. We never got past half track because he wouldn’t let me. Give these crew chiefs the power, I think they want to be drivers, and they control the driver. But he does it because he can see what’s really going on and a lot of times we don’t know that it drops a hole. But he clicked it, it ran 311, and it ran .94."
Corradi and his assistant Danny Hood, a throwback to their days with Mike Ashley, have been tough on their driver, whipping him into fighting shape. At this point in his career, Force, when being compared to fictional boxer Rocky Balboa, is the equivalent of Rocky 6.
"They want the car at a certain weight, this Peak Chevrolet, going to make it a contender," Force said. "I’m still 55 pounds overweight, because Courtney, she’s 70 pounds lighter than me. She’s 120-125, but I got it down to 192, and I’ll get it to 189. I may have to cut off my hair and shave my armpits; you know what I’m saying? But I’ll get there; I’m really close. I’ve been doing really well. So our doctors gave me a good deal to get back in the fight."
Being in the corner of drag racing's most prolific fighter, a rags to riches legend, Corradi knew what to expect when he accepted the assignment to make Force a contender for title No. 17.
"It’s just like I thought it was going to be," Corradi said. "A little bit of this, and a little bit of that and we’re going to work our way through it. It’s an honor to work for him. I just hope I can provide him with a good car,a competitive car, because since I started racing, he’s been racing. That’s why I was out here. I remember when I would come to the track I left my family at home, and I was here to beat Coil and Force, that was it.
"That is all I thought about through the years. Personally, I was motivated because they were the best and you want to beat the best."