During the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame banquet, Laurie Force was honored with the Pat Garlits Memorial Award presented by Mopar. Force is the wife of 16-time Funny Car champion John Force and mother to NHRA stars Ashley Force Hood, Brittany Force, and Courtney Force. She has been present in the drag racing world for over four decades. The award was presented in recognition of Force’s dedication behind a drag racing dynasty whose dedication and passion embodies the spirit of Pat Garlits, all while also being the wife of John Force.
“In the early days, Laurie wrote my first contracts, mixed fuel, and backed the race car up. She was with me from the beginning and there is no doubt I would not be where I am today without the support and love of Laurie,” said a proud John Force during the ceremony.
The Pat Garlits Memorial Award is named in honor of Don”Big Daddy” Garlits’ late wife and was first presented in 2014 to Barbara Hamilton, the first woman licensed by NHRA to drive supercharged cars in 1964. In 2015, Joan Gwynn received the award for her contributions to the drag racing community as a supportive wife of 57 years to drag racing legend Jerry Gwynn, mother to racer Darrell Gwynn, as well as her charitable work with the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, and especially for her involvement with the Drag Racing Association of Women (D.R.A.W.) which has helped injured drag racers and their families for over 30 years.
Pat Garlits passed away in Feburary of 2014. She had stood beside her husband as he amassed too many awards to count and set more records than any other drag racer in histroy. The legendary racer and innovator claimed that no matter the awards and accolades he received over his career, the best day of his life was when he saw Patricia Louise Bieger for the first time in 1952. The couple had been married for over 60 years and Garlits was faithfully by her side until the end of her life.
“She loved her man with all her heart, body, and soul and never thought of anyone else but him. She was at dad’s side through every win, loss, crash, you name it, she was there,” said daughter, Donna, is Pat’s obituary.
During the ceremony, a tribute video produced by Ashley Force Hood was shown including interviews with Ashley, Brittany Force, Courtney Force, and John Force.