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Race Car Driver Ashley Force Hood Emcees Front & Center Gala

December 23, 2008

By Debra Cano Ramos

Ashley Force Hood

Cal State Fullerton graduate and professional Funny Car driver Ashley Force Hood is stepping into the driver’s seat as emcee of Front & Center, the university’s annual fundraiser Feb. 28 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Force Hood admittedly is more comfortable behind the wheel of a dragster and accelerating from zero to 330 mph in 4.6 seconds, but she is looking forward to hosting the evening gala, which features Reba McEntire and raises money for student scholarships.

“It‘s a great event that will be a lot of fun and will help many students accomplish their dreams," Force Hood said.

The 26-year-old earned a bachelor's degree in communications in 2004, spending weekdays studying and weekends racing. She said her degree has paid off, especially in preparing to handle the media — and herself in front of an audience.

“College not only teaches you about your degree, but also skills in following through and being prepared, and these skills are helpful throughout life no matter what path you take,” Force Hood said.

As one of few female dragsters, Force Hood has gained plenty of attention on and off the raceway. She has done scores of media interviews, delivered motivational speeches, made TV and public appearances, worked as a spokesperson, appeared in print ads, and was one of the stars of the A&E Network reality series, “Driving Force.”

She is the daughter of John Force, a 14-time National Hotrod Racing Association Funny Car champion and drag-racing icon. Her two sisters, Brittany, 22, a Cal State Fullerton student, and Courtney, 20, also are drag car racers. Their mother, Laurie, is licensed to drive competitively as well.

When Force Hood takes center stage at Front & Center, she plans to put her college degree to work and show a video about her racing team: “The video will help guests to see and hear it,” she said.

Force Hood earned her first NHRA Funny Car win in April, beating her legendary father in the NHRA Southern Summit Nationals in Georgia, and also became the first female driver to win in the NHRA Funny Car division.

In October, Force Hood was named Female Athlete of the Year from the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation. In 2007, she was awarded with the Automobile Club of Southern California “Road to the Future Award,” in which she was recognized as NHRA Rookie of The Year.

Force Hood, who grew up in Yorba Linda, married Danny Hood on Dec. 13.

For more information about Front & Center, visit

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