When Ashley Force Hood became pregnant this year and took a one-year sabbatical from driving her Funny Car, her father, John Force, had to restructure his three-car drag racing operation.
Force decided he would be the easiest domino to move while leaving the other parts of John Force Racing in place.
So he replaced Ashley on her team that last year won an event title and recorded the fastest run by a Funny Car over 1,000 feet at 316 mph.
Mike Neff, who drove one of Force's cars in 2008 and 2009, was moved into the cockpit Force occupied last year, the car for which Neff served as crew chief. Neff helped Force win six events and his 15th NHRA Full Throttle title.
When championship eliminations begin at 11 a.m. today in the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, only Robert Hight's team will be unchanged from the three that raced here in October.
The Force driver switch sounds like a simple one, but the personalities of father and daughter are polar opposites.
If a movie were made about Force's life, he could be portrayed by actor Gary Busey -- either before or after the 1988 motorcycle crash in which Busey suffered severe head injuries.
Force, who goes full speed all the time, contrasts to the much calmer Ashley, who in the movie could be played by attractive, sweet Sandra Bullock.
"It wouldn't be Gary Busey," said Force, a little miffed at the suggestion. "Mark Wahlberg should play me; he has muscles and good looks like me."
It's hard to tell when Force is kidding.
Humor, however, is lacking elsewhere in the Funny Car pits with the way the Force operation has dominated the first two NHRA events. Hight won the opener at Pomona, Calif., and Neff won three weeks ago at Gainesville, Fla.
Only the team elder has yet to get past the second round, and only because Force, 61, has been eliminated twice by Hight. Neff is first in points, Hight third and Force ninth.
Force was back on track Saturday when his last of four qualifying runs produced an elapsed time of 4.136 seconds at 309.27 mph to give him the No. 1 position before a crowd of 18,000. It is the 135th pole of his career and second in Las Vegas, where he has won three titles, including two last year.
Force now is paired with his daughter's crew chiefs, Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas. Antonelli said the biggest adjustment he has faced was not fitting Force for the car, because Force is wider and heavier than Ashley. It was the fact that Force moves around more at an event than a race car on an oily track.
"I was strictly a driver, but Dad also is the owner, so he has so much other stuff going on that my team never had to deal with," said Ashley, who arrived at the speedway Saturday.
For two days, John Force has scurried from meetings with sponsors and NHRA officials, doing interviews, hosting VIPs including members of comedian Carrot Top's family and negotiating a book deal about his life. And signing autographs in the pits and on the midway or wherever else a fan stops him.
"They could always find me," said Ashley, like at critical times when the team needs to warm up the Funny Car. "I had a schedule, and I was always there."
Antonelli was with Ashley when she started in Funny Car in 2007 and was on Force's crew for 12 years before that.
"They're both good communicators; John just communicates louder," Antonelli said as he laughed.
"John has so much going on. I knew what to expect. The rest of the team is adjusting to it. They're getting to know how John is as a driver."
Said Ashley, "My dad and the team just need some more bonding."
She was surprised at Pomona when she saw her name on the side of car and her father's name was in traditional positions for the driver above side windows.
"I told him my name on the car would just confuse fans about who's driving it," she said. "But he said it's still my car.
"I think the crew likes it, because having my name on the car brings some degree of normalcy to the team."
Force winning the pole helped do that, too.