Funny-car drag racer Ashley Force Hood is the daughter of 14-time national champion John Force and the first female winner in her division. Her music choices rang from soundtrack scores and hard rock to country and adult contemporary. She chooses a track that exemplifies her high speed sport and surprises us with the song she listens to before she races. She continues to break records as a female racer and will be in Pomona as part of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals November 12-15.
Raul Campos: Hey, this is Raul Campos from KCRW, and I'm here with funny-car drag racer Ashley Force Hood. She's the daughter of four-time national champion John Force and the first female winner in her division. I'm going to be playing some tunes that have inspired her over the years as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project. So Ashley, how are you doing? Welcome.
Ashley Force Hood: I'm doing great, thank you so much for having me on.
RC: Our pleasure. So what did you bring in for us today?
AFH: One of the first ones that came to mind that was an easy pick for me was "Adrenaline." It's by Gavin Rossdale. It was actually off a movie soundtrack, I think the movie was called XXX. The song just…I mean, every single word in the song perfectly describes my career -- what I do as a race car driver, as a drag racer. I race all over the country on the NHRE old throttle circuit. What we do, you know, we go over three hundred miles per hour and a thousand feet in right at four seconds depending how our run goes.
RC: That is amazing.
AFH: So our world is adrenaline and it's a rush and it's exciting and it can be dangerous at times, but we do it because we love it. We have a passion for it and so this song, "Adrenaline," I swear, it was written for our sport. It's the perfect song to describe how I feel about drag racing.
Song: "Adrenaline" by Gavin Rossdale
RC: That was "Adrenaline," by Gavin Rossdale, right here. Great song. What's this next one that we're going to hear?
AFH: This next one is by the Foo Fighters. It's called "Best of You." A couple years ago, in 2007, it was my first year moving up into funny car, in the category that I'm in now, and it was a big jump for me. I was very excited and just rearing to go and start this new chapter in my life. We have a race team of four funny cars and, in 2007, only three races into the season, my teammate, Eric Medland was in a racing accident and was killed. It was just a life turning moment for our whole team.
We decided to not give up, but instead to make a lot of safety changes. Six months later, my father was in an accident. My father has been racing for over 30 years and I've seen him in a million wrecks and crashes, fires and upside down and he's always walked away perfectly fine. This accident, we look back and we thank Erik that the things we did from Erik's accident saved my Fathers' life and will save many others. So this song…at the end of the year we do these fun videos and at the end of '07, this was the song that we picked to sum up our team. We had a very tough time and an emotional year, but the song "Best of You," it really summed up that this team did not give up. We kept trying. We stuck together, we became closer than we ever were before and we got through struggles that we hope no one ever has to go through. That's why I picked the Foo Fighters song and it's one of my favorite songs. It's a good song just to listen to, but for me, it kind of has a deeper side to it because it came along at a tough time in my life and really motivated me to not want to give up and to just keep going. You will run into tough times in life, but if you can get through those tough times, you'll be a stronger person because of it.
Song: Foo Fighter's "Best of You"
RC: It is KCRW.com, our guest DJ is Ashley Force Hood and she's selecting some tunes. So this next song is a classic from Garth Brooks, why the "dance"?
AFH: I had never really been a country fan and I met my, now he's my husband, but year's ago I met, well he was my boyfriend at the time. When I met him, he loved country music. He loves Garth Brooks, that's his favorite. When I heard the song "The Dance," I just loved that song. It's kind of a sad song, I guess, but a hopeful song. When I met him, it was only a few months before my friend and teammate Eric's accident, so this all kind of came at the same time. This song, it has many different meanings for me, but especially in our sport, in what I do, the danger and everything does kind of hang over everyone….that if you do want to do something bad enough, don't let those fears and the unknown stop you because you'll more regret that -- not following through something you want to do -- than making the other end of things I think I'd regret more to have giving up racing just because you might be guaranteed you'll be safer -- which you're never guaranteed that, anything could happen at any moment -- but I think that's the point of this song. Even in the music video of his, it shows just so many people who maybe did have sad endings, but yet what great lives they led and really big impacts they made and so I think we can all learn a lesson from that, and that's why I picked that song.
RC: It's a great tune so let's check it out. It's Garth Brooks, it's called "The Dance" and it's right here at KCRW.
Song: Garth Brooks' "The Dance"
RC: The next song we're going to hear is by Sting.
AFH: I picked "Fields of Gold." It really takes me back to some really fun times when you're a kid and it seems like life is just so easy and fun and simple. Your main goal in life everyday was to play, when you got up in the morning. There's a particular memory I have with this song. It makes me really think about summer when my dad used to race in Boise, Idaho. We don't race there anymore, but I remember being a kid and going there. That was one of our favorite places to go to and it wasn't even about the race, it was because the hotel had a pool. That's all we cared about was the hotel pool. My dad would go out to the track early, but my mom would let us stay and play and swim. My dad's crew chief and his wife, they would go with us. It's just so many fun memories. Now it seems like life gets so quick and busy and you've really got to plan to take those kind of trips, but as a kid we didn't have to worry about the scheduling. All we had to worry about was that we had our breakfast, we had our sunscreen on, and we got to swim and play all day. So, when I hear this song it always makes me think of that and makes me smile.
Song: Sting's "Fields of Gold"
RC: "Fields of Gold" by Sting. You know, I'm going to be singing and humming that all day long now, thank you very much. So I guess we should get into this final selection that you brought in for us. Explain this Thomas Newman tune, why this song?
AFH: It's from the Little Women soundtrack and I picked the main title from the movie. It's called "Orchard House." I listen to the CD all the time. It's not really a Christmas movie, the beginning of it starts out at Christmas time, but my sisters and I have always just played it at Christmas growing up. So, in our minds, it represents Christmas to us even though that's not really what the story's about, but we would always play it putting up our Christmas decorations, taking them down.
There have been times where I've been at the race getting ready to run and it's just a crazy day and I'll be on my iTunes and pop over to the Little Women songs. My crew guys, they laugh at me, like "What are you listening to before you run?" But it just makes me happy, it's kind of relaxing. So that's my pick.
Song: Thomas Newman's "Orchard House"
RC: From the Little Women soundtrack, music from Thomas Newman selected by our Guest DJ Ashley Force Hood. Thank you so much for bringing in these tunes.
AFH: Thank you guys so much for having me on.
RC: And for a complete track listing and to find these songs online go to KCRW.com/GuestDJProject.