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Team Force is Fueled by Arizona

Chandler, ARIZ. (February 28,2017) – To some working on a NHRA Top Fuel Funny Car team would be a dream job come true.  For two young Arizonians, that’s exactly what happened when they were picked up by John Force Racing.

Narciso “Nacho” Bravo

Meet Narciso “Nacho” Bravo and Chris Menapace.  Nacho works on the John Force Racing Advanced Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car driven by Courtney Force and Chris works on the John Force Racing AAA of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car Driven by Robert Hight.  Both of them are from right here in Arizona.  They each have their own uniquely interesting story about how they arrived at where they are in the motorsports career.

Nacho was born in San Luis, Mexico and immigrated to the United States when he was a child.  After growing up in Yuma, Nacho moved to Tucson in 1996.  During the recession in 2008, Nacho sold his prized 1971 big block Chevelle so he could go to UTI (Universal Technical Institute) in Avondale to learn the fundamentals of automotive technology.  Of the 2,214 students at the time, Nacho was the Student Council President.

Being a fan of NHRA drag racing, Nacho took advantage of being in the Valley to attend the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, formerly Firebird International Raceway.  Not having a lot of spare cash, Nacho would clean the parking lots at the track on Saturday’s for free passes to Sunday’s NHRA final elimination rounds.

With all of the students in the same area looking for a job in the same field, Nacho found it tough to find employment.  After raising the issue with the educators at UTI, they created a maintenance position for him so that he could complete his education in automotive technology.  Nacho impressed the staff at UTI and his position became permanent.

Nacho shows his family around Courtney Force’s Top Fuel Funny Car at the 2017 NHRA Arizona Nationals

A couple of years into his career at UTI, Nacho was told to mark off an area of the UTI parking lot to park a tractor trailer.  Nacho guided the truck to where it was to be parked.  After arriving at the reserved space, Nacho saw that students had moved the cones and parked in the reserved area.  All but one of the cars in the reserved area had parking permits and their owners were contacted to move their their cars.  Nacho was trained for the situation of not being able to locate the owner of a vehicle needing to be moved and waited a long time to be able to utilize it.  Nacho picked the car up with a fork lift and put it in the furthest parking space.   Nacho had been waiting to do that “for a while.”

The truck parked and two men got out of it.  The truck was being dropped off and the men were waiting for their ride.  Nacho offered them a tour of the UTI campus while they waited.  One of the gentleman from the truck asked Nacho what he was doing the following weekend and he explained that he was going to the NHRA races.  He told him that he would be cleaning the parking lots on Saturday so that he could watch the races on Sunday.  The gentleman told Nacho that he didn’t have to clean the parking lots to go to the races and asked if Nacho would like to volunteer for his race team.  Nacho just saw the man as a trucker and said “Dude, you ain’t got no race team.”  The man told Nacho that he did in fact own a race team.  Nacho asked who his driver was and the reply was “Me. Cruz Pedregon.  Two time World Champion.

Nacho volunteered on Pedregon’s NHRA Top Fuel Funny Car team in 2010.  After completing his education at UTI he began working full time with Pedregon’s team.  Nacho worked with Pedregon and Don Schumacher Racing before moving on to Team Force in 2015.

Nacho’s current position of Courtney Force’s Funny Car is building racks and servicing the bottom end.  He enjoys being a part of John Force Racing, but most of all he enjoys the competition and the “thrill of the fight” between all of NHRA’s Top Fuel Funny Car teams.  He says that he enjoys going into work everyday.

Nacho says that drag racing is a “total team sport” where you’ll go out there and try your best” and “find our real quick whether you’ll win or lose.”  The team prepares as best as they can before each and every run.

Every couple of months Nacho likes to look back and reflect on the “body of work” that he and the team have created.  The miles driven, the wins and losses, the competitors.  “Every run has its own little charm.”

At just twenty years old, Chandler’s Christopher Menapace is one of the newest members, and youngest members of John Force Racing.  Christopher started with John Force Racing on December 1.  He is currently a floater on Robert Hight’s Top Fuel Funny Car.

Christopher Menapace helps service the engine on Robert Hight’s Top Fuel Funny Car between rounds.

Christopher began racing Jr. Dragsters when he was 10, racing at Firebird Raceway/Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.  Christopher worked his way up and obtained his Super Comp license in a car he borrowed from his uncle.

During High School, Ruckman Brother’s Racing’s Bob DeVore gave Christoper his first opportunity to become part of a race team. Christopher was offered the opportunity to crew on an Alcohol Funny Car.  He later became part Jerry Darien’s crew for his A/Fuel Dragster, completing his Junior and Senior years of High School online.

While travelling, Christopher just happened to run into Robert Hight in an airport.  The started talking to kill the time.  After the chance meeting, Christopher asked Jerry Darien to contact Robert for him to see if there was an available position on the team.  Christopher was picked up by John Force Racing and was assigned as a floater of Robert’s team.

After each run Christopher helps take the blower off of the engine.  He is in charge of servicing and inventorying all of the ignition parts on the car.  When not  performing his primary tasks he assists other team members with their responsibilities.

Christopher is excited to have become a part of John Force Racing.  He is looking forward to the season and is hopeful the team gets its first win in the near future.

Christopher would some day like to become a Crew Chief on a race team.  He’s certainly off to an early start.

Best of luck to the both of you in your careers at John Force Racing.

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