Words of Wisdom

Stan Creekmore


The words from Bill Bader, Sr. to his son Bill Bader, Jr. and most recently to John Force, 16X Funny Car Champion, are like whispers which hit like hammers.

“Put down the pen,” Bader, Sr. told his son Bader Jr. as he took over the position as the president of Summit Motorsports Park, one of the premier drag strips in the NHRA located just outside of Norwalk, Ohio.

“Put down the pen!”

John Force knows the edges of poverty. He grew up in a family which worked hard for just enough money to survive. Force's mind is constantly working overtime to ensure his wife, four daughters and three sons-in-laws don't face the struggles he faced as a child and a young adult.

Holding the “Pen” is how he keeps his world fed while living secure and comfortably.

Sitting in his office the day before the 2016 Spectacular Night Under Fire, Bader delivered the same message to John Force with a slight addition. There are times, he stated to Force, when you must put aside the fact your family is part of your business and just see and relate to them as those who, no matter what you do, love you and you need to openly love them back.

Wonderfully, there are already three members of the Force family who are never faced with their grandfather's rising voice and business structure. A tradition his daughters and wife would love to experience.

When the Spectacular Night Under Fire turned into a Disaster Under Wind, Rain and Lightning Force headed into the track's media center to thank Bill Bader, Sr. for his words to Bader, Jr. The two hugged and Force definitely was humbled. Force talked about going to one of his grandson's birthdays the next day to give him the turtle he was hoping to get. He hoped the family would let him in the door.

Underneath his smile, one could tell Force also was looking to be around his family and to let them know he was sorry, very sorry and loves them more than his own self.

(make sure you listen to the audio file to hear the words of Bill Bader, Sr. as he talks about “Putting down your Pen.)