BRITTANY FORCE LEADS TOP FUEL AT US NATIONALS; FUNNY CAR FORCES No. 2 AND No. 3
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Aug. 30, 2013) – Top Fuel rookie Brittany Force came out of the gate strong on day one of qualifying at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis as she claimed her first career provisional No. 1 position.
Following a week of testing at the Indy track and making several changes, the Auto Club Road to the Future contender made a quick 3.82 second pass to top the highly competitive Top Fuel class. Despite having some tough competition behind her in qualifying, Force remained confident that she could remain the top seed after her strong run. Sister Courtney Force claimed her first career No. 1 qualifier last season at this same event in Funny Car.
“I’m so excited!,” Force said. “I was definitely feeling good about coming out here this weekend and making a run tonight. I’m so excited about it! My guys have been working so hard. This Castrol EDGE team has had its struggles and to come out here and end up No. 1 qualifier our first day out is really exciting. That was such a good run for us. Yeah, I was hoping it would stay No. 1, but I knew I had some tough guys behind me, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much. I definitely kept my fingers crossed for that one. We definitely made some changes coming into Indy. We have John Medlen on board and Jimmy Prock is also helping. I still have Dean Antonelli and Eric Lane and I think with all of them I think we’re going to be moving in the right direction.”
Force also believed being able to test out these changes prior to the event had a lot to do with tonight’s success.
“Just making that one run makes me feel more comfortable. I tested last week so I think that makes me feel that more comfortable in the seat. I’m just familiar with the track that you know the right lane pulls you inward. Having those five, six passes I made last week and the one tonight it makes me feel a little bit more comfortable as a driver. It sets me at ease and really lets me get in my car and do my job,” Force continued.
Just like any rookie team starting out, they have their ups and downs. The 27-year-old Yorba Linda, California native and her entire Castrol EDGE team have remained strong. Force still has her eye on claiming her first career win and shows no signs of letting up.
“This Castrol EDGE team, we’re going for our first win. It doesn’t matter if it’s the biggest race of the year, we’re going for it. It is our rookie season and that’s what we’ve been fighting for this entire year, is going for our first win. I’m hoping we can do it at the biggest race of the year. Like I said, we’ve had our ups and downs and it’s tough to get beat weekend after weekend and it’s hard to stay motivated. But one thing at John Force Racing is everybody supports the entire team. After going out first round or not qualifying, our Castrol GTX or Auto Club or Traxxas teammates would come over and talk to my crew guys, crew chiefs and myself and tell us ‘keep your head up. It’s going to get better. You’re moving in the right direction.’ That’s always been helpful. Now it’s starting to pay off.”
While Brittany was leading the way in Top Fuel four-time U.S. Nationals champion John Force was starting his quest for a fifth Funny Car title with the second quickest run of the day. Force’s Castrol GTX Funny Car crossed the finish line in 4.087 seconds beside his daughter Courtney Force.
“We got our cars right up in the top. The dragster made a great run with Brittany and Castrol with the all-new operation. Brittany went to the top with that run and it stayed, but it’s Indy and it’s early,” said Force.
“Three Fords in the top three spots and that’s what they pay us to do. I’m excited about it. We put a lot of work into all of this. Testing went really well for our Fords and we were the quickest there. There are a lot of runs left for this weekend so we’re looking forward to it and we’ll see what happens.”
Courtney Force made a great run today to kick-off the Chevrolet Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals, one of the biggest races of the season, known as the “Big Go” among NHRA racers and fans.
Force posted a 4.088 ET on her first of five total qualifying passes, putting her No. 3 going into Saturday. Force is right behind her father, 15-time champion John Force in the No. 2 spot and fellow Ford driver Bob Tasca III on the pole.
“We had a great first run out here tonight. It was nice to have a night run to start off the U.S. Nationals here in Indy. Going up against my dad the first lap out was really exciting. Honestly, the coolest thing was pulling up, seeing that Christmas Tree and the first thing I thought of was that Snake and Mongoose movie I saw last night. It got me all fired up and excited to race my dad. There is something about this race track and the U.S. Nationals and knowing about the legends of our sport, the Snake and Mongoose, and being able to live it here today,” said Force.
Last year, Force picked up her first Funny Car career No. 1 qualifier award at the U.S. Nationals.
“I’m in the No. 3 spot so far today which is great for our Traxxas Ford Mustang team. My dad outran me by .001 of a second so it was definitely a close race down at the end. We had a 316 mph race car so we have a great car, we just have to figure out how to make this hotrod leave quick early and I think we’ll have a pretty good car this weekend. I’m excited that we’re in the top half of the field, we picked up a bonus point and we’ll see if we can improve tomorrow.”
“It’s exciting to see that the top three cars are all Fords- Tasca, my dad and me. It really goes to show that the Fords are running good and are the ones you need to watch out for,” said Force.
Two-time U.S. Nationals champion Robert Hight and the Auto Club team will go into Saturday’s second day of qualifying as the No. 12 provisionally qualified team. Hight and crew chief Mike Neff will begin working on a race day tune up that will keep them in the Top Ten as the regular season wraps up this weekend. Hight’s Ford Mustang Funny Car clicked the lights in 4.166 seconds at 300.20mph.