BAYTOWN, TX – What a difference a year makes. After failing to make the Top Fuel field at this event in 2013, Brittany Force’s Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster rocketed straight down Houston Raceway Park’s drag strip with a 3.85 second pass at over 317 mph in the first qualifying session. Force ended up in the No. 3 spot after the opening round of qualifying at the NHRA Spring Nationals. She also picked up a NHRA Mello Yello Performance Bonus Point for being the third quickest during the first session.

“It feels good to come out to Houston Raceway Park, and on the first pass end up running a 3.85. We ended number three and got a bonus point for that which is pretty exciting,” said Brittany Force.

On the second qualifying run, Brittany’s performance slightly improved; as she ran 3.846 seconds at 321.27 mph. Even with the performance improvement her Castrol EDGE Dragster slipped out of the top half of the field and into the provisional No. 9 spot. However, the ever positive Brittany Force was still happy with the performance of her dragster and the team’s efforts.

“Our second run out, it cooled down quite a bit later in the evening, as there was 40 minute oil down ahead of us. We ran a 3.84 so we improved and I couldn’t be happier for the Castrol EDGE team,” said Brittany Force.

With two solid and consistent runs under their belts, crew chief Todd Smith and Dean “Guido” Antonelli have the necessary and valuable data needed to tune the 10,000 horsepower BOSS 500 engine for Saturday’s two qualifying sessions. The team will also dial-in the clutch so the Castrol EDGE Dragster will not overpower the tricky track surface.

“To have an awesome first run out the door, which was a great pass and then improve from there, says a lot about where we’re heading. Especially from last year as we didn’t even qualify and it was such a bummer. I feel we’re in a much better place than last year, and can’t wait for tomorrow,” said Brittany Force.

The Traxxas Ford Mustang piloted by Courtney Force will be the only JFR Funny Car carrying a qualifying time over to Saturday. The third year driver and three-time tour winner posted a 4.413 second pass at 213.50 mph and it was quick enough to secure Force the provisional No. 11 spot. With conditions looking to be equally hot tomorrow times could improve and the Funny Car class could see some movement.

Robert Hight and the AAA Texas Ford Mustang smoked the tires on both runs today but it did not discourage the Mello Yello points leader.

“It puts you behind the eight ball a little bit for tomorrow. I think we just had some clutch things bite us a little bit today,” said Hight, who has four final round appearances in a row so far this season. “Mike Neff and this whole AAA Texas team will get it and we’ll be fine. Tomorrow is what the conditions will be like for Sunday. Tomorrow is the day we really need to do well.”

Hight’s best time of the day 5.403 seconds at 135.08 mph was only the 15th quickest Funny Car run of the day. Hight along with teammate John Force and Alexis DeJoria, the top three drivers in the points, will have to establish times quick enough to race on Sunday.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force also struggled to get his Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang down the track today at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals. The delicate racing surface at Houston Raceway Park had crew chief Jimmy Prock struggling to get Force’s Funny Car set up just right. Unfortunately, after two sessions, the results were identical, as the massive Goodyear slicks lost traction at approximately 600 feet, and the winningest driver in NHRA history had to abort each run.

“It was tough out there today. This track is tricky for all the teams and we had to go up early in the second session. Come tomorrow, Jimmy Prock, Danny DeGennaro and the rest of the team will get this hot rod running,” said John Force.

Force will not carry a qualifying time into Saturday, but the seasoned veteran has been here many times before and has come back to claim a berth in the top-half of the field. Force is also looking to break his drought, as he hasn’t won the NHRA Spring Nationals since 2002.

For now, John is very pleased with his daughter Brittany’s performance in today’s qualifying and the reaction of the nitro enthusiasts in the stands as she blasted down the track with 3.85 and 3.84 second runs.

“I am proud of that Castrol EDGE dragster. I am glad to be here in Texas with these great fans. We’ll be ready to get after it tomorrow I promise you that,” said John Force.