33rd NHRA Arizona Nationals
Friday, Feb. 24-Sunday, Feb. 26
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park at Chandler, Arizona
FS1: Qualifying – Midnight ET Saturday (taped), midnight ET Sunday (taped)
FS1: Eliminations and finals – 6 p.m. ET Sunday (taped)

Chevrolet Drivers Looking to Capitalize on Success at Recent Phoenix Test

DETROIT (Feb. 22, 2017) – Courtney Force and the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team backed up blazing numbers recorded in preseason testing during the 2017 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) opener two weeks ago in Pomona, California.

Now the John Force Racing driver seeks to ride momentum and her Camaro’s quickness into the winner’s circle this weekend in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Force claimed the No. 3 qualifier spot at Auto Club Raceway for the Circle K NHRA Winternationals and advanced to the final round for the 19th time in her 120-race Funny Car career. Earlier in the month during Nitro Spring Training at Wild Horse Pass, she posted a run with an elapsed time of 3.804 seconds – an unofficial Funny Car national record.

Matt Hagan, who defeated Force in the final round of the Winternationals, holds the Funny Car elapsed time record of 3.822 seconds. Force’s teammate, Robert Hight, holds the Wild Horse Pass elapsed time (3.905 seconds) and speed (327.11 mph) records, set in 2016 in the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS.

“We’re hoping that our Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS is going to be able to put down the same kind of numbers we did in testing,” said Force, who was the No. 2 qualifier and fell in the semifinals to her father, John Force, last year at the Arizona racetrack. “Can’t wait to get back there and see if we can take home that win.”

Force is second in the Funny Car standings following the first of 24 rounds on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. She beat her father in the semifinals of the Winternationals, ending an eight-loss steak to the 16-time Funny Car world champion.

“Dad definitely beat up on a me a little bit all last season,” she said. “His car was flying, but I definitely have a good feeling about this season. Especially after Pomona, we were able to get that win around him. It was a close race in the semifinals, but we managed to do it, and it makes me really proud of my team and makes me feel more confident.

“We’re already off to a great start. I know Dad’s team is getting into a rhythm this year, so I’m sure it will take them a little bit of time, and he’s definitely going to be one to watch out for. It’s a great start for our Advance Auto Parts team and hopefully it’ll be a great weekend for JFR.”

That includes Brittany Force in the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster, who was the Top Fuel runner-up at Wild Horse Pass in 2016 and went on to win the next race on the schedule. Force recorded the third-quickest time in Top Fuel testing at the scenic Arizona racetrack earlier this month.

“I think everything we put together for testing we’ll put toward the setup for this weekend,” said Force, who advanced to the quarterfinals in the opener at Auto Club Raceway. “It’s nice to be back at a track you were recently at. We made 10 or 11 passes, so it will be nice to have some familiarity.”

Pro Stock driver Jason Line also used the 2016 event at Wild Horse Pass as a springboard to season success. Line, who drives the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS for KB Racing, claimed the victory – the first of eight over the course of the 24 races – and went on to post his third Pro Stock world championship. Line started defense of his title with a win over teammate Greg Anderson in the Winternationals final.

“It’s important to start off well, but it’s just as important to win as many races as you can,” said Line, who in the opener recorded his 50th career No. 1 qualifier honor. “Opportunity doesn’t keep knocking. It’s also important, mentally, to remain positive – and that’s much easier to do when you’re winning.”

Chevrolet drivers, who won 23 of the 24 Pro Stock races in 2016, carried that success into the 2017 season. Chevrolet won all the rounds in eliminations, with two-time Pro Stock champion Eric Enders (Elite Chevrolet Camaro SS) and Bo Butner (Butner Auto Sales Chevrolet Camaro SS) joining Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) in the semifinals.

Dan Fletcher, who will drive his Chevrolet COPO Camaro in the Stock Eliminator category, seeks to become the third driver in NHRA history with 100 victories. Fletcher, of Churchville, New York, has 99 Sportsman wins over his 20-year career.

FOX Sports 1 will telecast eliminations and finals starting at 6 p.m. ET Sunday.

Chevrolet will welcome fans to its Chevrolet Performance Display during the weekend. It will include numerous award-winning Chevrolet production vehicles, examples of Chevrolet engines, and a selection of performance parts and accessories that are available for fans to purchase from their local Chevrolet dealer.

ROGER ALLEN, CHEVROLET RACING NHRA PROGRAM MANAGER: “Chevrolet drivers started the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series on a strong note at the Winternationals, with Jason Line of KB Racing beginning defense of his Pro Stock championship with the victory in the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS and Courtney Force reaching the Funny Car final round in the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS. John Force, the No. 2 qualifier, advanced to the Funny Car semifinals at Auto Club Raceway, while Greg Anderson, Bo Butner and Erica Enders also reached the semifinals in their respective Chevrolet Camaro SS. Courtney Force had an exceptional preseason test at Wild Horse Pass and her sister, Brittany, was the Top Fuel runner-up at the event last year in the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster. We look forward to all the Chevrolet drivers contending for event wins this weekend.”


BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET TOP FUEL DRAGSTER: “I love racing at Phoenix. I’ve raced there in a lot of different cars there and been successful. Obviously, last year we made it to the finals, and then the next race, we won at Gainesville (Fla.) in the Gatornationals. It’s a good spot for us, and this year, we want to take it all the way. I think everything we put together for testing (earlier this month at Wild Horse Pass) we’ll put toward the setup for this weekend. It’s nice to be back at a track you were recently at. We made 10 or 11 passes, so it will be nice to have some familiarity.”

JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK COOLANT & MOTOR OIL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “These ol’ race cars are starting to come together. I’m excited. I couldn’t get past Courtney (Force) and the Advance car (in Pomona), and she almost got by (Matt) Hagan (in the final). We’ll go into Phoenix positive. I love Phoenix and have won a lot of races there. Brittany (Force) was runner-up there last year with Monster Energy. We’ve got to focus on that Auto Club car and get them up in the points, but it’s early in the season. We’re all a little nervous and we want to be our best.”

ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “What I’m looking forward to most at Phoenix this year is getting back on track. We didn’t have a good start out at Pomona. My team has worked during the off week to get geared up and more like our teammates (John and Courtney Force), who had a good showing at Pomona. I’m excited to get back on track at Phoenix. We need to win that race and get back in this fight. Can’t wait to get there.”

JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “If you’re going to be in a spot, you might as well be No. 1. It’s a good place to be, but it’s too early to think about where you are in the points. My goal is to go there and try to do the best job of tuning the engine and driving the car. That’s what will get you a checkmark in the W column, and that’s my only focus. I can only worry about the things I can control.”

GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “Right now, we’re just breathing a sigh of relief that we got through the weekend in Pomona and executed very well. We didn’t have much of an advantage, but we made real good runs with the Summit Racing Chevy Camaros. It was a total team effort, and that’s what it’s going to take this year. It’ll be tougher and tighter, and there will be a lot of different race winners this year. You’ll have to be on your game in every aspect. It’s a little bit of a different landscape this year, but that’s OK. It’s good for the class, and it makes for exciting racing.”

TANNER GRAY, VALVOLINE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “With every pass we get better. The more seat time, the better feel you get, the more you can feed back to the crew chief and crew. I just need more laps so I can get better in the seat.”

DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN RACING, RAY SKILLMAN AUTO CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “We didn’t have the start to the season we wanted at Pomona, but fortunately it’s only one of 24 races. We were trying some stuff because we knew we were a little down on power with the car setup, and not power really. We made some bad calls early and we got behind the eight ball. We’re confident that the Gray Motorsports-prepared Chevy Camaro SS will be up to the challenge at Wild Horse Pass.”

BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER AUTO, BUTNER AUTO SALES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “We did pretty well in Pomona – qualified No. 3 and went to the semifinals – so that meant that we were No. 3 in points heading into Phoenix. That puts you at the back in qualifying, and I think we were the second-to-last pair. That’s a good feeling, to get to start out that way, and we had a good run. We wondered if it would hold up, but it did. That right there told me a lot about the KB Racing team and what kind of equipment they give me to work with.”

JEG COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM ELITE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “I am very excited to drop the hammer on our Chevy Camaro at Wild Horse Pass. We had a very good test there the week of Pomona as well as a nice debut in Pomona at the NHRA season opener. The new car feels fantastic and our race-winning team is ready to hit the track. As a group, we are capable of lighting four win lights for the race win this Sunday and with Erica (Enders), myself and Vincent (Nobile) we have three legitimate shots at it.”

ERICA ENDERS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “The track can be good, depending on the weather, and it can also be tricky if the dust gets stirred up. We already tested there a lot this year so we’re ready for anything. This year I’m feeling we can really do something special so maybe we’ll be celebrating with the fans in the winner’s circle again.”

VINCENT NOBILE, MOUNTAIN VIEW RACING, MOUNTAIN VIEW TIRE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “We expected to perform better in Pomona, but we are looking forward to Phoenix. We tested there prior to the season starting and the conditions should be similar, so we are going to give it our all.”

Chevrolet Teams and Drivers at the NHRA Arizona Nationals
Funny Car
Event Notes
John Force
John Force Racing
PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS
Eight-time winner at track; semifinalist in 2017 opener.
Courtney Force
John Force Racing
Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS
Runner-up in 2017 season opener; second in points.
Robert Hight
John Force Racing
Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS
Holds Funny Car track ET and speed records set in 2016.

Top Fuel
Event Notes
Brittany Force
John Force Racing
Monster Energy Chevrolet Top Fuel Dragster
Finalist in 2016 event; quarterfinalist in 2017 opener.

Pro Stock
Event Notes
Greg Anderson
KB Racing
Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS
Runner-up in 2017 opener; semifinalist in 2016 event.
Jason Line
KB Racing
Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS
Won event in 2016; won 2017 opener as No. 1 qualifier.
Chris McGaha
Harlow Sammons Racing
Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevrolet Camaro SS
Runner-up in 2016 event; placed seventh in 2016 Countdown.
Vincent Nobile
Mountain View Racing
Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro SS
Quarterfinalist in 2017 opener; fifth in 2016 Countdown.
Bo Butner
Jim Butner Auto
Butner Auto Sales Chevrolet Camaro SS
Semifinalist in 2017 opener; placed fourth in 2016 Countdown.
Drew Skillman
Ray Skillman Motorsports
Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro SS
Two-time winner in 2016; placed sixth in Countdown.
Shane Gray
Gray Motorsports
Gray Manufacturing Tech Chevrolet Camaro SS
Quarterfinalist in 2017 opener; third in 2016 Countdown.
Erica Enders
Elite Motorsports
Elite Chevrolet Camaro SS
Semifinalist in 2017 opener; two-time Pro Stock champion.
Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Elite Motorsports Elite Chevrolet Camaro SS
Only driver in NHRA history with wins in seven different classes.
Matthew Hartford
Hartford Racing
Total Seal-CIP1-Nitro Fish Chevrolet Camaro SS
Competing in second event of season; seeking first national victory.
Kenny Delco
JCM Racing
JCM Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS
Two-time semifinalist in 2016; competing in 151st Pro Stock event.
Val Smeland
DVS Racing
DVS Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS
Competing in second event of season; seeking first national victory.
Tanner Gray
Gray Motorsports
Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro SS
Making second Pro Stock start for team owned by father.

Super Stock
Ray Martin
Sage Management Chevrolet COPO Camaro
Bryan Broaddus
DNB Engineering Chevrolet COPO Camaro

Stock Eliminator
Al Corda
Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Chevrolet COPO Camaro
Dan Fletcher
Peak/K&N/Denso Chevrolet COPO Camaro