Monster Energy driver Brittany Force falls in NHRA Nationals quarterfinals in Las Vegas

Monster Energy driver Brittany Force falls in NHRA Nationals quarterfinals in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (April 2) – Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster won a first-round matchup in Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before falling to Leah Pritchett in the second round.

The race was the fourth on the 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series calendar.

Force – who qualified No. 4 this weekend – advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Steve Faria in the opening round with an elapsed time of 3.762 seconds at 329.26 mph, to Faria’s pass of 4.505 seconds at 180.96. It marked her best pass of the weekend and the first time she had faced Faria.

That was success in itself, as the team made significant changes to the clutch package following Saturday’s qualifying sessions.

“Qualifying was tricky was for us; we only got down the track once out of four runs, and that’s tough going into race day, and pulls your confidence down a little,” said Force, now fifth in Top Fuel points standings. “The team made some changes, and we came out in the first round and were able to go right down the race track. I had a good light there and we have to keep swinging for that.”

In the second run against Pritchett, Force made a good launch but struck the tires moments later, while Pritchett went straight down the track and took the win. Officially, Force was credited with a pass of 4.872 at 153.39 mph. Force is still looking to make it past the quarterfinals in a race at Las Vegas.

“Wish we could have done the same in the second round, but our day ended early,” Force said. “But we made a lot of changes this weekend – especially in the cockpit, for me, and the clutch. To be able to get to the second round is pretty good for us, and we’ll keep moving forward.

Force’s team will test Monday at The Strip, seeking further input on changes they made to the cockpit earlier this weekend.

“The good thing is that the changes we made to the cockpit are staying,” Force said. “We’re not changing anything there; we’re done. We can only move forward from that and get better. I’ve only had six runs in the new setup. We’re going to do some testing tomorrow, and everything takes time. It takes seat time, takes experience, and soon it will feel like home in there – that will be my car.”

The next race is the NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, just outside Houston, on April 21-23.