Starting with Houston, Monster Energy driver Brittany Force seeks results in upcoming three-race stretch
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 18) – The on-again, off-again race-weekend rotation for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series finally turns into a stretch of three consecutive races, beginning with this weekend’s NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway.
And it couldn’t come quicker for Brittany Force, driver of the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster for John Force Racing.
The Yorba Linda, Calif., native seeks her first victory of the season and first at the Houston-area track. With back-to-back-to-back races coming up – the SpringNationals is followed by races in Concord, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga. – Force said now is an opportunity to finally get on a roll.
“I’m definitely excited to get to Houston,” Force said. “For me, I like races that are back-to-back, right in a row. It’s less time out of the seat, and you’re right back in it a few days later. I’m more comfortable that way. I’m excited that Houston kicks that off, and then we go three in a row. We’ll go to Charlotte Four-Wide, where we won last year, and Atlanta after that. I’m anxious to get there and get on a roll, especially coming out of Vegas.”
Her race weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway may be a turning point in the young season, despite the results. Following a No. 4 qualifying position, Force won her first-round matchup but struck the tires in the second-round race and lost.
That second-round matchup was only the sixth pass she made following an array of significant adjustments to the car – particularly to the clutch, cockpit and seat. Those changes were made in an effort to produce more comfort, and give her and the team a baseline setup for future races.
“We made some adjustments in the seat and we can leave it where it’s at and I know it’s going to make things better,” Force said. “Now, it’s just getting comfortable with the new setup we have for me and moving forward with it so I can only get better from here.”
Force hopes to improve on her current fifth-place standing in the points by reversing a disappointing trend at Houston. In three races at the track, she has made it to the quarterfinals twice, falling both times. But she has won all four of her first-round matchups this year – and 11 of 12 dating back to last season – and has qualified in the top half of the field in seven consecutive races, including No. 4 three times this season. That bodes well for her confidence, she said.
“That’s a huge accomplishment to start off your year qualifying in the top half of the field and getting past that first round,” Force said. “First round is definitely tough, and there’s lots of pressure on it. Going out in the first round will add up when it comes down to the wire and getting in that Countdown (to the Champoinship). That’s exciting for us, and we plan to continue that and even go further than that.”
Two qualifying sessions are slated for Friday (5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Central) and Saturday (2 and 4:30), with final eliminations slated for Sunday at 11 a.m.
Fox Sports 1 will broadcast three hours of eliminations starting at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Brittany Force has competed in the NHRA SpringNationals three times, and every year since 2014, the first year she competed in the event.
Force is seeking her first career finals round matchup in Houston this weekend. She has made it to the quarterfinals twice.
Force’s record in elimination round races in the Las Vegas spring race is 2-3.
Force’s best qualifying position at the NHRA SpringNationals was No. 7 last season.
Force is 2-1 in first-round NHRA SpringNationals matchups.
In her career, Force has three victories and 93 round wins.
Force is currently fifth in the Top Fuel points standings.
Force’s best time/speed at Houston – 3.761 seconds (2016 Q1); 327.82 mph (2014 E1)
Force’s best time/speed of career – 3.676 seconds (twice, most recently 2017 Phoenix E1); 331.53 (2015 Reading Q)
Crewmember Ben Lacher celebrates his birthday Thursday, April 20.