Advance Auto Parts driver Courtney Force heads to Charlotte seeking first Four-Wide Nationals victory

Advance Auto Parts driver Courtney Force heads to Charlotte seeking first Four-Wide Nationals victory

CONCORD, N.C. (April 25) – Courtney Force brings her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car to this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in search of her third consecutive No. 1 qualifying spot and first victory of the 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

The quickest in qualifying at both the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, Nev., and last weekend’s SpringNationals in Baytown, Texas, Force and the Advance team made significant progress on Sunday by making it to the semifinals. The only driver to beat her on race day – teammate Robert Hight and his AAA Texas Chevrolet Camaro SS.

This weekend’s Four-Wide Nationals brings about a different format and a host of challenges unique to this event – four cars on track at a time instead of two; the opportunity to try each of four lanes in qualifying once only; and the multiple Christmas Trees. The chances of making mistakes increases, Force said, so making adjustments quickly and relying on team input are key.

“It’s very challenging to all the drivers, teams and crew chiefs,” said Force, the No. 1 qualifier for the race in 2015. “It’s a completely different format you are trying to get your head around. The fact that you only get one shot in each lane during qualifying is a little bit of a challenge for everybody because you have to figure out these lanes quickly.

“This is pretty much a crew chief race, really. These guys have to work hard to figure out these lanes quickly, and I know our team is capable of doing it. We’ve been there before; we just need to adjust when we get to the track, and we need to be ready to go.”

The Four-Wide Nationals would be the perfect race for Force to gain her first victory of 2017. In addition to coming off a semifinals appearance in Texas, Force will have the support of top Advance Auto Parts executives at the race. Advance Auto Parts has a Corporate Store Support Center in Raleigh, N.C., about 150 miles from the track.

“It definitely puts a little added pressure, but I’d love to take that Wally for Advance,” said Force, fifth in Funny Car points standings. “This is their home track, and we want to show them what we can do. Looking forward to the weekend, and I’m excited because I know there will be a lot of people from Advance headquarters coming out to watch us race.

“We’ve got a great hot rod, and we’re ready to go some rounds. We’re looking forward to the 40,000 horsepower and all the fans that will be coming out that way.”

Two rounds of qualifying are slated for Friday and Saturday, with final eliminations 12 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. Fox Sports 1 will provide qualifying coverage at 7 p.m. Friday, midnight Saturday, with elimination coverage Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

4-Second Reads:

Courtney Force has competed in five NHRA Four-Wide Nationals races at zMAX Dragway, and every one since 2012.
Overall, Force has competed in 10 NHRA Funny Car races at zMAX Dragway.
Force is still seeking her first career finals appearance of any race at zMAX Dragway. She made it to the semifinals of last year’s Four-Wide Nationals and has made it as far as the semifinals of the Fall race at the track.
Force has a record of 1-5 in elimination rounds in the Four-Wide Nationals and a 4-10 record at the track.
Force has qualified No. 1 once at zMAX Dragway, for the 2015 Four-Wide Nationals.
Force has a 1-4 record in the first round of the Four-Wide Nationals. Or to put it another way, she has advanced to the second round, or defeated at least two of three opponents, once in five first-round attempts.
In her career, Force has eight victories, 136 round wins, and 12 No. 1 qualifying spots.
Force is currently tied for fifth in the Funny Car points standings with teammate Robert Hight
Force’s best time/speed at Charlotte – 3.934 seconds (2016 2 Q4); 322.81 mph (2016 2 Q4)
Force’s best time/speed in Four-Wide – 3.960 seconds (2016 Q3); 320.97 mph (2016 E1)
Force’s best time/speed of career – 3.838 seconds (2017 Phoenix Q1); 333.49 mph (2017 Gainesville Q4)
Force will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at the Advance Auto Parts store at 5130 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28217.
Car chief Tim Fabrisi rejoins the team this weekend after a one-race absence. He skipped the NHRA SpringNationals last weekend in Houston for the birth of his second daughter, Hope.