Defending Four-Wide Nationals winner Brittany Force hopes to strike again in Charlotte

Defending Four-Wide Nationals winner Brittany Force
hopes to strike again in Charlotte

Photo Credit: Gary Nastase and Auto Imagery

CONCORD, N.C. (April 25) – As the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads into the second of three consecutive weekends of racing, defending Four-Wide Nationals winner Brittany Force looks for her first victory of the 2017 campaign.

Force, driving the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster, enters this weekend’s event at zMAX Dragway sixth in Top Fuel points. Force’s best result this season was a final-round appearance in the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix. Last weekend’s NHRA SpringNationals was only the second time in the last 13 races she failed to win at least one round in competition.

But the return to the Charlotte-area facility boosts confidence in the Yorba Linda, Calif., native. In four previous attempts, she has made it through to the semifinals three times. In last year’s race, she was the first finisher in all three of her rounds – each of which included eventual Top Fuel champion Antron Brown.

“Charlotte is one of my favorite tracks, and I love that we go there twice,” Force said. “Winning there last year is something I am very proud of, because pulling up to three other cars in the lanes is tough – it’s not easy at all. You have to adjust to that. To win the thing is pretty awesome, and something we definitely want to do again this year. The fans in Charlotte are awesome; just the whole facility is beautiful. I’m excited to get back there. Hopefully we’ll get another win there this year.”

One of the most important elements of each session will be lane choice. While lane choice is key at other tracks, there are added challenges for the Four-Wide. The outside lanes are the easiest, Force said, as the middle lanes require extra focus, with cars on each side and multiple Christmas Trees. Therefore, the importance of elapsed times in qualifying and reaction times in the races is heightened.

“When you’re in Lanes 2 and 3, you’re looking all over the place,” she said. “It’s all about keeping your focus. You have to look at the right Christmas Tree, stay in the game, not get caught off-guard. It’s hard not to get lost – a lot of drivers do it because we only do one race like this a year. Friday and Saturday, I’ll go up there before qualifying and look at the tree, and that’s the best way for me to get comfortable before I go out and race.”

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:
Brittany Force has competed in four NHRA Four-Wide Nationals races at zMAX Dragway, and every one since 2013.
Overall, Force has competed in eight NHRA Funny Car races at zMAX Dragway.
Force is the defending Four-Wide Nationals winner in the Top Fuel category. She has made it to the semifinals or further in each of the last three seasons.
Force has a record of 5-3 in elimination rounds in the Four-Wide Nationals and 6-7 record at the track.
Force’s best qualifying result for the Four-Wide Nationals was No. 3 last season. Her best qualifying attempt at zMAX Dragway was No. 2, in last Fall’s race.
Force has a 3-1 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, three times in four first-round attempts.
Overall, Force has a 4-4 record in the first round at zMAX Dragway.
In her career, Force has three victories, 93 round wins, and six No. 1 qualifying spots.
Force is currently sixth in the Funny Car points standings, down one spot from fifth from the previous race.
Force’s best time/speed at Charlotte – 3.729 seconds (2016 2 Q2); 325.61 mph (2014 1 Q2)
Force’s best time/speed in Four-Wide – 3.734 seconds (2016 E1); 325.61 mph (2014 Q2)
Force’s best time/speed of career – 3.676 seconds (most recently 2016 Topeka Q2); 331.53 mph (2015 Reading Q1)