Brittany Force ready for changes to Monster Energy car after Charlotte defeat

Brittany Force ready for changes to
Monster Energy car after Charlotte defeat

Photo Credit: Gary Nastase and Auto Imagery
CONCORD, N.C. (April 30) – The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season has been a bit disjointed for Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster driver Brittany Force.

Force started well, reaching the final round of the second race, at Phoenix. But an issue with the race car caused it to be rebuilt, and NHRA made a rules change to the frame as well. That led to some struggles, capped by a first-round defeat in the Four-Wide Nationals on Sunday at zMAX Dragway.

Now, perhaps, Force will start a new part of the season, as her John Force Racing team will essentially build a new race car for next week’s race and beyond.

“We are making some changes going into Atlanta,” Force said. “The car is a little stiff and a little heavy since we made some changes in Phoenix. So, we are going to front-half it and hopefully get it figured out by Atlanta.”

Force has still been fast this season, as she’s qualified in the top half of the field in all six races. But she’s not been able to translate that into consistent success on race day.

In Charlotte, Force came into the Four-Wide Nationals as the race’s defending winner, and she qualified No. 7. After a quick pass in the Saturday heat, Force was confident in her team for final eliminations.

Force lined up against No. 2 qualifier Doug Kalitta, No. 10 qualifier Terry McMillen and No. 15 qualifier Chris Karamesines in the first round of the unique four-wide format. That turned into three-wide after Karemesines had some mysterious problems on the starting line and had to be pushed off.

But Force smoked the tires almost immediately and could only watch as Kalitta and McMillen sped to the second round. The official numbers: 9.446 seconds at 80.41 mph.

“It’s definitely frustrating from my point of view and of my team standing right behind me,” Force said. “We put so much into this car this weekend and to just blow the tires right off of it right at the hit – you just have no shot at it at that point. I tried to pedal it but I could see two cars ahead of me so I knew there was no chance.”

Force and her team return to Brownsburg, Ind., to work on her race car before racing in the NHRA Southern Nationals next weekend at Atlanta Dragway.