Courtney Force heads to Atlanta with same outlook – Advance

Courtney Force heads to Atlanta with same outlook – Advance

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 2) – Courtney Force heads into this weekend’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., with the same simple approach as she has the last three races – advance past the first round.

Force has strung together three consecutive No. 1 qualifying efforts – all three set track records – but only advanced past the first round once: the SpringNationals Houston. An incident in Sunday’s Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., in which the car veered into the wall and disqualified her pass, ended her day in the first round.

“We have a car that is flying and really just needing to figure out how to get it fixed up for first round,” Force said after Sunday’s race. “We keep having this problem where it’s trying to spin down and I am hoping we can get it solved. I thought we did after Houston. We have a fast car, which isn’t a bad problem to have, but we just have to slow it down enough to get it through these rounds.”

The incident means she’ll race her spare car – one that was tested last year at Indianapolis, though the back half has been raced previously – in Atlanta. The primary car heads back to the race shop and will be ready for competition again later this year.

“I feel good about it because we have already tested with this chassis and body in Indianapolis a while back and we know this Camaro is good as well,” said Force, now seventh in Funny Car points standings. “The chassis didn’t look like it was in bad shape or anything but we are going to take it back and just check everything before we try and run a race with it.”

Going rounds at Atlanta hasn’t necessarily been a problem for Force. She’s won four of her five first-round matchups at the track and made it to the semifinals twice, including last season. Her best result came in 2014, when, despite qualifying No. 8, she made it to the finals before falling to teammate Robert Hight. Her elimination round record at the track stands at 7-5, with three of those losses against Hight or her father, seven-time Atlanta winner John Force.

Two sessions of qualifying for the NHRA Southern Nationals are scheduled for 4:15 and 6:45 p.m. Eastern Friday (highlights show at 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1), with two more sessions at 1:15 and 3:45 p.m. Saturday (highlights show at 1 a.m. Eastern Sunday on FS1). Elimination rounds are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday (highlights show at 6 p.m. Eastern Sunday on FS1).

4-Second Reads:
Courtney Force has competed in five NHRA Southern Nationals races at Atlanta Dragway, and every year since 2012.
Force has advanced to the final round of the NHRA Southern Nationals once – in 2014.
Force has a record of 7-5 in elimination rounds in the NHRA Southern Nationals.
Force’s best NHRA Southern Nationals qualifying effort was No. 3, in 2016.
Force is 4-1 in first-round NHRA Southern Nationals race matchups.
Force is currently seventh in the Funny Car points standings, having dropped two positions from the previous race.
In her career, Force has eight victories, 136 round wins, and 13 No. 1 qualifying spots.
Force’s most recent NHRA victory – 2016 NHRA SpringNationals in Baytown, Texas
Force’s most recent No. 1 qualifying effort – 2017 Four-Wide Nationals in Concord, N.C.
Force’s best time/speed at Atlanta – 3.915 seconds (2016 E1); 321.96 mph (2016 E1)
Force’s best time/speed of career – 3.838 seconds (2017 Phoenix Q1); 333.49 mph (2017 Gainesville Q4)