Brittany Force, Monster Energy team go down swinging in first round of Southern Nationals

Brittany Force, Monster Energy team go down swinging
in first round of Southern Nationals

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 7) – Brittany Force and her Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster team didn’t go down without a fight Sunday in the first round of the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

Force faced an uphill battle all weekend, starting with driving a re-tooled race car. After the race in Charlotte, her team returned to the John Force Racing shop in Brownsburg, Ind., to put a new front-half on the car.

Force needed as many passes as possible on the car, but rain canceled Friday’s two qualifying sessions. She ended up qualifying No. 16, which meant she had to race the No. 1 qualifier in the first round. That turned out to be eight-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher.

Force was up to the task, leaving first with a .072-second reaction time. But the Monster Energy car soon went up in tire smoke as the 10,000-horsepower machine overpowered the track; she didn’t record an official time. Schumacher had a mechanical issue and slowed to a 5.191-second pass at 139.36 mph, but he got the win light.

“Absolutely, we’re always going after it,” Force said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re in the No. 1 spot or the No. 16 spot, we want that ‘1’ at the end of the day. The Monster team, they’re fighters – all of us are. We’re going for that championship in the long run. We’ve gotten off to a rough start, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t turn out to be a good ending.”

Force started from the No. 16 spot for the first time in her career, but she was confident of a good day.

“I felt confident going in to today,” Force said. “I’ve got an awesome team behind me, awesome crew chiefs in Brian Husen and Alan Johnson. These guys have been hustling, and they have not stopped. They hauled the car to Indy in between races and getting it back here in time, I’m proud of them. I know how much they put into this car. We’re going to end up in the winner’s circle soon enough. It’s only a matter of time. We may be struggling, but we’ll claw our way out and move on up and end up in the winner’s circle.”

Force returns to the Monster Energy car for the next round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals on May 19-21 at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas.

4-Second Reads:
Elimination Run No. 1: NT, lost to No. 1 Tony Schumacher, 5.191 sec./139.36 mph; now 5-8 all-time against Schumacher
Force is now 6-7 this season in elimination rounds.
Force is now 2-5 at Atlanta Dragway in elimination rounds.
Force is now 93-96 in all-time elimination rounds.
Force will test her Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster later this week.