Monster Energy’s Brittany Force continues
championship drive from No. 5 spot
MADISON, Ill. (Sept. 30) – The battle for the NHRA Top Fuel championship continues Sunday in the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, and Monster Energy driver Brittany Force intends to be in the thick of the battle.
Force qualified No. 5 and will be gunning for her second consecutive victory in the Countdown to the Championship. She won last week in Reading, Pa. – following a semifinal finish in Concord, N.C. – and is third in the Top Fuel standings.
“I’m feeling good going in to tomorrow,” Force said. “I have a strong team behind me with (tuning consultant) Alan Johnson, (crew chief) Brian Husen and the entire Monster Energy team.
“We need to go rounds tomorrow. That’s our main goal. We need to get past that first round and take each run at a time. We’re going after the championship, and it continues tomorrow.”
Force’s best qualifying pass came in the final session when she made a run of 3.690 seconds at 329.34 mph – earning one bonus qualifying point for being No. 3 in the session.
“We finally made a decent run down the race track – it was an awesome run,” Force said. “We ended up in the No. 5 position, and we face Pat Dakin tomorrow.”
Dakin was the No. 12 qualifier with a best pass of 3.768 at 321.96 mph.
Force is currently 23 points behind leader Steve Torrence and only one point behind second-place Doug Kalitta.
St. Louis marks the third of six Countdown to the Championship races. Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Central. Fox Sports 1 will provide three hours of live eliminations beginning at 1 p.m. Central.
Qualifying Round 1 (Right Lane): 3.714 seconds/329.58 mph; smooth run down the groove but suffered a fire after crossing the finish line (No. 2 of session and No. 2 overall; two bonus points overall)
Qualifying Round 2 (Left Lane): 8.132 seconds/84.50 mph; lost traction early and slowed before 100 feet (No. 16 of session and No. 5 overall; no bonus points in session and two bonus points overall)
Qualifying Round 3 (Right Lane): 3.797 seconds/270.59 mph; strong pass but doesn’t improve (No. 8 of session and No. 6 overall; no bonus points in session and two bonus points overall)
Qualifying Round 4 (Left Lane): 3.690 seconds/329.34 mph; best pass of the weekend to jump from seventh to fifth (No. 3 of session and No. 5 overall; one bonus point in session and three bonus points overall)
This is the fourth time this season (first time since June) and 10th time in her career Force has qualified No. 5. The last time she qualified No. 5 came in June at Bristol.
Force is looking for her second victory and third finals appearance from the No. 5 position. Her only victory from No. 5 came last year at Gainesville.
Force has a 14-8 in 22 elimination rounds from the No. 5 position, and is 8-1 in nine first-round matchups.
This is Force’s second No. 5 at Gateway. He was also No. 5 at the track in 2013, her rookie season.
Force’s matchup against Pat Dakin marks the eighth time in her career and third time this season the two have faced off. Force has won the last four meetings, including races this year at Norwalk and two weeks ago at Charlotte.