Advance Auto Parts driver Courtney Force wants to finish off season with first victory of 2017

Advance Auto Parts driver Courtney Force wants
to finish off season with first victory of 2017

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6) – With three finals appearances in five NHRA Countdown to the Championship races, Courtney Force and the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS team have been a model of consistency this postseason in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car class.

Force, of nearby Yorba Linda, Calif., has moved up three positions in the points standings, jumping from sixth to third. And with those three finals appearances in the Countdown and another to start the season at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona – site of this weekend’s season finale, the Auto Club NHRA Finals – Force hopes the momentum continues and the season ends on a high note.

Locked in a tight battle for third, Force remains mathematically eligible to win the title, but would need to win the Auto Club NHRA Finals and have others fall out early. She started the season with a final-round appearance at Pomona, falling just short of winner’s circle despite a strong run in the final round. A string of No. 1 qualifying efforts – including a streak of four in a row early in the season – put her in position to win or run strong on race day on multiple occasions.

“Even though we haven’t gotten a win yet this season, at least we’re being consistent,” Force said. “And I think that’s the most important thing. You can definitely win a championship with a consistent car, rather than just having a fling and one great run, or a killer record run. Not having consistency won’t get you anywhere. I’m really proud of my guys. So far this season, having a consistent race car is what we need.”

Force made it to her fifth final round this season in the most recent race, the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in a race that included a semifinals win over teammate and current Funny Car points leader Robert Hight. That kept her in command of third, increasing what had become a narrowing gap in recent races. She holds a 33-point advantage over Jack Beckman.

“We didn’t come home with a win at Vegas, but we created a big enough gap – at least one round more – in front of (Jack) Beckman, and we just have to keep it going at Pomona,” Force said.

Pomona would be a perfect place to cap off the season with her first victory and the first for primary sponsor Advance Auto Parts, which was announced last offseason. Force has one victory at Pomona, in the 2013 Winternationals, one of three final rounds at her home track. No doubt, going into the offseason as the most recent winner secures bragging rights until the 2018 season begins in February.

“I think everyone going into the final race wants to get that win,” Force said. “Obviously, we’ve been right there, been in multiple final rounds. Like I said, we’ve had a consistent race car all year, but have yet to get in the winner’s circle. But at least we’ve made a lot of great strides this entire year, learned a lot, and found that consistency that we were kind of missing last year. We would love to finish off the season on a high note and take home that win. We were close at Vegas, so hopefully we can keep the momentum going into Pomona, and it’s going to be a great race and a lot of exciting things are going to happen.”

The Auto Club NHRA Finals begins with a pair of qualifying sessions at 12:45 and 3:30 p.m. Pacific on Friday, and two sessions at 12:45 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Elimination rounds begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Fox Sports 1 will provide live television coverage of Friday’s qualifying starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, with Saturday’s live coverage beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern. Elimination rounds will be shown starting at 4 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

4-Second Reads:
Courtney Force has competed in 11 races at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and every race since the 2012 Spring race, where she made her NHRA Funny Car debut.
Force has three finals appearances at Pomona, with a victory in the 2013 Winternationals.
Force is 15-10 in 25 elimination rounds (.600) at Pomona.
Force has two No. 1s at Las Vegas – the Winternationals in 2013 and 2015.
Force is currently third in Funny Car points standings. She started the Countdown to the Championship in sixth.
In 2017, Force has a 28-22 record in 50 elimination rounds and seven No. 1 qualifiers, the most she has recorded in a single season. She has been to five finals this season, including three races in the Countdown to the Championship.
Courtney Force has faced 18 different drivers this season in elimination rounds and has at least one win against 16 of them. She has a season-high three elimination-round wins over Jim Campbell, J.R. Todd, Jeff Diehl and Alexis DeJoria.
In her career, Force has eight victories, 159 elimination-round wins, and 17 No. 1 qualifiers.
Most recent NHRA victory – 2016 NHRA SpringNationals in Baytown, Texas
Most recent No. 1 qualifying effort – 2017 NHRA Carolina Nationals in Concord, N.C.
Best time/speed at Pomona – 3.849 seconds (2017 #1 Q1); 330.23 mph (2017 #1 Q1)
Best career time/speed – 3.815 seconds (2017 Topeka Q2); 338.68 mph (2017 Topeka E1)
Force will look to win with another special livery at Pomona. Details to follow later this week.