CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
DODGE NHRA NATIONALS PRESENTED BY PENNZOIL
THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY IN LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
RACE RECAP AND DRIVER QUOTES
NOVEMBER 3, 2019
Chevrolet female drivers set records at Las Vegas
Brittany Force wins 500th Top Fuel event in NHRA history, closes points gap
Erica Enders wins 150th race by a female, extends Pro Stock points lead
Robert Hight remains atop Funny Car standings; John Force is fourth
LAS VEGAS (November 3, 2019) – Following the penultimate race of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, Chevrolet drivers are well-positioned to claim titles in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock.
Brittany Force’s victory in the 500th Top Fuel event in NHRA history lifted the driver of the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet dragster to second in the standings – only 16 points out of the top spot — heading into the Auto Club NHRA Finals on November 15-17.
“It’s taking me back to 2017 when we were in the same position, chasing Steve Torrence,” said Force, who used a runner-up finish in ’17 at Las Vegas to propel her to the championship. “The Advance Auto Parts crew, we’ve had a great weekend. I’m so proud of all my guys. We’ve been killing it.
“We’ve been here before; we got the job done and Steve (Torrence) is shaking in his boots right now.”
Force’s Top Fuel track-record pass of 3.652-second run at 334.73 mph in the final eliminated Torrence, the 2018 class champion, and lifted the No. 2 qualifier to her second victory of the season and 10th of her career.
“It’s been since Houston since we’ve been in the winner’s circle. We’re turning things around at the right time,” added Force, who became the 27th of 108 Top Fuel drivers to reach double digits in victories.
Force also owns both ends of the NHRA Top Fuel national records after she blistered The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 338.17 mph in the second round of qualifying. Force set the national elapsed time record of 3.623 seconds at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the first race of the Countdown.
Moments earlier in the Dodge NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, Erica Enders earned the distinction of winning the 150th race by a female in the professional categories and posting the 200th victory for the Camaro brand in Pro Stock competition.
Enders, driving the Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS, takes a 92-point lead into the 18th and final Pro Stock race of the season as she seeks to record her third class championship in the past six years.
“I’m really proud of my guys. They’ve given me a great race car and that’s something that we didn’t have at the beginning of even the middle of the season,” said Enders, who registered her second victory of the season, 25th of her career and third at the fall event in Las Vegas. “It just came together at the right time and I thank the good Lord for that. I’m just stoked.”
There are 191 points available in each pro category with points and a half on the table.
Robert Hight takes a 46-point advantage over second place to the finale. Hight, the No. 8 qualifier in the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS, fell in the second round. Teammate John Force was the No. 3 qualifier in the PEAK Lighting Chevrolet Camaro SS and lost in the second round. The 16-time Funny Car champion is fourth in the standings.
Brittany Force defeated teammate Austin Prock in the second round. The front-runner for the rookie of the year award was the No. 10 qualifier in the Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet dragster.
Enders’ run of 6.617 at 208.04 mph in the final was too quick for Elite Motorsports teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. (JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro SS). Coughlin, who moved to second in the standings, defeated Jason Line (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) and Enders ousted Bo Butner (Jim Butner Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro SS) in the semifinals.
“One race to go and we’re going to take it one round at a time. That’s the only way I can look at it,” Enders said. “I can’t control what anybody else does in their lane. I just have to control what we do in ours and do the best that we can.”
An interview with Top Fuel winner BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (No. 2 qualifier; set track Top Fuel elapsed time record in final and NHRA national Top Fuel speed record in qualifying; second win of season and 10th of career; 16 points out of first place):
YOU GOT THE JOB DONE TODAY. TELL US ABOUT THAT FINAL.
“It’s taking me back to 2017 when we were in the same position, chasing Steve Torrence. The Advance Auto Parts crew, we’ve had a great weekend. I’m so proud of all my guys. We’ve been killing it. It’s been since Houston since we’ve been in the winner’s circle. We’re turning things around at the right time.”
WHY CAN YOU BE THE 2019 CHAMP?
“That is exactly what we’re going for. I’m so proud of this team. We’ve been here before; we got the job done and Steve (Torrence) is shaking in his boots right now.”
WALK US THROUGH YOUR WEEKEND, WHICH WAS STANDOUT.
“This weekend has been incredible for this team. Las Vegas is a home track for me. I grew up here, I raced Super Comp, A Fuel and I’ve always wanted to win here. In 2017, I remember sitting on that starting line in the final round chasing down Steve Torrence and I red lit. That popped in my head at some point today and I said get rid of it because we’re going back up for this final and we’re going to chase down Steve. This weekend has been incredible. We have the record for mile per hour with 338; it’s incredible to hold that with the Advance Auto Parts boys and the ET record this year. We’ve accomplished a lot but what we’re really going after is the championship together.”
TELL ABOUT YOUR RIDE IN THE FINAL ROUND.
“I felt good coming in. I looked at the ladder, sitting No. 2, and I knew we could have a long day. It was going to be tough and we’d have to battle it out, but I was happy with our ladder and we got the job done.”
WAS THERE ANY CONVERSATION WITH YOUR FATHER AFTERWARD?
“Before the run, he sometimes says too much. He’s just trying to give you too much advice all at once and I’ve always told him don’t talk to me until the day is over or talk to me Friday or Saturday; don’t talk to me on race day. Because one little thing could get in your head and change your whole mindset on something and he started talking to me about staging and I said, ‘Stop right there.’ ” He just said go out there and do what you’ve been doing, and you did it once and you’ll do it again and we’re going to chase down a championship again.”
IS DAVID GRUBNIC’S TUNE SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU DRIVE BETTER?
“I’ve been with a ton of incredible tuners and this year was a big change – a new sponsor, a new team, everything just flipped upside down for me. That’s tough coming in as a driver. You almost feel like you’re starting over and I’ve been out here for seven years. We found our groove really quickly. We won in Houston, but we’ve haven’t won since then, so I’m really turning the corner at the right time, but David Grubnic has been awesome to work with. We sit down and we talk about everything. He used to drive, so he knows exactly the pressure that I have, and he’s just been awesome to work with. I’m very blessed to have him as my crew chief.”
HOW MUCH HAS THE TUNE WORKED FOR YOUR DRIVING CAPABILITIES?
“It’s the support system I have around me. Advance Auto Parts, all of John Force Racing, all of our sponsors and my team. Those guys every single run were patting me on the back, telling me to lay another on down and turn on another win light.”
HOW ARE YOU SPENDING THE NEXT TWO WEEKS?
“I want to go straight to Pomona. To have to go home and just think about it will drive you nuts. I’m going to do everything I can to stay in the hunt for this championship. I’m going to be in the gym every single day and have a lot of conversations with my dad because it’s beforehand, it’s not on race day, and gain as much as I can. I’ll be ready when Pomona gets here. We’ve been here before and we want to do it again with the Advance Auto Parts team.”
WOULD YOU SAY THIS IS ONE OF YOUR MOST SATISFYING VICTORIES?
“It’s a Vegas win, it’s a win in the Countdown, which is huge, and it’s moved us that much closer to the No. 1 spot. This is a big win for our team. Like I said, it’s been since Houston since we’ve won. We’ve been out of the game for a little while, but we’re turning the corner at the right time. There’s on left. Our mind is in the right place now.”
THERE SEEMED TO BE A MUTUAL SATISFACTION BETWEEN YOU AND ERICA ENDERS WINNING TODAY.
“I always cheer the ladies one; there’s only a few of us out here. Erica Enders, what she’s done for this sport – two championships – and I’ve always looked up top her. She’s incredible. She started in junior dragsters. I remember watching her movie when it came out on Disney. Courtney and I would watch that over and over just to get us pumped up before we’d go racing Super Comp. To share the winner’s circle with her this weekend is pretty awesome. She’s a great friend, she’s an incredible driver and pretty cool that we did 150, 151 today.”
An interview with Pro Stock winner ERICA ENDERS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, MELLING PERFORMANCE/ELITE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier; earned second win of season and 25th of her Pro Stock career; takes 92-point lead into Pomona final):
YOU WERE THE 99TH AND 101ST FEMALE WINNER; NOW YOU GOT 150. HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
“Honestly, I actually forgot about it. It’s a pretty cool added bonus. I’m really proud of my guys. They’ve given me a great race car and that’s something that we didn’t have at the beginning of even the middle of the season. It just came together at the right time and I thank the good Lord for that. I’m just stoked.”
YOU GOT MAX POINTS ON THE DAY WITH ONE RACE TO GO. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
“One race to go and we’re going to take it one round at a time. That’s the only way I can look at it. I can’t control what anybody else does in their lane. I just have to control what we do in ours and do the best that we can. We have a pretty stout lead going into Pomona, but there have bene crazier things happen there. We’ll do our best.”
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR RACE DAY
“Race day was fun, but race day was really challenging. My guys just keep on giving me a really good race car. We weren’t the fastest one on the property today, but we were certainly able to get it done. Struggled a little bit mentally, but my dad, my sister and of course, my guys, stood behind me and pulled me through. Just a whole lot of positive vibes and prayers going up to the good lord.”
ANOTHER STAT, IT WAS THE 200TH WIN FOR CAMARO
“Oh wow. Man, we are all about milestones today. I forgot about the 150th (win by a female in NHRA), until Amanda (Busick) gave us the trophy down there. It’s pretty exciting because I think we were like 97, 98, 99, 101, and 102. So, we barely missed 100th and Courtney (Force) got it. But I was able to get the 150th and I was able to share it with Brittany Force in the winner’s circle. Just proud to be a part of the group of such smart, talented females out here. We are showing them how it’s done, today anyway.”
TALK ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND TODAY’S EFFORT IN CAPITALIZING ON OTHER CONTENDERS BAD FORTUNE
“I tell you what, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the most nerve-wracking circumstances I have been in, in my life. I didn’t know if I wanted to throw up or jump up and down. It was definitely taxing this morning. Matt Hartford and Jason (Line) were out first and they were two and four in points and Matt was right on our heels. That was a crucial round and watching Matt go out, he has Elite power, so we were definitely rooting for him.”
YOU HAVE WON ONE IN EVERY SIX RACES THAT A WOMAN HAS WON IN THIS SPORT, IS THERE ANY PERSPECTIVE IN YOUR HEAD ABOUT THAT?
“I am excited to have been able to win today. It was huge for us. We knew coming in here that we wanted to gather up all the bonus points that we possibly could. Unfortunately, we had some things go wrong and the car shut off in the second run of qualifying. In the third run we were first out, so that that was a bit detrimental to our health in Pro Stock. So, we were a little bit behind the eight-ball coming into race day with our car and me as a driver. We were able to rise to the occasion and be there. But the female group out here is just a stellar group and it’s such an honor to be a part of.”
YOU HAD AN AWESOME DAY, ARE YOU BEING TOO HARD ON YOURSELF?
“I don’t think so. I am my own worst critic all the time. But we know what we are capable of and I don’t think we illustrated it as well as we would have liked. At the end of the day, we got the job done and we are proud of that. We go up there every single run and we give it everything we have got. My crew chiefs were telling me that today as well because I was being a little……just second guessing myself with the clutch linkage set up today. They were like, ‘hey man, we are going after it and you have to go after it too’. We flirt with thousandths of seconds up there and we live and die by it. They do the best that they can, I do the best that I can. It turned out great today.”
TWO WEEKS TILL POMONA AND YOU HAVE A THREE ROUND LEAD, HOW DO YOU AVOID COMPLACENCY?
“I don’t think complacency is a word in our vocabulary. We work hard and we are going to go out to Pomona to win the race. We are not going to visit, and we are not going to just put 30 points on the board. Anything can happen and I have been a part of that like in Pomona of 2014 with Jason Line. Just when it’s your day, it’s your day, and when it’s your year, it’s your year. This has certainly been a challenging year for our team.”
YOUR TEAM SEEMS TO BE PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? MOMENTUM?
“Yeah, momentum is huge in this sport. You know that. At the beginning of the year we had some pretty deep valleys and we had to claw our way out of them. That is what is so cool about working with the best guys in the business in my opinion. They are amazing and Richard Freeman has put us in a place where we can do the best that we can and have the best equipment. I am very thankful for that. Peaking at the right time is crucial, you know that, and these final six races just jumbles things up and it happened prior to the Countdown. The good lord has a plan and I am happy to be a part of it at the moment. I am just putting my faith in him and hoping we go out and execute the best that we can, and the chips will fall like they may.”
CHEVROLET FROM THE COCKPIT
AUSTIN PROCK, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONTANA BRAND/ROCKY MOUNTAIN TWIST CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (No. 10 qualifier; fell in second round): “We turned our race car around today and I’m pretty proud of how we ran. We just came up short in the second round to our teammate. We left the starting line first and got outran but it was a good ole drag race. Brittany redeemed herself winning on that holeshot in the semifinal so she’s moving up in the points and now with that win here today, I’m hoping she can wrap this championship up for John Force Racing. You know, I’m just proud of how far this team has come and how we’ve been doing lately. Just have to get out ducks in a row and get a little Lady Luck on our side and we’ll find ourselves in the winner’s circle.”
JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK LIGHTING CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier; fell in second round): “No complaints here. We have a fast hot-rod. This PEAK Lighting team, Brian Corradi, Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisi, they’re all working hard. They’ve been doing their job and I’ve been trying to do mine.”
ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier; fell in second round): “A little bit of a rough weekend for the Auto Club team. We had a good race car today and we could have won this race, but Jack Beckman had a great light, he might have had a little luck on his side. Lucky for us we’ve had a great car all season and we still have the points lead. I said from the very beginning of the Countdown that it was going to come down to the Auto Club Finals at Pomona, the last day and maybe even the finals on Sunday. Things will be intense. I wish we didn’t have to wait two weeks.”
GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier; fell in second round): “A tough day for us, and we’re disappointed. My Summit Racing Chevy Camaro was a good car all weekend long, in qualifying and on race day, but the bottom line is that I didn’t drive like I should have today, and that cost us. You have to be perfect in every way, and today I just wasn’t. I needed to be, but it wasn’t in the cards for us. We’ll go to Pomona and try to finish the year with a win for Summit Racing and Ken Black. That’s what we’re going to focus on now.”
BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER AUTO GROUP, JIM BUTNER AUTO SALES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier; fell in semifinals): “We had a good car this weekend, and we’re still happy. The championship isn’t decided yet, so we’ll see what happens when we get to Pomona. We’re going to be racing Super Gas here in Vegas at the division race first, and it’s a long shot, but we’re still in the hunt there. It’s a fun time of year, and we enjoy this. That’s what keeps us coming back.
JEG COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM/ELITE PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 5 qualifier; fell in final): “We feel very good about our playoff run to date and we certainly look to keep this good momentum going. I’m excited about the performance of the car and I’m pleased with my driving so if we just continue to stay aggressive like we have been in the last four races we can reach our goals. We just need to stay after it.”
JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier; fell in semifinals): “It’s never a good thing when you have to race your teammate before the final round, and it feels like we’ve had that happen a lot lately. We had hoped to do better here, especially for Ken and Judy Black and everyone at Summit Racing, but it didn’t work out as we’d hoped. There is still a lot of fight left in this team, so we’ll move on and do our best. We’ve got one more race to go this year, and everyone on this team wants to bring that last Wally home.”