Joliet, IL – For the second day in a row it was Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster grabbing the performance headlines at the 18th annual Lucas Oil Rt. 66 NHRA Nationals. On the heels of running a 3.74 last night the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster ran even quicker in the lone qualifying session posting a time of 3.734 seconds and finishing the day as the No. 3 Top Fuel qualifier. Persistent rain showers forced the cancellation of the final qualifying session today at Route 66 Raceway.
The rain did not dampen the spirits of Force who was the runner-up at last year’s Lucas Oil Rt. 66 NHRA Nationals.

“I definitely feel very good about this weekend. Last year at this track we went all the way to the final. I feel like my Monster Energy team is kind of on fire. To be able to run 3.74 and then step up to a 3.73 is pretty impressive. That run was one thousandth off my quickest official run,” said Force, who has raced to five final rounds. “We are always aiming to run quicker but it is a struggle. We lost our last run to the rain showers but everyone did so we only got three runs to work with. We made two out of three awesome runs and that makes us the No. 3 qualifier. I have a good feeling about tomorrow.”
Force will face veteran driver Pat Dakin in the first round for the second consecutive race. She has a 1-1 record versus the driver from Dayton, Ohio.
Courtney Force will go into final eliminations at Route 66 Raceway tomorrow locked into the No. 5 position and will square off with Jack Beckman in the opening round. The winningest female in Funny Car history made only three passes due to rain, two of which were 4.055 and 4.012 seconds, respectively.
“We only got one run out here today at Route 66 Raceway. We went for it in Q3 hoping to make a pretty solid pass, but in that left lane we spun the tires down track. A lot of the other guys were doing the same thing. We were hoping to come back and make a better pass in Q4 in the right lane, but unfortunately the rain kept coming back and qualifying was cancelled for the last run of the night,” said Force.
This will be the eleventh time Force has lined up against Beckman on race day and they are currently tied 5-5 in previous events. Their last meeting was one week ago in the final round at Norwalk.
“We’ll be ready to race tomorrow. We’re qualified in the top half and picked up some more points. We’ll be entering race day tied for the No. 10 spot, but we’re looking for some more points tomorrow. We have tough first round against Jack Beckman, especially since the last time I saw him was the final round last weekend in Norwalk. We’re hoping to get a better outcome for our Traxxas team and I’m excited,” said Force.
Tricky conditions in the left lane cost Robert Hight and the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team their chance at stepping up into the top half of the field. Hight’s Chevy went up in smoke at the hit of the throttle in the left lane. His was the third Funny Car to have the same issue coming off the starting line in the lone Funny Car session. The missed opportunity does not have Hight or his Auto Club Chevrolet Funny Car team discouraged going into race day.
“Like every one we would have liked to have gotten that last qualifying run. I have to thank the NHRA Safety Safari for trying to dry the track. We will be back at it tomorrow morning. I am happy with the runs we made on Friday. We probably could have run quicker in the second session but we won’t have conditions like that tomorrow morning. This Auto Club team will give me a good Camaro and I will give it my best,” said Hight.
Hight will race Del Worsham in the first round and as the No. 10 qualifier Hight will not have lane choice. This will be the 28th meeting between the two drivers with Hight holding a 15-12 edge in eliminations.
Team leader and 16-time Funny Car champion John Force will go into race day as the No. 8 qualifier and he will race No. 9 qualifier Alexis DeJoria. Force and DeJoria are separated by four thousandths of a second on their respective qualifying runs, 4.020 to 4.024. The winningest driver in NHRA history was eager to try and get a fourth run tonight but was most impressed with the determination of the Chicago area fans as they waited patiently for one more qualifying session.
“I have to thank the fans for sticking it out today. We had to dodge the rain and we were really trying to get that second session in today. This Peak Chevy made two great runs yesterday and we smoked the tires today on our one run. I know (crew chief) Jon Schaffer and my crew guys have been working hard today and we will get after it tomorrow,” said Force.