Courtney Force, Brittany Force each stand No. 2 after first day of qualifying at Winternationals

Courtney Force, Brittany Force each stand No. 2
after first day of qualifying at Winternationals

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10) – John Force Racing drivers Courtney Force and Brittany Force were second in their respective NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series classes during qualifying Friday for the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Courtney Force, in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, turned in the second-quickest time in the first round of qualifying with a time of 3.849 seconds at 330.23 mph. Brittany Force, in the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster, was second in Top Fuel with a time of 3.706 seconds at 322.42 mph.

Both were preparing for their second runs before rain washed out Funny Car qualifying midway through the session.

Courtney Force’s run continued her momentum established in last week’s test at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, when she turned an elapsed time of 3.804 seconds at 333.33 mph. Her run Friday was nine-thousandths of a second off Matt Hagan’s national-rec time of 3.840 seconds at 330.15 mph. While she was disappointed in not making a second qualifying run Friday, Courtney Force is ready for two more attempts Saturday.

“It was a great way to start, right out of the box,” said Courtney Force, the 2013 Winternationals winner and twice the fastest qualifier in the Funny Car class. “We’ve carried over what we learned in testing, which is what we hoped to do. We’ll see if we can keep running fast consistently, which is key.

“We’re hoping to make the Advance Auto Part guys and Carquest guys proud. It was a positive way to start the weekend, with the No. 2 spot so far, so we hope to carry that over to tomorrow and push a little harder.”

Brittany Force held the top spot for a few moments before her pass was eclipsed by Doug Kalitta’s time of 3.697 seconds at 325.69 mph. Brittany Force, seeking her first Winternationals victory, was pleased overall with her single attempt.

“It was a very good start to the year, to come out and go straight to the No. 2 position,” said Brittany Force, whose career best qualifying position in the Winternationals was No. 6 last year. “That 3.70 – it’s outstanding for the Monster team. We wish we would have gotten one more run, but there’s no better way to start.”

Team owner and seven-time Winternationals winner John Force – who earlier in the day announced his partnership with primary sponsor PEAK/BlueDEF will last for the remainder of his driving career – was No. 9 in the PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS, his best time of 4.247 seconds at 313.00 mph coming in the second round. Three-time Winternationals winner Robert Hight, in the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS, was 13th, at 4.699 seconds at 232.67 mph.

The third round of qualifying for the Circle K NHRA Winternationals is scheduled for 1 p.m. PT Saturday, with the fourth round slated for 4 p.m. PT. Elimination rounds for Funny Car are scheduled to start 11 a.m. Sunday, with Top Fuel immediately following.