Courtney Force ready to keep Advance Auto Parts
Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car rolling in Phoenix
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 21) – The last time Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car driver Courtney Force was at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park – site of this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals – she left with the quickest run a Funny Car had ever made.
Her pass of 3.804 seconds was unofficial, as it came during a test run Nitro Spring Training, but it was still under the national record of 3.822 seconds set by Matt Hagan at Brainerd, Minn., last year and matched by Hagan in the 2017 season-opener at Pomona.
Force carried that speed through to Pomona, racing to the final round.
“We started off the season on a high note, reaching all the way to the final round at the Winternationals,” Force said. “I’m really excited to get back over to Phoenix. That’s where we ran my career-best 3.804, so we’re excited to get back to that track. The conditions look like they’ll be pretty good this weekend. We’re hoping that our Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS is going to be able to put down the same kind of numbers we did in testing. Can’t wait to get back there and see if we can take home that win.”
Force sits second in the Funny Car points standings after the Pomona final. She beat her father, John, in the semifinals there, ending a steak of eight consecutive defeats to the 16-time champion.
“Dad definitely beat up on a me a little bit all last season,” Force said. “His car was flying, but I definitely have a good feeling about this season. Especially after Pomona, we were able to get that win around him. It was a close race in the semifinals, but we managed to do it, and it makes me really proud of my team and makes me feel more confident going into this season.
“We’re already off to a great start: We’re coming into Phoenix second in the points. I know dad’s team is getting into a rhythm this year, so I’m sure it will take them a little bit of time, and he’s definitely going to be one to watch out for.
“It’s a great start for our Advance Auto Parts team and hopefully it’ll be a great weekend at JFR.”
Force is coming off a great weekend at Daytona International Speedway, where she was asked to be Honorary Pace Car driver for the Advance Auto Parts Clash, a special Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the famed track.
“Had an awesome time in Daytona,” Force said. “To be out there to represent NHRA and Advance Auto Parts for the Advance Auto Parts Clash was really exciting for me. We got to do a lot of media, a lot of appearances, a Q&A at the Fanzone, and we met a lot of drivers and fans. It was really a great experience all around.
“We were able to take that Chevy SS pace car out for a few hot laps early in the morning and had some fun with it. It was a great weekend for me, and now it’s time to get back and get ready for the Phoenix race.
“We’ve got a lot going on this week leading up to the Phoenix race at Wild Horse Pass. I had to film for Advance Auto Parts and JFR early this week for a few different things, and I can’t wait to get to Arizona, where I will be doing an autograph signing at the Advance Auto Parts store in town on Thursday.”
Force will meet race fans at the Advance Auto Parts at 6170 W Chandler Blvd, Suite 6, Chandler, Ariz., this Thursday from 5-6 p.m. Mountain time.
The Arizona Nationals begins Friday, with the first two rounds of qualifications (televised tape delay on Fox Sports 1 – midnight Eastern). Qualifying continues Saturday (tape delay on FS1 – midnight Eastern). FS1 will televise elimination rounds Sunday beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern.
Advance Auto Parts is the new primary sponsor on Force’s car this season.
Force has competed in five previous NHRA Arizona Nationals – all since 2012.
Force is 5-5 in elimination rounds during the NHRA Arizona Nationals. She is seeking her first career finals appearance this weekend.
In her career, Force has competed in 120 races, and has totaled eight victories and 134 round wins.
Force has been the No. 2 qualifier for the NHRA Arizona Nationals in each of the last two seasons – 2015 and 2016.
Force has won her first-round matchup in the NHRA Arizona Nationals three times in five races.
Force has won each of her last four elimination round matchups, dating back to last season. She started the 2016 season with nine consecutive first-round elimination round victories.
Force’s 3.804-second pass during Nitro Spring Training testing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park was .018 seconds faster than Matt Hagan’s all-time Funny Car mark (3.822 seconds), set last year during the race at Brainerd, Minn.