Monster Energy driver Brittany Force looks to next race after early Houston exit

Monster Energy driver Brittany Force looks
to next race after early Houston exit

Photo Credit: Gary Nastase and Auto Imagery
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 23) – Brittany Force has her sights set on next weekend’s Four-Wide Nationals after an early exit in Sunday’s NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway, the fifth race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Force, the No. 5 qualifier in the Top Fuel category, lost a close matchup against Troy Coughlin Jr. in the opening round. She ran an elapsed time of 3.871 at 274.55 mph. Despite a slightly slower reaction time, Force inched ahead at the 60-foot mark, and was marginally ahead much of the way.

However, she slowed in the last 200 feet, the victim of a lost cylinder. Coughlin – who turned in a time of 3.852 at 277.20 mph – went on to lose in the second round to Steve Torrence.

It marked only the second first-round loss for the driver of the Monster Energy dragster in the last 13 races. Force said the defeat is tough, but “we’ll just have to suck it up and go on to the next race.”

“Nobody likes to go out in the first round,” said Force, now sixth in the points standings. “That’s always the toughest event of the day, because your nerves are heightened, and getting past that round is tough.

“It’s frustrating knowing that our day ended early, but the good thing is, we don’t have to spend more than a week thinking or dwelling about it.”

The next event is only seven days away, with the unique Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., next Sunday. The Four-Wide Nationals is unique in that the number of competitors doubles – from two to four – each pass down the drag strip.

Force is the defending race winner of the event.

“And we’re banking on winning it again this year,” she said. “We get to go right in and try our luck again.”

Qualifying for the Four-Wide Nationals begins Friday with the first two rounds of qualifying, followed by two more rounds Saturday. Elimination rounds are scheduled for April 30.