BRITTANY FORCE RACES TO BACK-TO-BACK VICTORIES AT HOUSTON
It’s back-to-back for Brittany Force.
Force, who won the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel world championship, won at Houston for the second year in a row.
Force’s latest win came Sunday when she drove her Advance Auto Parts dragster past Antron Brown in the finals of the 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil to capture the title.
Force clocked a 3.749-second elapsed time at 302.14 mph to defeat Brown’s 3.995-second effort.
“All of John Force Racing was on a mission (Sunday morning),” Force said. “We had a good qualifying weekend, my dad and I were No. 1, which was the first time father and daughter have qualified No. 1 at an event and that was awesome. That’s something very special my dad and I will share. We were looking for a win, but to be able to do it with Robert Hight by my side in that Auto Club car is pretty awesome. We’re happy.”
This was Force’s ninth Wally of her career, and first this season. It was a memorable weekend for Force as she also clocked a pass of 3.661-second elapsed time at 332.18 mph to set both ends of the track record during Q2 Friday. It also was Force’s first victory with her crew chief David Grubnic. Grubnic was tuning Clay Millican’s Top Fuel dragster last season.
“Coming into the season with all the changes and a whole new team, with David Grubnic, Mac Savage and a whole new group of guys,” Force said. “That’s a lot to wrap your head around. That’s a lot to go out to Phoenix (for preseason testing) and try and find a routine and figure out what works for you guys and make some runs down the track. Really it is about finding a routine. I knew it was going to take us a while, but we started turning the corner in Gainesville. Gainesville is where I screwed up because I had a good race car. Then, we went to Vegas and were runner-up, so I knew things were turning around, it just takes time until you find that and move forward with the team.
To be able to come out here with that No. 1 qualifier 3.66, that’s just an outstanding run with David Grubnic and Mac Savage and all the guys. Then, to win this thing, I’m very excited.”
Force’s victory binge Sunday consisted of wins over Cameron Ferre, Doug Kalitta, Millican and Brown. This was Force’s eighth-career round win over Brown in 23 attempts.
“A lot was going through my head,” Force said about her final-round run. “In the semifinal round, I got so lucky. I had like a .002 light and you’re not supposed to have that in a Top Fuel car. Luck was on our side then and after the run I went and talked to my dad, and I went and talked to Robert and David Grubnic sat down and talked to me and said to ‘put it out of your head and let it go. Or you’re going to come up here and do the same exact thing. To have a crew chief that takes the time to sit down and talk to you in the moment of going up to a final is pretty cool. We sat down and talked, and I got it out of my head, and we came up here and pulled it off. It’s all the people around me and the support system I have.”
Force acknowledge her latest victory is the perfect jolt her team needed.
“It’s positive vibes for all of us,” Force said. “It pumps everybody up. This is still early in the season. To be able to pull this off with a whole new team, and all the changes we have had this season. Not just a new team, not just new crew chiefs, but switching over parts to John Force Racing parts. There has been a lot of change in our pits and to be able to pull this off, it builds all of us (up). You could feel the energy in our pits Friday night after we put that 66 on the board. You felt it Saturday night. This whole team was pumped up and hungry for our first win. We thought we had it last weekend, and we let it slide so to come out here and pull it off makes us ready for the next one.”
Brittany said being the only daughter racing with her father this season is something she enjoys.
“I’m excited about this season,” she said. “If he could stop coming up with the crazy T-shirt ideas he has like the Last Samurai, Final Force and she doesn’t wear a wedding ring, she wears a champ ring. It is a special year for us. I have always been out here with Courtney and this year it is just us and that’s special. I told him at the beginning of the season and it about made him cry. He said ‘really? It really matters to you? I said yes. It is tough not having my sister out here. Now, it is me and you dad and my ultimate goal and obviously everybody on our team has the goal of going after wins, but really on the bucket list is doubling up with my dad. He’s the one who taught me everything about drag racing, about the sport, about driving. He’s the one who gave me this opportunity, so I owe it all to him, so to end up in that winner’s circle with him would be unreal and that’s what we are going for.”