Advance Auto Parts driver Courtney Force heads to Reading with momentum, seeking another strong race

Courtney Force was oh, so close to winning her first race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season last weekend at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
That she was defeated by a teammate and current Funny Car points leader, Robert Hight, in the final round made it no less easy to handle.
The good thing about the Countdown to the Championship, though, is that she’ll be back in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS this weekend, for the annual NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway and second of three consecutive race weekends. She enters the race third in points, vaulting from the sixth-place standing she had leading into the six-race Countdown.
That Force was able to move up so substantially – and contend for victory – is a testament to her driving and the preparation by her team. Force picked up bonus points in qualifying No. 1 as well. The goal, however, is still to pick up maximum points with continued strong qualifying results as well as a victory.
“I think our Advance Auto Parts team is going to be ready to see what kind of numbers we can put on the board,” said Force, who owns seven No. 1s, topping all Funny Car drivers this season. “Hopefully we can get qualified in that top spot again, but more importantly, we want to end the weekend on another high note – but in the winner’s circle for our Advance Auto Parts team.”
Force is also looking for some luck at Maple Grove, a track which has eluded her of results in the past. But she’ll look to add to her John Force Racing team’s total of 10 race victories at the east Pennsylvania track. And she’ll hope to carry momentum over from last weekend’s race, at which she recorded her first career finals appearance at Charlotte, a track where she owns the elapsed time record in Funny Cars.
Speaking of records, Reading is a track where records routinely fall.
“Reading’s obviously one of these tracks where drivers and teams are going to be setting those records – track records, but probably national ET records as well,” Force said. “Robert Hight is one of those that everyone is watching out for, but I’ve noticed DSR is always tough, and the Kalitta cars have turned a corner (recently). There are a lot of great teams out here and a lot of fast hot rods, so it’s going to be interesting going into Reading. It’s going to be a fast track.”
Two qualifying rounds each are scheduled for Friday (2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. Eastern) and Saturday (1:30 and 4), with final eliminations slated for noon on Sunday.
Fox Sports 1 will television one hour of qualifying on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern (live) and Sunday at 2 a.m. FS1 will broadcast three hours of live coverage on Sunday at 2 p.m.
4-Second Reads:
  • Courtney Force has competed in five races at Reading, and every race since 2012, her rookie season.
  • Force is still seeking her first career Funny Car victory at Reading. Her best result was a quarterfinals appearance in 2013.
  • Force is 1-5 in six elimination rounds at Reading, with that victory coming in 2013 against Blake Alexander.
  • Force’s best qualifying effort at Reading is No. 2, which she earned in 2013.
  • Force is currently third in Funny Car points standings, up from sixth from the previous race.
  • In 2017, Force has a 21-18 record in 39 elimination rounds and seven No. 1 qualifiers, the most she has recorded in a single season. She has been to three finals this season.
  • In her career, Force has eight victories, 152 elimination-round wins, and 17 No. 1 qualifiers.
  • Most recent NHRA victory – 2016 NHRA SpringNationals in Baytown, Texas
  • Most recent No. 1 qualifying effort – 2017 NHRA Carolina Nationals in Concord, N.C.
  • Best time/speed at Reading – 4.008 seconds (2014 Q4); 329.42 mph (2013 Q2)
  • Best career time/speed – 3.815 seconds (2017 Topeka Q2); 338.68 mph (2017 Topeka E1)
  • Force will be signing autographs for fans from 7-8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, Sept. 21, at Advance Auto Parts, 15 South Centre Ave., Leesport, PA 19533.

John Force Racing PR/Photo Gary Nastase and Auto Imagery

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