Advance Auto Parts driver Courtney Force snares No. 8 qualifying position for Reading’s NHRA Nationals

Courtney Force knows she has a fast hot rod come race day. That’s why she’ll put qualifying behind her after a rare mid-pack performance during the first two days of the NHRA Nationals this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway.
Force, in the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, turned in a best effort of 3.935 seconds at 321.88 mph in Friday’s second round. She was unable to improve in either of Saturday’s efforts, striking the tires in both runs. But Force, who has a class-leading seven No. 1s this season, remained upbeat heading into Sunday’s elimination rounds.
“We struggled a little bit in qualifying, so we enter race day in the No. 8 position, but that’s still in the top half,” said Force, who has qualified in the top half of 19 races this season, including 18 in the top four positions. “This obviously isn’t our best performance, but I know our Advance Auto Parts team will have the car ready to go in round one.”
Her first-round matchup will be against No. 9 Bob Tasca III, whose best run was 3.937 seconds at 318.77 mph.
Force made it to the finals of last weekend’s NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., jumping from sixth to third in the points standings after the first of six races in the annual Countdown to the Championship. Sunday’s race being the second event in the Countdown, Force’s goal remains going as far as she can to stay in pursuit of the top spot in points, as she seeks her first Funny Car title and the 19th for John Force Racing.
“It’s obviously going to be a tough matchup going up against No. 9 qualifier Bob Tasca III, but I think we have a great hot rod,” Force said. “We’ve shown it in previous races; we just need to show it on this hot track. The most important thing is going rounds and collecting those points. So we’ll see where we end up at the end of the day.”
Elimination rounds for the NHRA Nationals begin at noon Eastern. Three hours of television coverage begins at 2 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
4-Second Reads:
  • Qualifying Round 1 (Left Lane): 4.552 seconds/184.75 mph; car shut off around 300-foot mark (No. 10 of session and No. 10 overall; no bonus points in session)
  • Qualifying Round 2 (Right Lane): 3.935 seconds/321.88 mph; good run but smoke trailed near top end (No. 7 of session and No. 7 overall; no bonus points in session and no bonus points overall)
  • Qualifying Round 3 (Left Lane): 5.717 seconds/118.62 mph; smoked tires around 330-foot mark and coasted to finish (No. 14 of session and No. 8 overall; no bonus points in session and no bonus points overall)
  • Qualifying Round 4 (Right Lane): 6.266 seconds/105.28 mph; strikes tires after the 330-foot mark again and shut off (No. 11 of session and No. 8 overall; no bonus points in session and no bonus points overall)
  • This is the first time this season and 11th time in her career Force has qualified No. 8 for a race. Force is looking for her first career victory from the spot and third-career final. Both of her previous finals from the No. 8 position came against John Force Racing teammates.
  • This is the first time Force has qualified No. 8 at Reading. Her best qualifying effort is No. 2 in 2013.
  • Force’s first-round matchup against Bob Tasca III marks the 15th time the two will compete against each other. Force holds a 12-2 advantage in the previous 14 matchups, having won the last five meetings, the last three coming in the first round. Force’s 12 round wins against Tasca are tied for the most against any opponent in her career. She also has 12 round wins against Alexis DeJoria, the 12th coming last weekend in the NHRA Carolina Nationals.

John Force Racing PR/Photo Gary Nastase and Auto Imagery

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