When you are the Funny Car points leader and winner of three of the previous four NHRA national events, there isn’t much down time at the track — you spend time in the press room with the media as well as have various sponsor obligations in suites and hospitality areas between rounds, during qualifying and on race day. For Courtney Force, the time at the track might be considered her down time as she has been flying across the country between races just as quickly as she has been racing down the track.
Since the beginning of May Force was won three races, attended the Indy 500, appeared on the CMT Awards in Nashville as Sam Hunt’s presenter and presented a house to a deserving family of a veteran in Florida as part of Advance Auto Parts participation with the “Home for Heroes” program.
“It has been a whirlwind,” Force said. “I haven’t been home to California in over a month. I love this life though. I have been able to do some amazing things on the track with this Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car thanks to my crew chiefs Danny Hood and Brian Corradi. Through Advance Auto Parts and Big Machine Records, I was able to attend the CMT Awards in Nashville and give away a home in Florida through Homes for Heroes.”
On the track is where Courtney is making her mark this season. Through ten races the seven-year pro has never qualified lower than No. 4 and her four wins all came from the No. 1 spot. The last time a Funny Car driver won four times from the top spot was sixteen years ago and it was her father John Force collecting the wins.
Last Sunday it was the 50th all JFR Funny Car final round and Courtney outran her father at a track where she celebrated his win on her seventh birthday in 1995. Her dominance throughout the day put an emotional cap on an eventful weekend.
“It was a fun weekend and we were happy to be back in Virginia. The stories that my dad was telling through the weekend were maybe a little out of context,” explained Force. “The last time I was here I was seven years old. All I wanted for my birthday was to come to a race with just my dad and it was this race track. We got to celebrate in the winner’s circle and I was wearing a Virginia is for Lovers t-shirt. I was excited to wear that shirt in the winner’s circle last weekend for my win.”
The win was Force’s third in four national events and her fourth of the season matching her career best season total just ten races into 2018. The rapid fire victory total isn’t something Force is taking for granted.
“This is just the beginning of the season and we just have to maintain our focus. So much credit goes to my team and the job that they have done. I am trying to keep up with them and perform well as a driver. We are in the points lead right now and we stretched it a little more with the win in Richmond. Our focus is getting to Indy and having a cushion and locking into the countdown. Get back to me then about how we are doing. That is when we are really going to need this momentum,” Force said. “Right now it is great but we really have to keep it all year long if we want to end up on top at the end of the season.”
Heading to the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Force will be focused on getting her first win at the historic track on Father’s Day no less. She has steadily been improving her qualifying position at the famed race track carved into the side of the Tennessee mountains. In the past three seasons Force has qualified No. 7, No. 5 and last year No. 4, her best starting position.
Qualifying for the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals will begin at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. for Funny Car and Top Fuel on Friday followed by sessions on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eliminations will begin on Sunday at noon.
JFR PR/Photo Credit Auto Imagery