Brittany Force may have accomplished what every NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series driver strives for when she won the 2017 Top Fuel world championship, but she still has plenty to check off her bucket list including a win at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis behind the wheel of her PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil dragster. The “Big Go” as it’s famously known, is the world’s most prestigious drag race for not only it’s history but what it means for the championship fight.
“It’s the end of the regular season and it’s points and a half. Once we get through this weekend everybody is locked into the Countdown to the Championship,” Force said.
For Force, currently eighth in the Mello Yello points standings, getting her first win at the U.S. Nationals would not only check another accomplishment off her bucket list, but solidify her chances at a championship defense.
“We’re hoping to move up in points and go after a huge win. Everybody wants to win Indy. I’d love to win Indy and that’s what our team will be going for,” Force said. “It’s always a place where every driver wants to win. I’ve never had much luck there but we’re hoping to turn things around and bring home an Indy U.S. Nationals win.”
Force, who will be driving the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil dragster for the third time this season, had a first-round exit at the 2017 U.S. Nationals after qualifying eighth. Her best showing came in 2015 when she defeated Pat Dakin and Billy Torrence before having a semifinal finish to Morgan Lucas. In 2016 she had her best qualifying effort starting race day from No. 3.
This season, Force has faced major obstacles stemming from a crash at the opening race, the Winternationals in Pomona. The wreck, which destroyed the brand-new dragster that was built over the two-month off season, not only tested the young champion’s physically and mental strength but that of her team and the Force American Made shop in Indianapolis. It was a collective effort that kept Force moving forward, she had to make the decision to get back in the car for the very next race less than two weeks later, while her team had to pull out their back-up car and prepare it to race and the Force American Made shop set to building another new dragster.
In just six weeks and three races later, Force and her team debuted the new dragster and drove it to their first win of the season in Houston. The following weekend, they were No. 1 qualifiers at the Charlotte Four-Wide, doubling up with sister Courtney who was the Funny Car No. 1 qualifier. Force has qualified inside the top five 12 out of the 17 races competed, including a No. 5 qualifier in Sonoma, Calif. when driving the PEAK colors. She and her team will be hoping to continue that same qualifying success and for it to translate into race day this weekend.
After two days of testing in preparation for Indy, Force was one of the quickest running 3.793-seconds, giving her confidence that the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil team will be ready for a good showing on the biggest stage of the season.
“I was excited to be back out there with my team. We’ve been struggling this year so testing was very important to us,” Force said. “We are fighting to move up in the top 10 right now so we were trying to get this car figured out and setup for this weekend so we can have a strong race. Indy is one of our biggest races of the season. I remember going as a kid watching my dad win year after year. We’ll be teamed up with PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil and looking for a long weekend and a win of our own.”
Qualifying at the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will take place over three days beginning with one session on Friday at 8 p.m. and continue with two sessions Saturday at 2 and 5 p.m. and Sunday at 12:45 and 4:30 p.m. Eliminations are slated for Monday at 11 a.m. FOX Sports 2 (FS2) will air Saturday Nitro Live at 4:30 p.m. ET and FS1 will host live coverage Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. Catch all of Monday’s eliminations action on FS1 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET and FOX Broadcasting Network from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. ET.
JFR PR Photo Credit: Gary Nastase, Auto Imagery