Brittany Force and the Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster team are gearing up for the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties eager to get back their momentum and secure their second win of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Heading into the tenth event on the NHRA circuit, Force is fourth in the Top Fuel standings thanks to a win at the SpringNationals, two runner-up finishes at the Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas and Southern Nationals, and three No. 1 qualifiers at the Gatornationals, SpringNationals and Southern Nationals.
At the recent event in Joliet, Ill. just outside of Chicago, Force and the Advance Auto Parts team had a less than ideal weekend as they made changes to prepare for the coming races in the summer heat. A first round exit shifted them into fourth, just two points shy of second in the points standings.
“We had a rough weekend in Chicago, getting beat in the first round and not qualifying well. We have a lot of work to do, a lot of big moves to make to keep us up in points, keep us qualified good and going rounds on race day at this next one,” Force said. “We’re going to Topeka and it’s the second race of four in-a-row so I’m looking forward to getting back in the seat. I have all the faith in this team and I know we’ll get it figured out and get things turned around.”
At last year’s Heartland Nationals, Force qualified No. 7 and had a quarterfinal exit to reigning world champion Steve Torrence. Force has two No. 1 qualifiers from 2014 and 2016, and has also been in the semifinals in back-to-back year’s, 2014 and 2015. In 2017 at Heartland Park Topeka, a classically quick and fast race track, Force made the fastest pass of her career going an impressive 333.66 mph.
“We’ve done well in Topeka. Never got this thing in the winner’s circle but we’ve qualified well there and made it to the semis before, so we want to do the same and more,” said Force. “We’re all anxious going into this race, especially coming off a bad weekend and, depending on how this weekend goes, we may stay and test and really, we’ve made some big changes. David Grubnic has made changes because we’ll be coming into the hot races and need to get this car figured out. I’m very hopeful.”
Qualifying for the Menard’s Heartland Nationals begins on Friday with nitro sessions at 4:45 and 8 p.m. Nitro qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 12:30 and 3:45 p.m. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Check out coverage on FS1 Saturday at 10 p.m. ET and Sunday starting with NHRA Sunday Live at noon and concluding with coverage of final eliminations at 5:30 p.m. ET.