Brittany Force knocked one item off her bucket list just days ago when the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series star driver won in Sonoma. Now the Top Fuel points leader will try to add another, this time at Pacific Raceways for this weekend’s 33rd annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals.
It’s her sponsor’s race and it closes out the famed three-race NHRA Western Swing, and Force would like nothing more than to win for the first time in Seattle as the NHRA returns to the facility for the first time in 2019. Force is riding high in her 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac/Monster Energy dragster heading to the race, obliterating the track record books in Sonoma and moving back into the points lead.
She’s collected four wins thus far during a championship-worthy 2022 season and Force is eager to keep rolling and come through for the first time in Seattle, at a track and a race that means a great deal to the Top Fuel standout.
“It is exciting and it’s great to return to Seattle,” Force said. “It’s been a while, but that’s another racetrack where I grew up racing in Super Comp, Top Alcohol Dragster, and going there as a kid. (Teammate) Austin (Prock) got his first win there (in 2019) and there are just a lot of great memories there. It’s exciting that it’s our sponsor’s race and we’re coming out of Sonoma strong, and we plan to have the same success this weekend in Seattle.”
Austin Prock (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) won the race in 2019, the last time the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series raced at Pacific Raceways. This year’s race will be broadcast on both the FOX broadcast network and Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including live eliminations coverage starting at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 31 on FOX. It is the 13th of 22 races during the 2022 season and the anticipation is high for NHRA’s return to Seattle.
That includes Force, who is chasing her second world championship. To get in a position for that, she knows the importance of running well this time of year. Of course, so does her competition, a list that includes Mike Salinas, who also has four wins in 2022, Denver winner Leah Pruett, Justin Ashley, four-time Seattle winner Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher, Doug Kalitta, four-time defending world champ Steve Torrence, Josh Hart, Clay Millican, and Austin Prock. But Force has the ultimate confidence in her team, which is led by crew chief David Grubnic, and her goal is to put on a show in Seattle.
“I’m always betting on us, and I feel that we are the team to beat,” Force said. “It’s tough weekend after weekend in this class and there’s a lot of good competition out here, but I’m always pulling for us. We have a solid race car and we’re going for a championship. It’s coming up close now. It’s been a long season and now we’re getting ready to finish this Western Swing. We’ve got a couple more after that and then we start the Countdown to the Championship. But we’re ready and I’m excited to see what this team can do.”
In Funny Car, John Force made history at Pacific Raceways in 2019 with his 150th career win. The 16-time Funny Car world champ enjoyed a memorable celebration after the historic win and the legendary driver returns to Seattle looking for his second win this season and the 10th in his career at the track. Nobody has won more than Force at Seattle and he enters with momentum, too, after advancing to the final round in Sonoma in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS.
It puts Force in a good place heading to Pacific Raceways where he’ll have to deal with the likes of teammate and points leader Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson, who has three wins in Seattle, defending world champ Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, who won the race in 2013, J.R. Todd, Cruz Pedregon, Alexis DeJoria, and Bob Tasca III, who knocked off Force last weekend in Sonoma. But there were plenty of positives last week for the Funny Car legend and he’ll look to build on that to close out the Western Swing.
“Sunday in Sonoma was a good day for this PEAK Chevy,” Force said. “It would have been great to get the win, but we figured some things out, and (crew chiefs) Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisi had my hot rod running well and we were getting after it (in eliminations). We’re in a good place and we’ll pick up and get after it again in Seattle. It’s a Flav-R-Pac race and we’re looking forward to putting on a show for everyone. Brittany is going in there with a win and hopefully, she’ll do it again, too.”
Pro Stock’s Hartford had a memorable moment at the last Seattle race in 2019, knocking off Greg Anderson in the final round to keep the all-time wins leader from sweeping the Western Swing. Hartford has current momentum, too, winning in Denver as his season continues to get on track. He’ll try for another Seattle win against a talented group that includes points leader Erica Enders, who has six wins in 2022, Anderson, who is a win away from his 100th career victory, two-time race winner this season Aaron Stanfield, local native Dallas Glenn, rookie Camrie Caruso, Troy Coughlin Jr., Mason McGaha, and Kyle Koretsky.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which includes some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as Street Legal exhibition runs. A special cacklefest will take place on the return road after nitro qualifying on Friday and then in the nostalgia pits on Saturday. The race also features the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League Shootout, with eight young drivers competing for the win. The final round will take place on Sunday and will be featured during the FOX broadcast.
The Total Seal Tech Talk Engine Seminar takes place at Matt Hartford’s Pro Stock Car Pit at 1 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday. Fans can also attend Nitro School at 12 p.m. on Saturday in Clay Millican’s pits to learn more about how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. For autograph-seeking fans, they can attend an autograph session featuring Toyota drivers at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Toyota Display.
Race fans at Pacific Raceways can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals event winners.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Seattle. This unique opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family. The new Pep Boys midway display will include tire change challenges, oil change challenges, a slot car track, and much more, adding even more excitement to the midway.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 6:00 p.m. PT on Friday, July 29, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 30 at 1:15 and 4:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. PT on Sunday, July 31. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations on FOX at 4 p.m. ET Sunday.