Second year Top Fuel driver Brittany Force and her Castrol EDGE Dragster rocketed down the iconic Bristol Dragway with a 3.82 second pass at 317.94 mph. It was the quickest run of the first qualifying session today at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals and Brittany picked up three additional NHRA Mello Yello bonus points for claiming the number one qualifying spot.
“I didn’t think we ran that fast. The car actually felt kind of sluggish and slow. I felt the car shake around the 700 to 800 foot mark as it started dropping cylinders and I was expecting it to start smoking the tires. For a moment, I wasn’t sure if I should lift and get out of it or keep my foot planted on the accelerator. I decided stayed in it until the end but I didn’t think it was that great of a run. I was shocked and even surprised when I found out I was number one qualifier for running that 3.82,” said Brittany Force.
If Brittany’s 3.82 second run holds tomorrow, it will be the second time this season she will compete from the one qualifying position on race day. Rain storms moved into the area and cancelled the second Top Fuel qualifying session much to Brittany’s disappointment as she was ready to jump back in the cockpit of her Castrol EDGE Dragster to see if she could improve her time.
“The Castrol EDGE team is pumped as we’re excited to be number one again. It is unfortunate the rain came before our second session as I was anxious to get up to the lanes and make the second pass. We’ll get two runs tomorrow so maybe we’ll step it up even more,” said Brittany Force
To say Brittany’s excited would be an understatement as she’s been qualifying in the top half of the field and going rounds throughout this season. She’s already been to her first Top Fuel final and has a claimed a much coveted number one qualifying spot in a tough field of fellow competitors. She’s also gaining valuable experience on every run that is making her seasoned driver and a formidable competitor.
“My years of racing in Super Comp and A/Fuel Dragster taught me a lot. I also spent a whole year testing in Top Fuel so I could gain more experience. If I had made the jump directly to Top Fuel without coming up through the ranks, I’d be a mess,” said Brittany Force.
Brittany’s experience behind the wheel is also paying off in huge dividends.
“I’m definitely getting use to this Castrol EDGE Dragster. If it ran hard and shook the tires on a run like this last year, maybe I would have gotten out of it. But now, I know it if the car hasn’t done anything to act up on the run, I’ll stay in it. I learn something new on every pass and each run is always different,” said Brittany Force.
The Castrol EDGE Team led by crew chief Todd Smith and Dean Antonelli has tuned up the 10,000 horsepower Castrol EDGE Dragster and has given her one very fast and consistent race car that’s primed and ready to bring Castrol EDGE AND John Force Racing its first Top Fuel victory.
The John Force Racing Funny Car contingent opened the race with a stellar performance posting two of the three quickest runs of the first session. Mello Yello points leader Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team were No. 1 after the first session with a strong 4.074 second pass at 315.27 mph. John Force, the 2013 Ford Thunder Valley Nationals winner, was No. 3 with a 4.099 second pass. Unfortunately when the rains rolled in near the end of the second qualifying session Hight and Force were still in the lanes along with Tommy Johnson Jr. and Cruz Pedregon. That quartet of Funny Cars did not get a second shot at qualifying. Del Worsham posted both ends of the track record 3.992 seconds at 319.45 mph to move into the provisional No. 1 spot.
“We wanted to get another run in but we totally understand safety comes first. There was lightning all over the place and then when it started raining we knew it was a long shot to get a second run. I am happy with how well we ran in the first session and that is closer to race day conditions. We got three bonus points and we will be ready to hit it again tomorrow,” said Hight.
Eventually Hight settled into the provisional No. 4 spot with John Force slipping to No. 7. Courtney Force stepped up in the second qualifying session moving from the No. 7 spot after the first session to the No. 6 spot. The youngest Force improved from a 4.142 second pass to a 4.077 second run in her Traxxas Ford Mustang.