Courtney Force, Advance Auto Parts team looking for consistency
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19) – Courtney Force and her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team are determined to learn from their first-round exit at the NHRA Gatornationals on Sunday at Gainesville Raceway and then quickly put it in the rear-view mirror.
After qualifying No. 4 with a career-best speed, Force stumbled in the first round of eliminations, falling again to Jim Campbell.
“It certainly was a tough loss for our Advance Auto Parts team,” Force said. “That is not the kind of run we were looking for. I’m actually pretty surprised and frustrated to have the car perform like that. But you just have to get back at it.”
Force has faced Campbell in the first round in each of the last four races, with Campbell winning the last two. Force’s Camaro smoked the tires Sunday, and though she pedaled the car, Campbell turned on the win light.
Force’s pass was 6.531 at 104.87 mph, while Campbell went to the second round with a 4.370-second pass at 209.26 mph.
“Our crew chiefs are trying to wrap their heads around it and figure out how we can fix the problem as quickly as possible so we are ready to go at Las Vegas,” said Force, referring to the next race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. “Really, we just have to take this thing back to basics and get it running like it did at Pomona and during the off-season. We’re looking deeper into this at the things we might have changed, even the small things that we can change back to get it more consistent like we had it before. We are at least having good ETs. For the most part we know we are on the right path.”
During Nitro Spring Training preseason testing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Force made a pass under the Funny Car elapsed-time record, 3.804 seconds. Though it was unofficial because it came during testing, Force then knew she had a solid team led by crew chief Daniel Hood and co-crew chief Ronnie Thompson.
Force then made the final round in Pomona, Calif., to kick off the season. Early defeats in Phoenix and Gainesville, though, has the Advance Auto Parts searching for consistency.
“We just have to get this car running more consistently, especially on a heated track like this, especially with the hot part of the season about to kick off,” Force said. “There are going to be a lot of hot races coming up. Definitely a little bummed out for our Advance Auto Parts team. But we have a great car with this Chevy Camaro. We will just keep pushing it hard.”
The fourth round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule is March 31-April 2, the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada.