Monster Energy's Brittany Force can't repeat Gatornationals glory
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19) – Monster Energy driver Brittany Force couldn’t repeat her blockbuster victory in the NHRA Gatornationals, falling in the second-round Sunday at Gainesville Raceway.
Force scored her first professional victory here in 2016, sharing the winner’s circle with John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight, who won in Funny Car.
“It was a tough weekend,” Force said. “We went out early in the second round, and that’s obviously not what we wanted. We wanted to come back here and win this race because we did it last year.”
Force made a solid pass in the first round in what was a single pass after Larry Dixon had mechanical issues, but she stumbled in the second against Steve Torrence, ending her day early.
“We’re going to put all our energy, all our momentum, everything we know into Las Vegas in a couple weeks and go after the win there,” Force said. “We’re still looking for that first win of the season, and there’s no better place to do it than Vegas.”
Force’s Monster Energy team rebuilt her dragster after the Phoenix race, and she still managed to qualify No. 4. In the first round, Force made a run of 3.716 seconds at 328.54 mph after Dixon’s car was pulled off the starting line.
But as Torrence, her erstwhile Alan Johnson Racing teammate, sped to a pass of 3.759 seconds at 325.77 mph, Force slowed to a 6.507-second pass at 90.02 mph.
“We had a few battles of our own coming here,” Force said. “We put a new front half on it and made quite a few changes in the cockpit. That affects everybody and me as a driver. To be able to go out with a new front half and go down the race track three runs in qualifying was pretty outstanding.
“It may not look like our best day, but we got some good runs in and some information to set us up for Vegas.”
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.