Advance Auto’s Courtney Force ready to win again at Heartland Park
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 16) – The memories of Heartland Park Topeka come flooding back like a tidal wave for Advance Auto Parts Funny Car driver Courtney Force.
Force qualified No. 1 at Heartland Park – site of the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals this weekend – in 2014, sharing the honor with sister Brittany Force, who earned the No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel.
But Courtney Force didn’t stop there. She beat Dale Creasy Jr., Jeff Arend, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Cruz Pedregon to win the race and score the 100th victory by a female driver in NHRA.
“I’m excited to be heading back to Topeka,” Force said. “This is obviously a track that I have a lot of great memories at: Being No. 1 qualifier along with my sister Brittany a few years back and then being able to take home that 100th win for women in our sport. That was a special moment for me. It’s really cool to be returning to a track that I’m really excited about.”
Force is also excited about how her Advance Auto Parts team has performed lately. She’s been the No. 1 qualifier the last four races, approaching the record of seven Funny Car No. 1s in a row held by Don Prudhomme and her dad, John Force.
Plus, Courtney Force has qualified fourth or better in all seven races of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and has qualified in the top half of the field 33 consecutive races.
“We know how to run on this race track, too.” Force said. “I’m looking forward to getting back there and laying down some new records. Hopefully, we can have a great weekend with our Advance Auto Parts team. For all the females in the sport, it’s always a great reminder when we come to Topeka. It reminds us what we’ve accomplished in this sport and how things continue to evolve.”
Two qualifying sessions are slated for Friday (5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern) and Saturday (3 and 6 p.m.), with final eliminations scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday.
Fox Sports 1 will provide one hour of qualifying coverage on Friday (11 p.m. Eastern) and Saturday (3 p.m.) and three hours of live finals coverage starting at 3 p.m.
• Courtney Force has competed in the NHRA Heartland Nationals five times, and every year since 2012, her first race at the track.
• Force has advanced to the finals once – winning the 2014 race.
• Force is 7-4 in elimination rounds at Heartland Park Topeka.
• Force has qualified No. 1 once for the NHRA Heartland Nationals, when in 2014 she led a JFR 1-2-3 qualifying effort. She went on to win that race, the last time she won a race from the No. 1 position and set the weekend’s quickest time and fastest speed in a single event.
• Force is 3-2 in first-round matchups in the NHRA Heartland Nationals.
• Force is currently seventh in Funny Car points standings, where she has been for two consecutive races.
• In her career, Force has eight victories, 137 round wins, and 14 No. 1 qualifying spots.
• Force’s most recent NHRA victory – 2016 NHRA SpringNationals in Baytown, Texas
• Force’s most recent No. 1 qualifying effort – 2017 NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga.
• Force’s best time/speed at Topeka – 3.871 seconds (2016); 331.45 mph (2016)
• Force’s best time/speed of career – 3.838 seconds (2017 Phoenix Q1); 333.49 mph (2017 Gainesville Q4)