BRITTANY FORCE AND MONSTER ENERGY TEAM ATTACK TOPEKA WITH NATIONAL RECORD SETTING PASS
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 20, 2016) – Fourth-year pro and Monster Energy athlete Brittany Force sped to a 3.676 ET at 325.45 mph in the second round of qualifying at Heartland Park Topeka for the Kansas Nationals. The elapsed time was not only a career-best for Force, but a new national record in the Top Fuel category. Force jumped from the No. 10 position to the top qualified position and added three qualifying bonus points to the Monster Energy team’s allotment.
“I love coming to this track. We’ve had some good luck here. Courtney and I were No. 1 qualifiers back a year or two ago and we’ve always had some pretty good luck… not all the way, so we’re hoping to take it just a little bit further this weekend and end up in the Winner’s Circle. That would be awesome,” said the 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year.
Force qualified No. 1 two years ago in Top Fuel with her sister Courtney Force atop the Funny Car field. Many changes have been made to the team since then, including the addition of Brian Husen and Top Fuel consultant Alan Johnson.
“That was and incredible run for the entire Monster Energy team. It definitely felt good. I knew that Alan Johnson and my crew chief Brian Husen with the conditions and how the Funny Cars were running, but definitely excited. It really pumps us up and gets us ready for tomorrow and the race day on Sunday,” said the provisional No. 1 qualifier.
Courtney Force and her Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car team opened with a 3.899 ET at 331.45 mph in the first qualifying session. It was a big speed that now stands as the 27-year-old’s career best. Force made the second-quickest pass of the round and picked up two bonus points.
In the second session, Force posted a career-best ET with a stellar 3.871 ET at 331.12 mph. She sits No. 4 going into Saturday’s additional qualifying rounds, just missing another sought-after bonus point by one position.
“The conditions were amazing out here today at Heartland Park Topeka. It’s great to be back here with the fans. The stands were packed which is great to see. The new owners and their staff did a great job getting this track ready to go for the drivers, teams and fans; from the concessions stands to the grandstands to the race track. We’re really excited to be back here. They proved that this track was ready for us because we laid down some solid numbers. We had great track conditions and we know that’s not an easy task.”
“A lot of these teams laid down some solid numbers. We had two great back-to-back three-second runs that were career bests for me, so we’re really excited to have had such a great start to this weekend. We picked up two bonus points and I posted a career-best speed in Q1, followed by my new career-best ET in Q2. Those runs put us in the No. 4 spot and it really shows how quick the competition is here this weekend. I think it’s going to be a fast weekend here at Heartland Park,” added Force.
Robert Hight made two solid runs down the drag strip at Heartland Park Topeka and ended the day in the top half of the field in the No. 8 spot. His Auto Club Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car ran 3.932 ET at 327.11 in the first session and followed up with an improved 3.907 ET at a new career-best speed for Hight, 332.84 mph.
“We’re just a run behind it here. These are unbelievable conditions; conditions we’ve never seen before as you can see all the Funny Cars doing so great and I think we’re one run from being right there at the top. I just hope we get the same conditions tomorrow and we get a third try at it,” said the 2009 Funny Car World Champion.
John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car team were left in the No. 12 position after posting a 4.107 ET at 326 mph in the first qualifying session. They went to work on the car making some changes for the second qualifying pass. Conditions were ideal and crew chiefs were swinging for low ETs and big speeds.
Force launched hard, but experienced tire shake in the following session, smoked the tires, did a quick pedal job, but scuffed the left lane guard wall. It was the debut weekend for the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car and the second pass down the track for the new body. Force made the best of his first day of qualifying at the Kansas Nationals in an interview with media this evening.
“First of all I want to apologize to all the Chevrolet enthusiasts out there, everyone that worked on this car and helped design it. The first run that we made with the car…..there are two different kinds of shake. There is an aggressive shake and a weak shake and on those two types, you have to know which way to pedal it. If it’s weak, it’s got to be real quick snap of the pedal to get off and get back on to catch it. And that is what I did on the first run, it was weak. It still ran 4.10 and put me in the top 12 in the show and ran a 327 or 326 something. So it cut the air, steered perfect, and the view was awesome. Everything was good about it. So we went back to work and said we have to get after this thing because the conditions were getting better.”
“It left hard, did the same thing. People had been running some big numbers and when it rattled again so I tried to catch it quicker thinking it was a weak shake. I was thinking I could step up and put myself higher in the show. Well, it was an aggressive shake which means I should have got out of it and waited. But I didn’t know. And right as I went back to hit it, you can see on the video that it was starting to turn and it’s just enough when you hit that throttle its sideways and it put me straight into the wall. It’s a shame because of all the hard work. We can’t fix it and it will have to go back, and go back in the mold. And that is all we can do right now,” said the 16-time Funny Car Champion.
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NHRA ON TV
5/21/2016 Qualifying 11:00 PM - 1:00 AM ET (FS1)
5/22/2016 Qualifying 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM ET (FS2)
5/22/2016 Finals 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM ET (FS1) LIVE
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JOHN FORCE, 67, PEAK/Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
ROBERT HIGHT, 46, Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 8th, 3.907, 332.84 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
COURTNEY FORCE, 27, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS
Qualifying: 4th, 3.871, 331.12 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +2 (second-quickest of Q1)
BRITTANY FORCE, 29, Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying: 1st, 3.676, 325.45 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +3 (quickest of Q2)
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Saturday, May 21
3rd round qualifying 2:00 PM
4th round qualifying 4:30 PM
Sunday, May 22
Final Eliminations 11:00 AM