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2013 NHRA: Brittany Moving Forward - To Phoenix
Posted by: newsla on Feb 20, 2013 - 07:02 PM
2013 NHRA: Brittany Moving Forward - To Phoenix

The longest journey begins with a single step. Rookie Brittany Force took that first step (and a couple more) during last week’s season-opening O’Reilly Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., her debut event at the controls of the fully-canopied Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster.


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Her goal in this week’s 29th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals is to maintain that forward momentum and deliver John Force Racing’s first round win in a pro category other than Funny Car. It also would be Team Castrol’s first Top Fuel round win since Pat Austin beat Blaine Johnson at Topeka, Kan., in 1995.

Although she lost to Brandon Bernstein in the very first round of last week’s race, Brittany will roll to the starting line for Friday’s first qualifying session considerably more confident than one normally might expect. .

“Even though we went out in the first round, I’m still excited and I’m glad to be out here racing with my dad, my sister Courtney and my brother-in-law, Robert Hight. We qualified (for the quickest Top Fuel field in NHRA drag racing history) and we actually improved our performance when we went up against Brandon.

“I thought I was going to be really nervous, but I surprised myself. I came out here and everyone told me to think about it like it was testing in West Palm (Beach, Fla., where the team conducted two separate pre-season tests),” said the 26-year-old graduate of Cal State-Fullerton.

“That’s pretty much what I did. I was a lot more relaxed than I thought I would be. I put everything out of my mind and went up there and did my thing. We had a good car and we made a good run.”

Now, she tries to translate that performance into round wins while a crew led by Dean “Guido” Antonelli and Eric Lane starts to twist the knobs and nozzles on the Ford BOSS 500 engine that produces a remarkable 10,000 horsepower.

Although she is a Top Fuel rookie, Brittany will benefit this week from past experience at Firebird International Raceway where she drove in both Super Comp and Top Alcohol Dragster. In fact, she was eliminated in the fourth round of Super Comp (one of the last 13 drivers in a 102-car field) at the 2004 Arizona Nationals, beaten by fellow Californian Shawn Langdon who, ironically, is the current Top Fuel points leader.

“I think it helps being familiar with a track,” Brittany said, “but, really, I just want to get back on the track, any track. That is the best scenario for me. It was hard during testing when I would have a month off between runs. I felt mentally like I was starting over. Having back-to-back races are the best thing for my comfort level as a rookie. I like getting right back out there.”

Although she raced to personal bests of 3.822 seconds and 323.43 mph in last week’s loss, she expects improvement this week.

“I always get with “Hop” (Lane) after each run and go over everything,” she said. “We talk about doing my same routine. They want me to (shallow stage) and just do the same thing, over and over. We got a lot of good information (last week) and we’ll be ready for Phoenix.”

The question is, will Phoenix be ready for her?

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