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May 14, 2014 - 06:45 AM
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2014 NHRA: Courtney Force Looking To Be No 100 In Atlanta
Posted by: newsla on May 14, 2014 - 06:42 AM
2014 NHRA: Courtney Force Looking To Be No 100 In Atlanta

For only the third time ever Courtney Force, driver of the Traxxas Ford Mustang in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, will compete in Atlanta this week. Force currently holds the No. 10 spot in the NHRA Funny Car point standings and the 34th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals will give the young driver a chance to improve on her position.


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“This race will be extremely important for my team to move up from the No. 10 spot. It's time to be more consistent. Most importantly, we need to go rounds on race day to close in on the gap between us and the No. 1 spot. It's time to turn things around before we start slipping back,” said Force.

The 2012 Auto Club Road to the Future award winner for NHRA’s top Rookie of the Year is sitting a mere two points behind Tim Wilkerson for the No. 9 spot and about four rounds out of the No. 5 spot.

“Being that I never raced here in the sportsman category in the past, this track is a little less familiar to me on the circuit. However, my Traxxas Ford Mustang has run good here the past two years and we have improved in qualifying each time. Although we only had two chances in qualifying last year, due to rain, we were in the top half with two consistent runs. This weekend I'm hoping to improve from last year and continue to be consistent during qualifying,” said Force.

At the last NHRA event in Houston for the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals, Force qualified No. 16 for the first time in her professional career. In fact, this was the first time in three years the 25-year-old Funny Car driver has qualified lower than the No. 14 spot. Ironically enough, the youngest daughter of legendary driver John Force has only qualified No. 14 twice, with the first time taking her to her first professional Funny Car win in Seattle in 2012. Force qualified No. 14 and subsequently drove her Traxxas Ford Mustang to round wins over Cruz Pedregon, Bob Tasca III, John Force and Matt Hagan for the title.

“Although we qualified 16th last weekend, which is the lowest our team has ever qualified, I was just happy to be in the show at that point. We have struggled a little this season and had a hard time getting our Traxxas Ford Mustang on some consistent passes. I had one run where I got down the track and it spun right before the finish, but it was still good enough to make the show. Every weekend and every track is different so we will put that unlucky qualifying behind us and look forward to improving in Atlanta,” said Force.

This weekend is also a chance for Force to make some history of her own at a track where her sister Ashley Force Hood became the first female Funny Car winner in 2008. Either Courtney Force or her sister Brittany Force could become the 100th female winner of an NHRA national event. Erica Enders Stevens won the 99th event a few weeks ago in Houston and a chance to make history is on Force’s mind heading to Atlanta.

“As a female in a male-dominated sport, it's funny that people can actually come up to you and be, ‘Oh, there are females that race in the sport?’ You're competing against mainly guys. It seems surreal to them. Then they look at you, ‘Oh, man, I can't believe this girl won.’ You want to show them the sheet of paper and go, ‘We've been winning for a very long time starting with Shirley Muldowney, a bunch of other females.’ It's not just one, and it wasn't just in one class. It's pretty cool to see my sister Ashley's name on that list, to see my name on that list. But, man, to get the 100th win for women, it would be amazing. I mean, definitely going to be my goal at this point. To get the 100th, it goes down in the history books. Your name is not going to be coming off that list. It would really be a proud moment if you can have your name next to 100,” said Force.

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