Brittany Force falls just short of first win
For the fifth time in her career and the first time this season, Brittany Force raced to a runner-up finish in Top Fuel at the 46th Annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey. Her bid to become the eighth woman to win in drag racing’s Top Fuel class fell just short to New Jersey native Antron Brown in the final round. Force qualified No. 6 and worked her way to the final round by defeating Richie Crampton, Tony Schumacher and Terry McMillen.
Overall this was an awesome day for this Monster Energy team. I am so proud of every one of my guys. They put everything into this dragster this weekend. We went all the way to the final and I don’t even know how that happened it was just a blur today. You can tell they are bummed and they really wanted to take home that win but I am so proud of them and especially my crew chiefs Todd Smith and Ronnie Thompson,” said Force.
Force and the Monster Energy team faced Richie Crampton in the first round, hoping to avenge the semi-final loss against Crampton in Kansas. Both former Rookie of the Year recipients were quick off the line, but Crampton lost traction immediately and aborted, while Brittany thundered through to a 3.848 second elapsed time at 316.01 mph. The win was critical for the team and would move Brittany into round two with lane choice against 8-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher.
Again, the pair would leave the line together, but Schumacher would also go up in smoke instantly, allowing Brittany to take the win with another consistent 3.838 second E.T. at 314.02 mph. For the second race in a row, Force bested the former World Champ, evening her career head-to-head record against ‘The Sarg’ at 3-3.
It always helps when you get multiple round wins against anyone. We just use that to keep moving forward and to keep pushing a little bit harder. Really now having Monster Energy on board we now have the power to push harder. We can be more aggressive and push the performance,” said an excited Force.
Force moved on to face Terry McMillen in round number three. She would again reach the finish line first with a 3.899 at 314.09 mph, but would lose a fuel line at the top end and upset the blower. This would cost her lane-choice in the final against Antron Brown. Though she would leave first, Brittany shook the tires shortly after the launch. She tried to pedal, but seeing the hometown boy was out ahead she clicked off. Antron drove straight through the finish, with a solid 3.843 at 318.47 mph.
We pushed it all the way to the finals this weekend. Earlier in the season we were playing it safe because we didn’t have a sponsor and we couldn’t press as hard on the parts. We are a lot more confident and we are proud to be teamed up with Monster Energy.”
Two weeks ago, Force raced to her first semi-final finish of the season, and her advance to the final round of Englishtown moves her up in the Mello Yello point standings from 11th place to 8th place. The runner-up finish marked the first final for her new sponsor Monster Energy, who last saw the final round with Kenny Bernstein’s Funny Car team, where they lost to John Force at Brainerd August 2007.
Brittany Force, in her third professional year of Top Fuel, is only 29 points out of 7th place with nine races left in the regular season, and is now headed to Epping, New Hampshire for the 3rd Annual NHRA New England Nationals this weekend.
I love having back to back races. That is the best part about having some momentum. We ended on a good note and we went to our fifth final. We only have a few days off and we go right back into the next one. I like to get into that groove and so does my team,” said Force, on the prospect of racing three weekends in a row.