The off season was incredibly long and Courtney Force is ready to start fresh, putting a tough 2015 season behind her. After wrapping up her toughest season since her 2012 Funny Car debut, her Traxxas team weathered a win-less season, with 15 first-round losses that left her outside the top 10 for the Countdown to the Championship. Though they struggled, Force did qualify on the pole at two events (Pomona and Charlotte) and had a runner-up finish in Norwalk, Ohio. She posted a new career-best ET of 3.933 seconds in qualifying at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the end of the year. She was able to maintain a firm hold on the record for most Funny Car wins in a season by a female (four) and most Funny Car wins overall for a female Funny Car driver with seven career tour victories.
I think I’ve become mentally stronger as a driver going into my 5th year of racing and have learned through all the ups and downs. I think any mistake you make as a driver is only for the better and you can take some much away from that if you choose to look at it with a positive attitude, and that’s what I’m doing this season,” said Force.
Force is ready to start fresh with her Traxxas team for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series tour, and already is showing optimistic improvements. During the Nitro Spring Training pre-season test sessions at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the team worked through some issues on the car in the first few days, leading Courtney to impressive full pulls which led to a career-best 3.890 seconds at 323.89 mph.
This season we are pushing hard to get our car back in that top 10 since we missed that opportunity last year. We are going to fight hard at every race with that as our primary focus. Obviously we have high hopes of having a race car to chase that championship, but we are going to take this one race at a time. We have a couple new guys on my team and have Dan Hood and Ronnie Thompson as co-crew Chiefs this year so I am eager to get started!”
The season opener will be the first event for new Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car co-crew chiefs Dan Hood and Ronnie Thompson at the Force Family’s home track in Pomona. Both Hood and Thompson were assistant Crew Chiefs until this year.
I think our team made some huge progress this past week during testing in Phoenix. I think we have a better handle on this car than we did last year going into Pomona so that is giving us some confidence. When we ran my career best during testing and the car showed some consistency on the runs, it made me really excited for the upcoming season,” said Force.
Courtney Force and the Traxxas team hope to defend their 2015 pole with a strong start at the 56th Annual Circle K Winternationals in front of their home crowd and fans at Auto Club Raceway. This year also marks the 50th Anniversary for the Funny Car class. Qualifying will begin Thursday, February 11th, with sessions on Friday and Saturday. Eliminations will begin Sunday, February 14th.
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
2780 Fairplex Drive
Pomona, CA 91768
Elevation: 1,100 feet
Tickets: nhra.com/tickets; 800-884-NHRA (6472)
Radio Frequency: 105.3 FM