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Brittany Force scored career-first top qualifier in Topeka

Brittany Force’s Castrol EDGE Dragster proved to be the dominant Top Fuel dragster at the NHRA Kansas Nationals as she ran a career best ET and top speed 3.746 seconds at 329.75 mph and claimed her first ever number one Top Fuel qualifying spot. She was on track to get that trip to the winner’s circle and potentially claim NHRA’s 100th pro female driver win milestone.

Brittany Force lands her first #1 qualifier in Top Fuel, joining her sister Courtney Force (Funny Car) as the first pair of sisters to sit atop the pole for an event.
John Force Racing/ Gary Nastase Photography

“I’m so happy at how we did this weekend. We were the number one qualifier and we’ve never done that before. We ran a career best 3.74 ET and were super pumped about that so to come out here and go rounds is what we wanted to do,” said Brittany Force.

She shared the top qualifying limelight with her sister Courtney Force, who raced around her 16-time champion father John Force to grab the Funny Car No. 1 spot. This is the first time sisters have qualified on the pole at the same Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in history.

Unfortunately, a catastrophic engine failure during the semi-final round of eliminations ended her day early, but it did nothing to dampen Brittany’s spirits or enthusiasm.

“Obviously we wanted to go all the way, make it to the finals and be in the winner’s circle, but our day got cut a little short. However, I’m so proud of my team and we turned it around this weekend and we have a great race car. I’m anxious to get to Englishtown and see what happens,” said Brittany Force.

In the opening round, No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force lined up against Luigi Novelli. This was the first time these two drivers had faced each other in eliminations. At the first hint of green on the Christmas tree, Brittany left the starting line and never looked back. Her Castrol EDGE Dragster ran a 3.872 pass while her competitor in the next lane had difficulties with his car and had to shut it down early in the run. Brittany’s car also some mechanical issues as her car crossed the finish line but she still got the win and advanced to the next round were she would face Khalid alBalooshi.

“Being the number one qualifier, there’s actually a little more pressure and it can be overwhelming but I try to keep my same focus. I’ve also been working on my lights and they’re getting better,” said Brittany Force.

In the second round, Brittany did not have lane choice but that did not stop her, as once again the 10,000 horsepower Castrol EDGE Dragster streaked to a 3.828 second run at 322.88 mph over alBalooshi who smoked the tires almost immediately. Brittany was ready for her semi-final match up against Spencer Massey, who she had faced many times in prior races.

During the semi-finals, Brittany’s Castrol EDGE Dragster was on a good run until it hit the lights. That’s when the BOSS 500 engine started to self-destruct and burst into a huge fireball. Massey was able to hold on for the win while Brittany was fined ten NHRA Mello Yello Points for oiling the track. It was a tough break for the 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year who has working hard on achieving her first win for the Castrol EDGE team.

With Brittany Force being the seventh female driver to qualify No. 1 in Top Fuel in NHRA history, she knows the racing community is looking at even more closely as she’s begun going rounds and hanging tough in the top-ten of the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel points chase. Leaving Topeka, Brittany holds onto 8th place, but now she has a 137 point lead over Bob Vandergriff who is in 11th place.