Courtney Force, 25, raced into history Sunday by claiming the 100th victory by a female driver in NHRA history Sunday May 25th in the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, in her Traxxas-sponsored Ford Mustang.
Courtney the youngest daughter of 16-time Funny Car champ John Force and his wife Laurie, and one of 14 female winners in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and the third woman to claim victory this year, including Alexis DeJoria (who has won twice this season) and Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens (also with two victories).
''There's just a lot of emotion right now,'' stated Force. 'It' was a long weekend. I'm so proud of my guys and I am happy to win this for all of the girls who have won races in NHRA over the years beginning with Shirley Muldowney back in 1976.
A native of Vermont, Muldowney began street racing in Schenectady, NY during the 1950’s. She made her debut on the dragstrip of the Fonda Speedway at the age of 18 in 1958, and as granted her NHRA pro license 7 years later (the first female to do so). She won her first major event, the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Southern Nationals, in 1971, and went on to become the first driver of either gender to win 3 NHRA Top Fuel world championships in 1977, 1980, and 1982.
Courtney Force made her Funny Car debut at the 52nd annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals after getting her professional license in 2005. She later took championship honors in the NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster category at the Northwest Nationals in Seattle on July 19, 2009.
''I am just so proud of her,'' John Force exclaimed after her latest win. ''She battles like me. People say she looks like her mom and she races like me, and a competitor like her sisters Ashley* and Brittany, as well as her brother-in-law Robert Hight. I saw her jump in there against Cruz Pedregon and then she got the win. I gave her a big hug at the finish line and I just said I loved her and was so proud. I hope she remembers this feeling because history doesn't happen every day.''
*Ashley Force Hood was the first female Funny Car winner in 2008. She retired from competitive racing in 2012.