POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 11) – Courtney Force secured the No. 3 qualifying position for the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season finale, the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, with two of the best Funny Car passes of the weekend.
Driving the specially-wrapped car Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS featuring musical sensation Taylor Swift and her newest album, reputation, Force will stand on her second pass from Friday’s second qualifying session, a 3.871-second run at 334.57 mph. That netted her the No. 2 position for much of the rest of qualifying, only to be bumped down a position late in the final session.
She also ran a similar pass of 3.873 seconds at 331.61 mph in the heat of the day, or the third round Saturday afternoon. With her efforts, Force will race No. 14 Jeff Diehl, whose best pass was 4.107 seconds at 296.31 mph.“I’m really proud of my Advance Auto Parts guys,” said Force, who went to the finals in February’s NHRA Winternationals. “This is a huge weekend. It’s our final race (of the season), it’s a home track for me. I’m really excited to be here. Not only are we still going after that championship, we’re running a Taylor Swift reputation Funny Car this weekend for Big Machine Records and for Advance Auto Parts. To finish off qualifying with seven bonus points, really staying after it, and to qualify in the No. 3 spot is a great way to go into our final race weekend.”
Force is mathematically still eligible to win the title, but she’ll have to win the race, and those in front of her – including teammate and points leader Robert Hight – would have to bow out in the first round.
“We just have to go rounds and see what happens,” Force said. “Our Chevy Camaro is going after the championship.”
Elimination rounds for the Auto Club NHRA Finals begin at 11 a.m. Pacific.
- Qualifying Round 1 (Right Lane): Disqualified – Over Centerline (7.661 seconds/85.43 mph); gets loose just after the green light, then sideways and drops four cylinders on the left side before regaining control and getting to the finish (No. 18 of session and No. 18 overall; no bonus points in session)
- Qualifying Round 2 (Left Lane): 3.871 seconds/334.57 mph; straight down the middle and into the top position (No. 2 of session and No. 2 overall; three bonus points in session and three bonus points overall)
- Qualifying Round 3 (Left Lane): 3.873 seconds/331.61 mph; great pass straight down the groove (No. 1 of session and No. 2 overall; four bonus points in session and seven bonus points overall)
- Qualifying Round 4 (Right Lane): 5.103 seconds/145.89 mph; strikes tires around 330 feet and slows (No. 14 of session and No. 3 overall; no bonus points in session and seven bonus points overall)
- This is the fourth time this season and 13th time in her career Force has qualified No. 3 for a race. The last time she qualified No. 3 was in September at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.
- This is the third time in 12 races that Force has qualified No. 3 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. She has qualified in the top half of the field in nine of those races.
- Force is looking for her third victory and fourth finals appearance from the No. 3 position. Her last victory in the series, at Baytown, Texas, came from the No. 3 spot.
- Force’s first-round matchup against Jeff Diehl marks the sixth time the two will compete against each other and fourth time this season. Force holds a 4-1 advantage in the previous five races, including a 3-0 record this season.
- John Force Racing announced Saturday at Hot Wheels ™ Americana Series™ Car Care Products will become the Official Car Care Products of the championship-winning NHRA drag racing series team, starting this weekend.
About John Force Racing
John Force Racing, Inc., based in Yorba Linda, Calif., and Brownsburg, Ind., is a professional sports dynasty, one that has earned 18 NHRA championships and claimed 258 professional victories in Funny Car (252) and Top Fuel (6). Led by team owner and driver John Force, a 16-time Funny Car Champion, 1996 Driver of the Year for all of American motor racing, 2011 International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee, and driver of the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, JFR is additionally comprised of Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS driver Robert Hight, 2009 Funny Car champion and 2005 NHRA Rookie of the Year; Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS driver Courtney Force, 2012 NHRA Rookie of the Year; and Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster driver Brittany Force, 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year. For more information, please visit johnforceracing.com.
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