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Brittany And John Force Make History At NHRA SpringNationals In Houston

On a Saturday threatened with bad weather, John Force and Brittany Force became the first professional father-daughter No. 1 qualifiers in NHRA history. The duo dominated their respective categories through four qualifying sessions to secure the No. 1 qualifiers Saturday at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park. Robert Hight and the AAA Texas team fought their way into the 16-car field as the No. 5 qualifer and rookie Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team found their stride to qualify No. 6.

At the facility where John Force secured his 100th win and Brittany Force had her first victory after a jarring accident, the pair have secured their first double-up No. 1 qualifiers.

“In my career I’ve done a lot of things, won a lot of specialty races but anytime this sport brings we together with my children, that’s what I really love about NHRA drag racing,” said John Force about qualifying No. 1 with his daughter. “We’re one big family. To have a moment with Brittany, that her and I can share together, we’ve really become a lot closer. There won’t be a party tonight, we have a race to win tomorrow but it’ll give us a moment of just looking at each other and me being mostly proud of her.”

Brittany Force holds both ends of the track record after a blistering 3.661-second pass at 332.18 mph from Friday’s session under the lights. The Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster team headed by David Grubnic and Mac Savage had a plan to work some things out during Saturday’s qualifying sessions. They lost traction for a 6.460-second pass on the third run but came back with a solid 3.716-seconds at 306.19 mph even after shutting off early.

“We’re coming in strong this weekend. We had a good weekend in Vegas. We were runner-up at the Four-Wide. We’re coming in strong in Houston. We won this last year and the plan is to come out and win this thing tomorrow on race day. Setting both ends of the track record last night was awesome. A 3.66 on the board is a pretty incredible run by David Grubnic and Mac Savage, and the Advance Auto Parts team. We’re looking for a long day tomorrow. Its where it really begins,” said Force. “Talking to my crew chiefs, we were looking to get setup for tomorrow. In the second run temperatures cooled down a bit so I had a good feeling we’d be able to get it down there and put a good number on the board. We struggled in the third session but overall we’ve had a great weekend with good runs and looking for a long day tomorrow.”

This is Force’s 11th No. 1 qualifying position and first at Houston Raceway Park where she is the defending SpringNationals champion. Force has won from the No. 1 spot only once in her career, but it was significant — the 2017 Auto Club Finals where she clinched her world championship. She’ll start race day matched up with Cameron Ferre.

John Force and his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil BlueDEF team will start race day from the No. 1 position for the first time this season. It is Force’s 156th career No. 1 qualifier, an NHRA record, 18 more than second all-time Warren Johnson who has 138. It is also his 11th No. 1 at Houston Raceway Park. The last time Force qualified No. 1 was the 2017 Gatornationals here he went on to win the race. He’ll be chasing win 150 on Sunday, beginning with a match-up against Terry Haddock.

“I’ve earned a lot of these hats. Not so many lately but Brian Corradi and Dan Hood, Tim Fabrisi, these guys are doing a really good job at teaching the new kids and the old. They give me a hot rod that runs like that, tomorrow is a whole new ball game,” Force said. “Tim Wilkerson is hungry and I thought he was going to be right there with me but tomorrow we have to get after this thing. Tonight, we can share the moment and tomorrow, we’ll come out here to Houston Raceway Park to entertain the fans. Again, I want to thank the Angel family. The Angels spent their money and that is what our sport is all about for us to survive in this economy. To run numbers like that on a great race track makes me feel really good and, especially, to see my baby girl do the same so thank you to the whole family and God bless you.”

Force’s 3.888 second run came during the first qualifying session Friday at Houston Raceway Park and held through both sessions on Saturday. Force and his PEAK BlueDEF team went up in smoke early and had to click the Chevy Camaro off in the first session but came back with a solid pass of 3.923-seconds at 324.20 mph to close out the night.

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Eliminations at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals begin Sunday at 11 a.m. Tune into FOX Sports 1 (FS1) for live finals beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

This story was originally published on April 14, 2019. Drag Illustrated

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