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Brittany Force Earns No. 3 Provisional Qualifying Spot at NHRA Winternationals

Winning the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals has long been on Brittany Force’s bucket list. After Friday’s single nitro qualifying session, the two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion on Friday appears well on her way toward hopefully achieving that goal.

Force’s Mark Christopher Auto Center Chevrolet/Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster was third quickest of the 17-car field, with an outstanding run of 3.783 seconds at 330.39 mph at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip.

“Coming out of a tough weekend in the season opener at Gainesville, Pomona is my home track and you want to do well there,” said Force. “We have Mark Christopher on the car and we want to make them proud and get them into the winner’s circle.

“There’s a lot of pressure and looking at the forecast (Saturday), we may have only one qualifying session heading into the finals (on Sunday). It was a solid run.”

Force recorded the best performance of the three-car John Force Racing team.

Force’s teammate, Austin Prock, is the provisional ninth-quickest in the Auto Club of Southern California/Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car.

Prock recorded a run of 4.758 seconds at 229.31 mph in Friday’s solo qualifying session.

“I can run a lot better than 4.75 and smoking the tires like we did,” Prock said.

“The track was real tricky tonight. The thing was hooked up and then it just (lost traction). It didn’t give me any signal at all. I was feathering the throttle just to keep it off the wall.

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“But sitting ninth right now, fingers crossed, hopefully we can get better weather than what’s forecast tomorrow and hopefully get this Auto Club of Southern California Camaro into the top half.

“I know I can do a better job than what I did and if it gets rained out tomorrow, at least we’re in the field and racing on Sunday.”

The Auto Club team also earned a berth in this week’s Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge with a semi-final result in the season-opening Gatornationals two weeks ago. He will face Chad Green in the first round of the Challenge that will take place simultaneously with the second round of Winternationals qualifying on Saturday, weather permitting.

Team owner John Force had his hands full in his qualifying run, with things not turning out the way he had hoped.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion and winner of 155 national events lost traction roughly 300 feet down the dragstrip and then drifted across the center line, causing an immediate disqualification.

As a result, the driver of the PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS is not among the 16 drivers who are qualified thus far. He is hoping Saturday’s weather forecast is more positive so that he can get in at least one more qualifying attempt and work his way up into the final field for Sunday’s eliminations.

As Prock and Brittany Force alluded to, weather is a significant concern for Saturday. Two more rounds of nitro qualifying are scheduled at Noon PT and 2:30 p.m. PT, but Mother Nature may have other plans.

Various weather reports peg the chance rain at almost 90% throughout the entire afternoon and into the evening.

Weather permitting, FS1 will televise Qualifying Show No. 1 on Saturday, March 23, from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Qualifying Show No. 2 is Sunday, March 24, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET. The Finals will also air on Sunday, March 24, from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

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This story was originally published on March 23, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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