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With Busy Weekend In Seattle Ahead, Brittany Force Eyes First Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals Win

Track records continue to fall this year for NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series star Brittany Force. But the defending Top Fuel world champion is still after her first victory of the 2023 campaign, and this weekend’s 34th annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways would be an ideal time to get it.

It comes as the second race of the NHRA’s famed three-race Western Swing, meaning the Countdown to the Championship playoffs are closing in. Force has been consistent and is currently fourth in points, but a mid-season victory would go a long way in helping the team get ready to defend their championship.

The stop in Seattle is also Force’s sponsor’s race, putting even more importance on the NHRA’s annual visit to the Pacific Northwest. Force finished as the runner-up a year ago in her 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac/Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster, hoping to take it one step further this year and claim her first Seattle Top Fuel win.

“Seattle is next on the list for the Western Swing and this Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team is excited to get there with Flav-R-Pac being the title sponsor of the event,” Force said. “Our boss, Frank Tiegs, is going to be there along with a bunch of Flav-R-Pac employees and family are going to be there, so we’re looking forward to it.

“I’m getting to go in a little early on Thursday and do some media around Seattle and really get to talk up this race to hopefully get as many fans out to the track as possible. I’m also really looking forward to getting to meet some of the Seattle Storm WNBA players. I’ll be going to their game on Thursday and they’ll be out at the track on Friday.

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Robert Hight (Funny Car) both won the 2022 event, and this year’s race will be broadcast on both the FOX and Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including eliminations coverage starting at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 23 on FOX. It is the 11th of 21 races during the 2023 campaign and Force is confident her team is headed for a big finish this year.

The team made a number of changes to the car a year after setting track records across the country, winning five races and picking up a Top Fuel world title. While Force has continued to set track records – also qualifying No. 1 four times – a win has escaped them.

It’s a loaded field in the Top Fuel ranks, led by current points leader Justin Ashley, who has four wins this year, and also the likes of defending event winner Schumacher, who beat Force in the final round, Leah Pruett, Denver winner Clay Millican, teammate Austin Prock and Antron Brown.

But Force is focused on the steps she needs to make heading into the weekend and coming up with big results on raceday. It didn’t happen in Denver to open the Western Swing, but Force believes the turnaround could come this weekend in Seattle.

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“Most importantly this weekend, we need to turn out luck around,” said Force, who has 16 career Top Fuel wins. “We struggled a little bit in Denver on race day. We went out early in the first round. There two more (in the Western Swing), which we love. So luckily for us, we get right back to it in just a couple days. We’ll be looking for some good qualifying runs and going rounds on race day.”

Funny Car’s Hight finished off a dominant Western Swing a year ago with a Seattle win, one of eight victories he enjoyed in 2022. He’ll look after another against points leader and Denver winner Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, John Force and J.R. Todd.

Fans in Seattle will get their first-ever glimpse at Pro Stock Motorcycle. Points leader Gaige Herrera has enjoyed a strong start to 2023, winning four events, but others to watch include Hector Arana Jr., defending world champ Matt Smith, Eddie Krawiec, Angie Smith, Steve Johnson and rookie Chase Van Sant.

All three professional classes will take part in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge bonus race on Saturday, which brings competitive racing – including a bonus purse and bonus points – to qualifying. Millican races Shawn Langdon, and Doug Kalitta faces off with Steve Torrence in Top Fuel, while the Funny Car matchups include Hagan against Capps and Alexis DeJoria against Todd. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Herrera races Van Sant, and A. Smith takes on Arana Jr., with the winners in all classes meeting in the final round of the specialty race on Saturday.

NHRA legend Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will be the grand marshal at the event and will be in the announcer’s booth for Friday’s first qualifying session. He will then take part in a Super Fan Appreciation Meet & Greet and Breakfast at the Finish Line Club Saturday at 9 a.m., followed by an autograph session at 11 a.m. at the Flav-R-Pac display and a Q&A session with fans at the Nitro Alley Stage between the second and third qualifying sessions. Prudhomme also will be part of the NHRA on FOX broadcast show that evening. Prior to eliminations, Prudhomme will lead the SealMaster NHRA Track Walk Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and will be celebrated as the event’s grand marshal during the pre-race ceremony.

The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, featuring some of the top drivers in the sport. The weekend includes the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League Shootout as well, along with autograph sessions at the Toyota and Mission Foods Midway Displays.

Race fans at Pacific Raceways can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the Seattle event winners.

Fans are invited to the Nitro Alley Stage all weekend, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into Nitro Alley. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets and much more. As always, fans get a pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. Fans can see their favorite teams in action and servicing their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. They can also visit NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food, and fun.

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 4:00 p.m. PT on Friday, July 21 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 22 at 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. PT on Sunday, July 23. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations on FOX at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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To purchase tickets to the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, fans can visit www.nhra.com or call 800-884-6472. For more information about NHRA, visit www.nhra.com.

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.