Seemingly, it just keeps getting better and better for Courtney Force.
First, the John Force Racing driver was voted into Sunday’s Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Cars, then she decided to go ahead and swipe the provisional number one qualifying spot from Jack Beckman following the second day of qualifying for the prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.
The California rookie laid down a sizzling 4.049-second pass at 317.27 mph in round three of a scheduled five rounds and in the process knocked Beckman from the provisional pole that he collected on Friday.
“I went up there and saw my dad (John Force) run a 4.07 and bump me down and I thought I better go bump him down,” said Force. “It was a good run for sure. But, hey, this is Indy – it’s awesome. We’re going to keep our heads on straight and get after it again tomorrow.”
Both her elapsed time and speed proved to be career best numbers, which came as a total surprise.
“I had a good feeling about that run, but I didn’t know it would be career bests,” she offered. “The rain delayed us and the more we were delayed, the cooler it was. We figured we might as well go for it. To get career best numbers at Indy is huge.”
Force, sixth in the standings, is in hot pursuit of her first career pole. She’ll be hoping to parlay that success story into a great race day on Monday.
“I was excited going into Indy this week because it’s kind of like a second home track for me. It’s where John Force Racing is based. We’ve had a lot of family history at this track and my sister (Ashley Force Hood) has been really successful here so I’m definitely excited to be racing in the Funny Car class,” she said.
Force clearly has some big shoes to fill this weekend, knowing that older sister, Ashley Force Hood, took back-to-back wins at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in 2009 and 2010.
“I really want to push our team hard and see what our Traxxas Ford Mustang can pull out this weekend. We have a good race car and we’re just hoping to go out there and get some good runs in and make it into the Countdown.”
It’s pretty much a safe bet now that she will make it into the Countdown since all she had to do was qualify for the race.
“We’re excited,” she added.
Since the NHRA began awarding points for the three quickest passes during each qualifying session, drivers in all of the professional classes seemingly emerged from a deep sleep to realize the significance of a pre-final eliminations lap down the track.
With the potential of making up almost a round of racing over two qualifying days (three days in the case of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals race weekend), Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, who has been making a late regular-season push to make it into the Countdown to the Championship field, understands the importance of every 1,000-foot trip.
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