When the day was done Courtney Force laid claim to one provisional top starting spot and one guaranteed starting spot.
Force made a 4.081-second pass in the second round of of qualifying for the AAA Texas NHRA Nationals to score the provisional No. 1 position. The pass also enables her to head into Saturday’s special race within a race, the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, with the freedom to concentrate on winning instead of focusing on earning a place in the field.
Force also led the first qualifying session with a 4.182 while most of her fellow competitors struggled with a baseline.
“It’s definitely nerve-wracking,” admitted Force, adding, “and I think by our performance, we proved we have a good race car. We can run it in the heat of the day, as well as when it cools down. I’m hoping my run stays on top for tomorrow. I really don’t believe the track will cool down as much as it did today. I’m really hoping it will stick because our main focus is on this Shootout tomorrow.”
Force, who drives the Traxxas Funny Car, was the eighth different Funny Car winner this season. Her victory came one race too late to be automatically seeded into the “Shootout” field. Her berth came via a combination of fan vote and lottery drawing.
Ron Capps, the current Funny Car points leader, is her first round opponent.
“We are the first pair out and he is going to be a tough opponent,” Force admitted. “He’s tough to beat and one of the best cars out here. But then again, I feel like I have one of the best cars out here in Texas.”
Force appeared overly amped up in her post-qualifying press conference.
“Maybe it’s the Full Throttle I’m drinking,” Force admitted. “Or maybe it’s just the adrenaline of coming out of a race car and hearing my guys yell I went to the No. 1 spot. I was hoping this run would be so exciting and make me so proud. This would be my second No. 1 in my rookie season. This has been a great year for us.”
Winning on Saturday and remaining No. 1 would make the season even greater.
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