Courtney Force raced to the NHRA’s historic 100th victory by a female driver in the Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
After experiencing heartbreak in the first attempt at the historic win last Monday in Atlanta, Courtney Force managed to win the top spot on the podium with a final-round funny car win over two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon. This was Force’s second attempt to earn the landmark victory in two weeks and the 25–year old made the most of the chance. This is Courtney’s fourth personal win of her career and first of the year.
Force, No. 1 qualifier, finished in 4.148 seconds at 306.46 mph in a tricked-out red and black Ford Mustang that looked as if it could easily fly if offered a ramp. Pedregon, a four-time winner at HPT, had a run of 4.225 at 250.60 mph and managed to come second.
Courtney Force is one of 14 female winners in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, starting with Shirley Muldowney in Top Fuel in 1976. Courtney nearly accomplished the feat last weekend in Georgia, but she lost a close final-round race to her teammate Robert Hight. She is coincidentally one of only three women who have won races this season, joining fellow funny car racer Alexis DeJoria, a two-time season winner, and Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens. On Saturday, Force and her sister Brittany, a Top Fuel driver, were both No. 1 qualifiers, reported ABC NEWS.
Pedregon had taken out Force’s teammate and brother-in-law, Robert Hight, in the first round, reported CJ Online. Even Courtney’s father, 16-time and reigning funny car champion John Force, went out in the first round, losing to Bob Tasca III. But a determined Courtney went on to put John Force Racing in the final round for the 15th straight funny car event before capping the day with the win over Pedregon.
“You could see the emotions on my face after my loss in the final round last weekend, so this is a big deal,” said Force. “It’s for all the girls out there who are in any type of sport, any motorsport. It’s an exciting day for us and it’s an honor to be No. 100 on a list of the legends. There are just so many great names and it’s really an honor to be a part of it,” continued Courtney.
Comebacks are always special and Courtney Force has proven that a strong-willed attitude can turn around fortunes.
[Image Credit | Chris Neal via CJ Online]