PHOENIX (March 1, 2008) --- Courtney Force was realistic about her performance at her first Lucas Oil divisional race at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. While the 19-year old Yorba Linda, Calif., resident failed to qualify she knew getting valuable seat time was just as important.
“We made three full passes this weekend. Every pass I made I felt more comfortable. We dropped a cylinder on my last qualifying pass but even that was a learning experience,” said the Santiago Canyon College student.
In the first Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying session of the day, the former high school cheerleader and auto shop student laid down a 5.681 sec., 258.96 mph pass, a slight improvement over her first pass but not nearly enough to get her into the one of the top eight spots.
In the last session a dropped cylinder slowed her Jerry Darien owned Top Alcohol Dragster to 5.868 sec., 239.95 mph. At the end of the day Force was sitting in 13th place with only the quickest eight dragsters moving on to tomorrow’s eliminations.
In addition to experience, the goal for both Courtney and her recently licensed sister, Brittany is to have fun at the races. This message is a directive from their 14-time Funny Car World Champion John Force.
“I don’t want to create false impressions for either of the girls. They are learning and we want them to have fun and be safe,” said the eldest Force.
This weekend’s event in Phoenix felt more like a family reunion for the youngest Force as she was surrounded by her sisters, Brittany and Ashley (driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car) and her parents but not the usual crowd that follows the Force family to NHRA national events across the country.
“It was definitely more fun to be at the races when there aren’t millions of people around. I like seeing the fans but it is also easier to race when you don’t have as many distractions. It is fun being with my family and just getting experience. Being relaxed and just hanging out makes all the difference.”
Courtney opened the season as the No. 14 qualifier at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Pomona, Calif., before dropping her first round match-up to Joey Severance. Her next event is tentatively scheduled to be the 21st annual NHRA O’Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, March 27-30.
Both Courtney and Brittany Force spent the past two seasons building their racing resume in the ultra-competitive Super Comp class before stepping up to the Top Alcohol Dragster class this season.