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Brittany and John Force top early qualifying at NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park

by Mike Haag | Posted on Friday, April 12th, 2019

By Mike Haag

BAYTOWN, Texas – It was a father-daughter duo that stole the show in the early rounds of Nitro qualifying on Friday at the 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil.

Brittany and John Force. NHRA photo

Brittany Force, who is the 2018 Top Fuel dragster world champion, along with her father John Force, a 16-time Funny Car world champion, both topped the leaderboard in their respective classes.

Never before in NHRA history has this father-daughter duo been the low qualifier at the same event. They will attempt to secure their provisional No. 1 qualifying positions when the final two rounds of qualifying are held on Saturday afternoon at Houston Raceway Park.

  1. Force, driving her Advance Auto Parts dragster, led the field after she recorded a pass of 3.661-seconds at 332.18 mph in the second session. That run enabled her to set both ends of the track record and secure a new Houston Raceway track record.

“That’s an amazing pass for this team,” Brittany said.  “It took us awhile to find our stride and really, we’ve been turning a corner these last few races. In Vegas, we almost had it, we were runner-up. Then to come out here and go No. 1 Friday is awesome. But really, ultimately, we’re looking for a win.”

Brittany Force. NHRA photo

Force added, “After we got the first run done, we knew we were safe, depending on weather conditions tomorrow, we knew that number would hold us. We were able to push like we wanted in the second session and David Grubnic told me before I jumped in, ‘I’m going to surprise you and I’m going to put a hell of a number on the board,’ and he certainly did. I couldn’t hear him at the end of the track but I knew it was good. No clue it was a .66 until I got out of the car.”

Meanwhile, her father J. Force and his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil / BlueDEF Chevy Camaro SS team grabbed the provisional No. 1 spot in Funny Car with a pass clocked at 3.888 seconds at 319.29 mph during the second qualifying session.

“My daughter Brittany. I thought the .88 was impressive in a Funny Car,” J. Force said. “But that .66 was real impressive. That team, they know what they’re doing and my group, they’re having to put up with me. So, we’ll see what happens. My hot rod does the running for me.”

John Force. NHRA photo

Last year here at this event J. Force failed to qualify for the event. A victory this weekend would be his eighth at Houston while Brittany is aiming for her second win here.

“You look at Houston and they always seem to have pretty good race tracks,” Force said.  “I won my 100th here and the conditions have been good. We’ve had cloud cover all day.  “Tim Wilkerson (who was in the lane next to Force) joked with me that he clicked it off a little early to give it to me but he was right there too. We’ll see where it goes. We want to come back and see if we can do it again. We slowed down and ran a .95.

Force added, “We need to give credit to the Angel family (who own and operate Houston Raceway Park),” continued Force. “Whatever they did down there on the track, we used to have problems and the money they’ve invested in this track and NHRA was a good call.”

Saturday’s racing action at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil will continue with nitro qualifying beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT.  The elimination rounds are set for Sunday at 11 a.m.

Media Center Interviews:

Brittany Force – 


John Force – 


BAYTOWN, Texas — Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil, fifth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Brittany Force, 3.661 seconds, 332.18 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.703, 324.67; 3. Leah Pritchett, 3.720, 326.40; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.727, 316.45; 5. Terry McMillen, 3.732, 323.04; 6. Mike Salinas, 3.735, 321.27; 7. Austin Prock, 3.745, 322.42; 8. Jordan Vandergriff, 3.746, 317.72; 9. Billy Torrence, 3.754, 323.58; 10. Scott Palmer, 3.771, 321.81; 11. Richie Crampton, 3.780, 317.19; 12. Antron Brown, 3.782, 320.74; 13. Clay Millican, 3.805, 310.70; 14. Shawn Reed, 4.024, 236.63; 15. Cameron Ferre, 4.028, 291.89; 16. Jim Maroney, 4.054, 288.21. Not Qualified: 17. Kebin Kinsley, 5.132, 163.26.

Funny Car — 1. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.888, 319.29; 2. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.895, 321.12; 3. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.903, 326.08; 4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.916, 318.47; 5. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.929, 324.67; 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.932, 311.34; 7. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.940, 317.94; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.958, 317.34; 9. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.978, 303.30; 10. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.979, 314.68; 11. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.037, 311.92; 12. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.090, 309.27; 13. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 4.118, 293.98; 14. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.182, 294.69; 15. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.810, 168.43; 16. Todd Simpson, Charger, 5.169, 149.56. Not Qualified: 17. Robert Hight, 5.342, 158.26.

About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 30 years. In addition to working for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 15 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike also teaches English at Floresville High School.

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