Brittany Force’s Bold Statement in Dallas Puts Her in Position to Compete for Top Fuel Crown
NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship’s Penultimate Race Live on FS1 Sunday at 4:00 PM ET
CHARLOTTE – Long the face of NHRA drag racing, 16-time Funny Car champion John Force is never at a loss for words. So, what does he say to daughter, Brittany, and teammate Robert Hight as they compete for NHRA titles with two races remaining in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship?
Whatever it is, it’s working.
At Dallas, Brittany defeated both Steve Torrence and Doug Kalitta head-to-head and set at track record en route to defeating Shawn Langdon in the final round to leapfrog into second place in Top Fuel points behind Torrence. JFR teammate Robert Hight also won at Dallas, knocking off defending champ and current points leader Ron Capps.
Sunday’s final round from Las Vegas airs live on FS1 Sunday, Oct. 29 (4:00 PM ET), with qualifying airing on FS1 Friday, Oct. 27 (6:00 PM ET) and Sunday, Oct. 29 (3:00 PM ET).
FOX NHRA analyst Tony Pedgreon has some experience with the inner workings of John Force Racing, having won the first of his two NHRA Funny Car titles as a member of the team. So, how does the team function when championships are on the line, and how will the legendary and excitable Force, who has 18 titles as an owner, balance just the right amounts of motivation, experience and support with his two title contenders, both currently sitting in second place – Hight in Funny Car (24 points behind Ron Capps) and Brittany in Top Fuel (57 points behind Torrence). Pedregon offers his insight:
- FOX Sports: Does anything change at JFR when a championship is on the line, or does it stay business as usual? How would you expect John to handle Vegas and Pomona with Brittany in the hunt for a title?
- Pedregon: “John tries to camouflage his nerves with energy, but he will be a nervous parent and will try to help, but give her space at the same time. Mostly, with John, since he has been in these situations so many times, he will remind the teams that they are at ‘Defcon 2,’ and ask his other teams to focus and help Robert and Brittany.”
- FOX Sports: How impressed were you with Brittany in Dallas – beating title contenders Steve Torrence and Doug Kalitta head-to-head, setting a track record and putting herself in position to contend for a championship with two races to go?
- Pedregon: “The most impressive moment was how she held up in the final round. She saved her best reaction time for when it mattered most. Anything less and (Shawn) Langdon wins by an inch. Tuner Alan Johnson gives her a car that can win, and if she can continue to be solid, we will have an interesting final race.”
- FOX Sports: As you approached your first championship in 2003 with JFR, what do you remember about the pressure of competing at the last few events and how did you deal with it?
- Pedregon: “I remember the closer we got, the more I was able to cancel out the noise and distractions. I think experience always plays a big role, but ambition and focus will be important for Brittany and Kalitta as they chase Torrence.”