Courtney Force runs 3.804 ET as ladies top NHRA testing

Photo courtesy: Roger Richards/CompetitionPlus.com

Friday NHRA Nitro Spring Training testing turned out to be ladies day at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park outside of Phoenix, Az.

In the closing hours of day two testing, both Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) registered career best elapsed times to pace their respective divisions.

Not only did Force registered a personal best behind the wheel of her Advance Auto Chevrolet Camaro, but also raised the mark for the entire NHRA Funny Car division with a 3.804 elapsed time at 333.33 miles per hour. The current official NHRA Funny Car mark is a 3.822 set by Matt Hagan last season.

“It’s a pretty crazy experience,” Force said. “It was exciting to hear the guys come on the radio and tell me what the car ran. I didn’t think I heard them correctly, so I didn’t get overly excited at first. I know this Advance Auto Parts Camaro made a good pass, but I didn’t think it was a 3.80. It’s crazy, and even though it is an unofficial national record since we are testing.

“I’m still excited about it. That’s a huge number for us to put on the board. We made two 3.84 passes today, which is pretty awesome. We are excited to be able to deliver this kind of performance for Advance Auto Parts. We are thrilled to be running so good in testing. I’m ready to get the season going.”

Defending NHRA champion Ron Capps was second quickest with a 3.854 while Robert Hight clocked a 3.859 elapsed time.

Pritchett, behind the wheel of her Papa John’s Pizza Top Fuel dragster, jumped to the top of the list as the sun set with a 3.677 elapsed time at 323.27 miles per hour. One run earlier, she had stopped the clocks at 3.685 seconds.

“It felt one hundred percent different than it did yesterday,” Pritchett said. “Because yesterday we carried the front end so high and so long, for like 75 feet. I’m trying to steer the car, it’s washing out right, I’m trying to steer it, the wheels come back down, it wants to shoot me toward the center. I’m like, ‘This is a brand new race car. Am I going to need to learn how to drive this thing all over again?’

“We stayed and put some weight on the front and made some other weight changes around there, some wing angle, another degree and a half. And then once this morning it got planted and I was like, ‘That’s my hot rod. That’s a race car right there.’ So that .68 felt like a .68. That .67, I’m going to be totally honest with you, it probably has a little bit more, but it felt good.

“They say that we’re rusty after offseason, I mean that’s a statement of fact. You don’t just not go 330 miles per hour for almost three months, so it’s every bit of the rush of a 3.67.”

Steve Torrence was second quickest with a 3.691 while Doug Kalitta was third with a 3.703.

Nitro testing will conclude on Saturday with the first runs expected on the track at 10 a.m., MST.

Cumulative runs to date:

Top Fuel:

Leah Pritchett – 3.677

Leah Pritchett – 3.685

Steve Torrence – 3.691

Antron Brown – 3.701*

Doug Kalitta – 3.703

Brittany Force – 3.704

Tony Schumacher – 3.705*

Doug Kalitta – 3.716

Steve Torrence – 3.718

Antron Brown – 3.727

Tony Schumacher – 3.729

Brittany Force – 3.729

Funny Car:

Courtney Force – 3.804

Courtney Force – 3.841

Courtney Force – 3.847

Ron Capps – 3.854

Robert Hight – 3.859

Ron Capps – 3.861

Courtney  Force – 3.865

Robert Hight – 3.886*

John Force – 3.889

Jack Beckman – 3.889

Tommy Johnson Jr. – 3.892

Courtney  Force – 3.895*

Tommy Johnson Jr. – 3.904*

Alexis DeJoria – 3.904

* Thursday Run

***

Bobby Bennett is the Publisher/Editor of CompetitionPlus.com, a leading independent online drag racing magazine, since 1999. For the latest in dragster news worldwide, visit www.competitionplus.com or follow on Twitter @competitionplus