Brittany Force, Erica Enders headline female-dominated NHRA New England Nationals
Drag racing nearly had a historical trifecta during the finals of the professional categories at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, NH.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) won at the ninth event of the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Matt Hagan (Funny Car) broke up the triple play as he defeated Courtney Force in the final round.
Force drove the Monster Energy-sponsored dragster to her first victory of the season by stopping defending series champion Antron Brown in the final round.
"We've really been struggling for a while," Force said. "We seemed to figure it out in Topeka last weekend. I knew we had a good car; our Monster car was back. I knew our first win was right around the corner."
Force, who entered Sunday's final eliminations as the second seed, knocked off Steve Chrisman, Troy Coughlin Jr., and Shawn Langdon to reach her second final round of the season.
Force ran a 3.716 second elapsed time at 328.62 miles per hour pass to drive around Brown, who absorbed his second runner-up finish of the season.
The victory was the 252nd overall win for John Force Racing
Enders, who last won an NHRA Pro Stock event in October 2015, hit the jackpot with a nearly perfect weekend.
Enders led qualifying on the first day but was knocked down by Tanner Gray during the Q-4 session. On Sunday, she had the last word in beating the rookie driver in the final round.
"Last year was nothing short of a challenge for us," Enders said. "We stayed together [as a team]. I have the most unique team. They have my back, and I will tell you one hundred percent that's the reason why I am able to drive the way I drive."
Enders, competing in her second consecutive final round, was slightly quicker on the starting line en route to a 6.534, 213.16 victory.
Hagan captured his third victory of the season and played the spoiler for Force's remarkable weekend which started with a massive engine explosion, and a broken car in Friday's evening session.
Hagan, the fastest drag racer in the world, entered Sunday's eliminations as the No. 4 qualifier. He saved his best run of race day for last with a 3.897, 332.59 performance to easily outdistance Force's 3.927, 332.34 effort.
"I tried to stay in my routine all day," Hagan admitted. "I knew we had a great car, and we came into here trying to run just like we were back in Topeka. We didn't go down the track initially, so Dickie [Venables, crew chief] reeled it back in and we made two good laps on Saturday building a lot of confidence for Sunday."
For the second day in a row, NHRA officials announced a sellout; the first Sunday sellout since the 2016 Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
The NHRA travels to Englishtown, New Jersey next weekend for the Summernationals.
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