FINAL EXAM THIS WEEK FOR BRITTANY FORCE
Driver of Castrol EDGE Top Fuel Dragster Hopes to Affect Strong Finish
POMONA, Calif. – For rookie Brittany Force, the world’s fastest credentialed schoolteacher, this week’s season finale at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif., represents a final exam, of sorts, in this her first year of post graduate study at the UHP, the University of High Performance.
For the 27-year-old graduate of Cal State-Fullerton, who also spent a semester at New York’s Hunter College, the 49th annual Auto Club Finals offers one last opportunity to make the Dean’s List.
In Brittany’s case, Dean is Dean “Guido” Antonelli, the crew chief of record on a Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster she has directed through the standard 1,000 foot course in 3.795 seconds at more than 323 miles per hour.
Although she is a leading contender for the Auto Club’s Road to the Future Award that identifies the NHRA’s Rookie of the Year, the second youngest of drag racing icon John Force’s four daughters is far more concerned with the continued growth of her young team.
“I am so proud of them,” Brittany said of a group that started the year with virtually no training outside of the Funny Car division in which John Force Racing has won 18 championships in 24 years. Essentially, it has been “on the job training” for the team and its youthful leader.
“To be able to come out here and run with the teams that are running for the championship is really motivating,” said the woman who graduated from entry-level Super Comp dragsters that reach speeds of 180 mph to A/Fuel dragsters that top out at 270 mph to the hybrids that are the ultimate in acceleration.
Although she has yet to advance out of the second round, Brittany has had some quality wins and, even in defeat, she has been competitive. As a result, she and her team have become a source of concern for drivers currently focused on the Mello Yello championship.
Two weeks ago, in fact, her first round upset of former NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year Spencer Massey knocked him out of title contention. Moreover, she has qualified for every Countdown contested thus far, a claim that can’t be made by either reigning series champion Antron Brown, Steve Torrence or Khalid alBalooshi.
“I feel a lot more comfortable going back to tracks where I have experience,” gushed the woman who earned her California teaching credentials before deciding to enter the family business.
“I’m really looking forward to racing again at Pomona where I began my Top Fuel career nine months ago at the Winternationals and where I’ve raced before in Super Comp and Top Alcohol Dragster. Each weekend we learn a little bit more about our car and we still haven’t given up on getting our first win.”
That goal is not as unreasonable as one might think. After all, Brittany has posted personal best 1,000 foot times in three of her last seven starts and has quality wins over Doug Kalitta, Clay Millican, J.R. Todd, David Grubnic and Brandon Bernstein as well as Massey.
She’d love to add a couple more names this weekend and she may just have the EDGE to do so.
President of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Inc. Worked with Mike Hollander since Tapsis, Compuserve, etc. and has posted to the website since the beginning. First Female photo-journalist to be given a garage and pit pass for the NASCAR garage, 1972 at Ontario Motor Speedway. One of first seven female writers, photographers given access to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage and pits in 1971. Past President of Greater Los Angeles Press Club, 1992-96, and first female editor of the 8-Ball publication for the Press Club