Courtney Force Qualifies No. 1 At Winternationals

Courtney Force and her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car
NHRA Photo

POMONA – Courtney Force and her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team got the jump on the competition today at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. when they made their first official sub four-second run and became the first No. 1 qualifier of 2015 in the Funny Car class. The 26-year-old posted a 3.995 second ET at 322.65 mph rocketing to the top of the field in the third qualifying session. This is her eighth No. 1 qualifier.

The last time a Chevrolet Camaro was No. 1 qualifier was Tony Pedregon at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2004.

"It feels great. We've done it a few times throughout testing over the last few years, but it never actually counts until you do it at a national event. It feels good to kind of get it out of the way and get it off my chest. It was flying down there. That sand trap was coming up quick," said Force, the 2013 Winternationals winner.

This is the first run under for seconds for team Chevrolet, a milestone for the new John Force racing manufacturer that will go down in the history books. Force is the twelfth Funny Car driver to make a sub four second run. Auto Club Raceway at Pomona has the most three second runs with ten. The most three-second runs at one event came at the Winternationals one year ago when there were a total of seven.

"It was just a great run for us, especially because we're trying to come out here on a high note. Obviously we have new sponsors on board. To be in this Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS is a lot of fun. It's definitely different. Obviously my paint scheme is different; it's fun just like those Traxxas radio control cars. It was awesome flying down there. I was right on my parachutes trying to get the car stopped and pull off.

"Honestly, I knew it was a fast run, but I didn't know how fast. I could only tell by the expression on my teams face and that's when I knew it was a good one. It's exciting to be in the 3.0s and get that top spot. I was waiting to see what everyone was going to run tonight, but unfortunately the rain kind of held us back. We're just excited to go into tomorrow and actually be racing here at the Winternationals with the help of the new sponsors on board including Chevy, Lucas Oil, Peak Antifreeze and BlueDEF. We're very thankful for all of them," said Force.

Force will have lane choice on Sunday in the first round next to Gary Densham, whom she has lined up against once in previous events. The pair faced off in Seattle in 2014 in the first round and Densham took the win.

"It's always nice to be No. 1 going into Sunday, but I would probably rather have the fourth run. You want to get more data going into race day more than anything. People forget about your No. 1 qualifier. All that matters is turning on the win lights on Sunday. I'm definitely focused on trying to get those win lights. It's unfortunate. I really did want to get a fourth session just to kind of get another number down there and see how far we can push this thing," said Force.

The 2012 NHRA Rookie of the Year was asked about her new, wild and crazy paint scheme for the 2015 season, but couldn't take any of the credit for the lively look.

"I wasn't involved in the new paint scheme; that was all Traxxas! I texted (Traxxas president) Mike Jenkins after I saw the design on paper, it was a little crazy and then when they wrapped the car and we took it testing in Phoenix it was exciting. It was a fresh new look. I think everyone by now knows Traxxas and the fun that we get to have with the radio control cars and this is something that reflects that. We're coming out here to have fun and we get to do that we them. I was excited to have a new look this year and especially with the new sponsors, it's exciting to have a different look," said Force.

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