Courtney Force seeking to continue family's winning tradition at Pacific Raceways
The youngest daughter of Funny Car legend John Force, Courtney, is seeking her first win this weekend.
Special to The Seattle Times
NHRA glanceWhat: 25th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, race 14 of 23 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Where: Pacific Raceways in Kent (10 miles east of I-5 on Highway 18).
When: Qualifying will be between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday and between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Championship eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.
2011 event winners: Del Worsham in Top Fuel, Tim Wilkerson in Funny Car, Jason Line in Pro Stock.
Tickets: Available at NHRATix.com or by calling (800) 884-NHRA or (253) 639-5927.
Courtney Force inherited at least two things from her famous father, 15-time world-champion Funny Car driver John Force:
She likes to drive very fast, often getting her Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car to speeds of more than 300 mph. And, like dad, she may talk even faster than she drives.
"I've heard that I talk like my dad, and that's a little bit scary," she said. "It's just from the pure adrenaline that you get from driving these cars. Who wouldn't want to drive 300 mph? I'm having the time of my life."
Courtney Force, 24, has no fear in the cockpit of her 8,000-horsepower rocket that goes from zero to more than 300 mph in less than four seconds. She is seventh in the NHRA Funny Car standings and is the leading contender to be the sport's rookie of the year. She's made it to the final round twice this year, but is still looking for her first win.
"I'm hoping that magical track is here in Seattle," she said as she traveled from last week's race in Sonoma, Calif., to this weekend's NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent.
Pacific Raceways is the site of two of her greatest triumphs.
In 2009, she took home the Wally trophy, awarded to the winner of NHRA national events, in the Top Alcohol class.
In 2010, she avoided disaster when a rear tire blew at 270 mph.
Despite losing part of the car's wing, she avoided both the wall and the driver in the next lane.
"There's nothing you can do about a tire exploding, but I handled it pretty well, and that gives you confidence," she said.
John Force thinks Courtney's first win could come as early as Sunday.
"What she's doing is amazing," he said. "Is she just good? Or lucky? Or what? She been close so many times. She's right there. She could win on any given Sunday."
Courtney Force is the youngest and most extroverted of the four Force daughters. Ashley Force Hood, 29, had four Funny Car wins and was the rookie of the year in 2007 before retiring after the birth of her first child.
Both initially deny there is a sisterly rivalry, but admit they are in a very competitive family.
"There's a part of me that wants to match what she did and do as well or better," Courtney admitted. "I just need to get that first win. Now would be better than later."