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Originally published July 31, 2014 at 7:52 PM | Page modified August 1, 2014 at 1:28 PM

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Courtney Force returns to Pacific Raceways

Courtney Force, the youngest daughter of 16-time world champion John Force, had her first pro victory in Kent and picked up the first Funny Car win of her career in 2012.


Special to The Seattle Times

NHRA Northwest Nationals

What: 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals. This is the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series.

Where: Pacific Raceways is in Kent, 10 miles east of interstate 5 on Highway 18.

When: Two qualifying sessions will be held Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. The final eliminations will begin on Sunday at 11 a.m.

TV: ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying on Saturday and three hours of the eliminations on Sunday.

2013 winners: Morgan Lucas in Top Fuel. Matt Hagan in Funny Car and Vincent Nobile in Pro Stock.

Tickets: Available at www.NHRAtix.com or at Pacific Raceways (253) 639-5927.

NHRA Northwest Nationals

What: 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals. This is the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series.

Where: Pacific Raceways is in Kent, 10 miles east of interstate 5 on Highway 18.

When: Two qualifying sessions will be held Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. The final eliminations will begin on Sunday at 11 a.m.

TV: ESPN 2 will televise two hours of qualifying on Saturday and three hours of the eliminations on Sunday.

2013 winners: Morgan Lucas in Top Fuel. Matt Hagan in Funny Car and Vincent Nobile in Pro Stock.

Tickets: Available at www.NHRAtix.com or at Pacific Raceways (253) 639-5927.

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Things just seem to happen to Courtney Force when she races at Pacific Raceways in Kent.

She had her first pro win when she took the Top Alcohol title in 2009. She blew a tire traveling more than 250 mph and nearly hit the wall in 2010. And, in 2012, she had the first Funny Car win of her career.

Guess which one of the three that Force, the youngest daughter of 16-time world champion John Force, could not immediately remember?

It was the crash, although it came back to her in minute detail once it was brought up.

“I guess I block things out like that, but having the tire blow out and the car swinging around was pretty traumatic,” Force said.

Onto happier memories, Force, 26, won her fifth Funny Car title last week in Sonoma and has moved up to fourth in the national point standings. She can make another leap up the standings with a win here this weekend when the 27th annual Northwest Nationals are run in Kent, beginning with qualifying on Friday.

Although last week’s win came against her famous father in the finals, she said nothing will ever be able to match the feeling she had when she won her first Funny Car race here two years ago.

“I’ll never forget seeing that win light come on,” Force said.

Force has the most Funny Car wins ever by a woman, one more than older sister Ashley Force Hood, who is now retired. It also was the 100th NHRA win by a woman in the history of the sport and gives her a 6-5 lead over her famous father in head-to-head matchups.

Courtney Force has 941 points this season, and she is behind only teammates Robert Hight (1,216) and John Force (1,097), and Ron Capps (957) of Schumacher Racing.

It’s heady company and has Force believing that she might be ready to speed past her dad, the defending world champion, and earn her first world title.

“That’s our ultimate goal,” Force said. “I sure hope this is the year, but it’s going to be tough because there are a lot of great cars.”



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