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NHRA: Force looks for continued success at BIR

Brittany Force comes into Brainerd looking to build off her big 2022 season.

Brittany Force car
Brittany Force drives her Monster Engery Top Fuel Dragster in a 2022 race.
NHRA Photo.
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Brittany Force has had a breakout season in 2022.

The Top Fuel driver finds herself atop the points standings headed into the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway Aug. 19-21.

Force holds four wins so far this season, with the most recent one coming in Sonoma three races ago. Her first win of the season in Las Vegas vaulted her to second place in the points standings.

A win a week later in Houston put her first place and she hasn’t given up the lead for nine straight race weeks. Her lead coming into Brainerd is just 31 points over Mike Salinas.

She’s finished as the No. 1 qualifier five times with one of those, Richmond, resulting in a win.

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“We’ve done really well this season,” Force said. “We are way ahead of where we were last year. Last season, we only had one win. We had a lot of No. 1 qualifiers, but we couldn’t seem to produce that on race day. Coming off just one win last season, this season, we are already at four wins and the biggest difference is race day. We’ve figured out how to run in the heat and that’s where we have seemed to struggle over the last few years.”

Brittany Force
Brittany Force
JERRY_FOSS

Force was in the winner’s circle at BIR in 2016 when she knocked off Antron Brown in the final with an ET of 4.169.

Last year, Force was the No. 1 qualifier at BIR with the low ET of 3.672. She broke the track record for top speed last year blazing down the track at 334.98 mphs.

“We are excited to get to Brainerd,” she said. “It’s a great track, especially coming off the Western swing and Topeka, where it’s hot and sticky and humid and hard to run in those conditions. Going into Brainerd it’s going to be much better conditions to put up numbers and great numbers on the board. Last I looked at the weather it’s going to be 75 degrees which is much cooler than what we are used to, so I’m excited to get to that.”

Force wants to win. Whether that’s netting No. 1 qualifiers, breaking records or finishing in the winner’s circle.

“We’ve broken the ET record all over, so I can’t pinpoint each one, but it’s still a big accomplishment,” Force said. “Whether it’s ET, mphs or even No. 1 qualifiers our biggest focus is winning and there’s no better feeling than winning at (BIR).”

Force is the daughter of racing legend John Force, who owns the record for most wins at BIR with 11. Despite her dad’s great record at the track, Force said it was not a trip she made as a kid. She blames the “Zoo.”

More NHRA Previews
Six-time BIR winner Ron Capps is ready to add another trophy to his mantle this weekend.

A Top Fuel driver since 2013, Force now loves the time she gets to spend out in the “Zoo” during race weekend at BIR.

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“It’s always fun,” she said. “There’s nothing like the “Zoo.” Talking about races there are always different tracks that have unique things to them and Brainerd’s would be the “Zoo.” I think that’s why I never came as a kid because I always heard crazy things about the “Zoo.” My team and I will jump on a golf cart and drive out and say hi to people and it’s a crazy crowd. It’s so cool to see all the fans camping and having a party during race weekend.”

The goal is to overtake Steve Torrence as world champion. Force was the last world champion besides Torrence back in 2017.

“We have to keep our focus and keep doing what we’ve been doing all season long,” she said. “We have to stay up there in the points before they reset after Indy. Our game plan is to keep the No. 1 position to give us the best chance going in and then it’s game on.”

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals

WHAT: 40th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, the 11th event of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series 2022 season. Drivers in the professional categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points leading to 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series world championships. The competition also will be featured in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series.

WHERE: Brainerd International Raceway and Resort, Brainerd. The track is located a few miles north of the Brainerd area off Highway 371. The track is located on the east side of the highway.

COURSE: Championship drag strip. Track elevation is 1,200 feet above sea level. Track direction is west to east.

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WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 18-21

THURSDAY, Aug. 18

LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying and time trials at 9:15 a.m.

FRIDAY, Aug. 19 

LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 9:15 a.m.

PRO MOD qualifying at 1:30 and 5:15 p.m.

D-WAGON PRO MOD SHOOTOUT eliminations round 1 at 6 p.m.

NHRA CAMPING WORLD SERIES qualifying at 2:15 and 6 p.m.

SATURDAY, Aug. 20

LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 9:15 a.m.

PRO MOD qualifying at 12:45 and 3:45 p.m.

D-WAGON PRO MOD SHOOTOUT eliminations at 1, 4 and 5:30 p.m.

NHRA CAMPING WORLD SERIES qualifying at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, Aug. 21

Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.

NHRA CAMPING WORLD SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

TELEVISION:

Friday, Aug. 19, FS1 will televise one and-a-half hours of qualifying coverage at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, FS1 will televise one-and-a-half hours of qualifying coverage at 12:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 21, FOX will televise three hours of live finals coverage at 2:30 p.m.

2019 EVENT WINNERS:

Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Matt Hagan, Funny Car.

MOST VICTORIES: 

Top Fuel — Joe Amato 6; Funny Car — John Force 11

TRACK RECORDS:

Top Fuel — Leah Pruett 3.640 seconds, Aug. 2017; Brittany Force 334.9mph, Aug. 2021

Funny Car — Robert Hight 3.793 seconds, Aug. 2017; Robert Hight 338.00 mph, Aug. 2017

NATIONAL RECORDS: 

Top Fuel — Brittany Force 3.623 seconds, Reading, 2019; Brittany Force 338.17 mph, Las Vegas 2, 2019

Funny Car — Robert Hight 3.793, Brainerd, 2017; Robert Hight 339.87 mph, Sonoma, 2017

TICKETS: For tickets, call (866)-444-4455

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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