Photos courtesy NHRA

NHRA: John Force Racing tweaks crew chief and assistants lineup for 2018

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With two defending championship teams ready to go for two in a row, John Force Racing announced a few adjustments to its crew chief and co-crew chief lineups Tuesday.

Here’s now the 2018 JFR lineup will look:

* NHRA Top Fuel champ Brittany Force’s dragster sees Brian Husen returning as crew chief, joined by new assistant crew chief Ronnie Thompson.

Alan Johnson will return as consultant to the team, which won four of six final rounds, as well as set the national speed record last season.

* NHRA Funny Car champ Robert Hight’s car will remain the same with Jimmy Prock as crew chief and Chris Cunningham as assistant.

The team reached seven final rounds last season, earning four wins, and also setting both the Funny Car speed and elapsed time national records.

* There has been a change on Courtney Force’s Funny Car team. Dan Hood returns as co-crew chief and will be joined with the addition of fellow co-crew chief Brian Corradi.

Corradi has three Top Fuel world championships to his credit, but had sought to return to the Funny Car ranks and return to work with former teammate Hood, who is married to John Force’s daughter Ashley, a former Funny Car driver herself.

“This move was a great opportunity for me and the timing just worked out,” Corradi said. “Danny (Hood) and I have a long history both on the track and with our families.

“I am excited to get back to Funny Car. This Advance Auto Parts team was very successful last year and I think we can be even better this season.”

* Lastly, John Force’s Funny Car will continue to be managed by co-crew chiefs Jon Schaffer and Jason McCulloch.

“We have a lot of talent top to bottom with our crew chiefs,” John Force said. “With that talent, hard work and a little luck we were able to come away from the 2017 season with the Top Fuel and Funny Car championships.

“We’re welcoming Brian Corradi to the team and back into the Funny Car world with Danny Hood. Now we are all going to work together, just like we always have, to put all four of these hot rods in as many winner’s circles as possible.

“I am excited to get to Phoenix (for this week’s preseason testing) and see where we stand. All these guys have been working hard all off-season and now it’s time to go racing.”

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.