NHRA: Brittany Force set for 2015 to be her year in Top Fuel

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Like father, like daughter … and like another daughter.

While so much attention has been focused on John Force’s youngest daughter and Funny Car driver Courtney, older sister Brittany is starting to become – no pun intended – a driving force herself.

And once the 2015 season debuts in Pomona, Calif., in early February, Brittany – like her father and younger sister – intends on being a Force to be reckoned with.

Brittany will be entering her third full season in Top Fuel racing, the quickest and fastest professional category in the NHRA.

During the recently completed 2014 season, Force reached the final round in four races, although failed to net a win. She also was the No. 1 qualifier in three races.

“The biggest highlight of my 2014 season was locking into the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown in the No. 7 position in Brainerd (Minn.),” Force said in a team media release. “That was a proud moment for me knowing regardless of the final races I would be standing on stage at our awards banquet next to the best Top Fuel drivers!”

Force’s biggest single improvement in 2014?

“My comfort level in the seat,” she said. “I feel much more confident about doing my job as a driver, making sure to keep the car in the groove, having a decent reaction time, and pedaling the car on a run if needed.   During my first season I was still learning so much, but now I feel I have just as good  a chance winning a race because I’m doing my job as a driver.”

Her sophomore season on the NHRA national tour was much like her rookie season in 2013, an ongoing learning experience.

“I’ve definitely come a long way and believe I have improved as a driver since my rookie season,” Force said. “I feel I’m more of a competitor on the track now that I’ve gained some experience and seat time.

“Everything from reaction off the starting line to pedaling the car are things I feel more confident about, especially on Sunday. I also have noticed I feel much more comfortable in the seat which plays a big part in performance on the track. Like I’ve always said, I still have so much to learn ahead of me but I feel like I’m off to a pretty good start.”

But now 2014 is history and 2015 is what Force is focused on.

“In 2015 my main goal will be earning my first win and locking into a proud position in the Countdown (the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship playoffs) when our season concludes,” Force said. “I want to go beyond what our team did last year by winning some races, locking into the Traxxas Shootout, qualifying at all 24 events and moving up the ladder from our number 10 finishing position (in 2014).

“Being able to start the season with a clean slate is what really motivates me going into the 2015 season. Rolling into Pomona where everyone will have the same point standings means anything is possible in my third season! Also, I already have a list of goals for this season, which will also be personally motivating throughout the entire season in itself.”

While her father is the all-time NHRA Funny Car champ with 16 championships and more than 140 national event wins, and sister Courtney is also a Funny Car driver, Brittany prefers the other nitromethane class, Top Fuel.

“The thing that most excites me about being a Top Fuel driver is knowing I’m in the same playing field as drivers I grew up watching and drivers I look up to today,” she said. “The even better thing is pulling up next to those drivers on race day and turning on the win light (on a particular round).

“There is no better feeling than going rounds on race day with your team. The other great thing about driving is the teamwork that goes into this sport. I’m proud to know I have a supportive team behind me regardless of the day’s events. We are all one team and we keep each other motivated and fighting for what we want.”

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.