NHRA: Brittany Force throws first pitch out at St. Louis Cardinals game

Force's first pitch. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI, photo courtesy John Force Racing
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NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel driver Brittany Force got her first taste of a first pitch, doing so at last night’s St. Louis Cardinals game. The Cardinals hosted the Milwaukee Brewers.

A quick summation, via the John Force Racing team, is below:

Last night at Busch Stadium Monster Energy Top Fuel driver Brittany Force threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 7-3. This was the fifth straight win for the Cardinals and they now hold a four game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central. Before the pitch Force, the 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year, was nervous but excited.

“I was nervous about it all day and really have been nervous since we decided to do it. I had a bad experience throwing out the first pitch once before. I told myself I would never do that again. I decided to give it another try at the Cardinals game. We had a busy day before the pitch with a press conference and media interviews,” said Force.

“We actually got down on the field for a few minutes and then we had some time to wait. I asked the Cardinals staff if there was a place I could practice. I just wanted to calm my nerves. I went into the hallway and practiced throwing a few pitches with Marc Gewertz who is one of the National Dragster photographers. I am so glad he helped me out. It calmed me down and he gave me some good pointers.”

As Force took the field she thought about how her racing career played a major role in not just affording her this opportunity but also putting her in position to make a solid pitch. The five-time Top Fuel finalist waved to the crowd and then threw a nice straight pitch right to catcher Travis Tartamella a recent call up by the Cardinals.

“I think the biggest cross-over from racing to baseball was the importance of practice. I get in my race car for about ten minutes before we run and I just go over my routine. Going through the motions just makes me more comfortable. That is the same process I did for the game last night,” said Force.

“Everyone with the Cardinals was so nice. Will Patterson from the Cardinals let me get down on the field earlier in the day. He said the Cardinal fans would be awesome and he was right. Some time you climb in your race car whether it is first round or final round and there are some runs you are so nervous but I just tell myself it will be over in four seconds. You just have to do the best job that you can. The pitch turned out really well.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.