Photos courtesy NHRA

Courtney Force holds off teammate Robert Hight to win Traxxas Shootout for Funny Cars

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BROWNSBURG, Indiana – In an all-John Force Racing final, Courtney Force outlasted brother-in-law and teammate Robert Hight to capture the Traxxas Shootout for Funny Cars on Sunday at Lucas Oil Raceway.

While both cars lost traction in their respective runs, Force managed to cover the 1,000-foot racing surface the quickest (4.018 seconds) and fastest (266.64 mph).

Hight’s run was 4.596 seconds at 180.09 mph.

The win was a double bonus for the youngest racing daughter of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force.

Not only did she win the $100,000 prize (Hight took home $15,000), Courtney Force also won an event sponsored by her major sponsor, Traxxas radio control vehicles.

It was also the younger Force’s first appearance in the Shootout final. She defeated Alexis DeJoria and Matt Hagan to reach the final round matchup against her JFR teammate.

“I went out today with the mindset of calm and relaxed,” Courtney Force said. “To win an event like this in front of all these fans in Indiana is huge for our team. To be able to outrun Robert and get that win is a big one for our Traxxas team.”

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As for Hight, he made his third consecutive final round appearance in the Shootout – and once again finished runner-up. However, credit must be given to his team as it completely rebuilt Hight’s car after it suffered a massive engine explosion during Saturday’s second qualifying round that necessitated extensive repairs.

Hight, who defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the opening round of the Shootout, was the beneficiary of an incident earlier in the day when Ron Capps wrecked his car in a spectacular crash in the first round of the Shootout that left him trapped upside down for several minutes in his Funny Car.

Had Capps not suffered the mishap, he would have faced Hight in the second round semifinals.

NHRA officials determined the body of Capps’ car was too extensively damaged to continue racing.

As a result, Capps was forced to go to a backup body, but was unable to continue competing in the Shootout due to rules prohibiting body changes once the event has begun. Hight was then able to have a solo semifinal run that put him into the final round Shootout battle vs. Force.

In the other Traxxas Shootout held Saturday for Top Fuel dragsters, eight time NHRA champion Tony Schumacher emerged victorious over Don Schumacher Racing teammate Leah Pritchett.

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Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter