With new ET record, 2nd NHRA championship next for Brittany Force

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It may be fall on the calendar, but for NHRA Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, it’s spring time – as in it’s time for her to spring forward to her second Top Fuel championship in the last three seasons.

Force comes into this weekend’s AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois (outside St. Louis) – the second race in the NHRA’s six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs – ranked second in the Top Fuel standings. She’s 33 points behind series leader Doug Kalitta and 14 points ahead of third-ranked and defending Top Fuel champ Steve Torrence.

She isn’t just sitting pretty in the standings after the first race of the playoffs two weeks at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania. Although she lost in the semifinals of that race due to an oil leak, the same weekend during qualifying she also set the NHRA elapsed time national record, covering the 1,000-foot drag strip in a blistering time of 3.623 seconds (at an equally blistering speed of 331.61 mph).

That’s why Force – the daughter of legendary 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force and older sister of Courtney Force — enters this weekend with a great deal of motivation and optimism.

Brittany Force (Photo: NHRA).

I’m feeling great, we’re all feeling good,” Brittany Force said. “This is what we’ve been preparing for all season long, these final few races and going for another championship.

Last weekend really moved the bar up. Before the run, my crew chief David Grubnic, said to me, ‘Okay, girl, hang on tight. I’m going to send you for a ride and we’re going to set the record.’ When he said that, I knew it was going to be fast.

When I jumped out at the other end and they told me we had the national record, I was absolutely blown away. It was fast, I felt it, it threw me back in the seat. I’m very proud to hold that record.”

But that record is now just a fleeting memory. There’s more business to take care of, namely, to do better than every other Top Fuel driver through the remainder of the playoffs and to come away with that second championship Force covets so much. She knows fellow playoff drivers Torrence, Kalitta, Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, Mike Salinas, Maple Grove winner Richie Crampton, Austin Prock, Clay Millican and her own teammate, Austin Prock, will give her all she can handle in the five remaining playoff races.

It’s tough, you really can’t look at the top 3 drivers going after the championship, you have to look at all of them,” Force said. “When I won the championship back in 2017, we came into the Countdown from the No. 6 position.

(Teammate Robert Hight) years ago won the Funny Car championship from the No. 10 position. It’s really about finding your stride and hanging on through these last few races and doing very well.”

In the first 19 races of the season, Force has one win and runner-up finishes in two others. But she hasn’t reached a final round since Atlanta on May 5. Even though her car broke at Maple Grove, depriving her of a chance to advance to her first final round since Atlanta, Force knows the key ingredient she needs in the remaining five Countdown races.

Consistency,” she said matter-of-factly. “There’s also the routine with the teams, making sure everybody’s doing their job, no one is picking up anyone else’s spot, and double checking everything.

We come in motivated and ready to kill.

We come in motivated and ready to kill. You come in with that attitude. If you come with the attitude that, ‘Oh, we didn’t qualify that well, we’re probably going to lose on race day,’ then you probably are. It’s coming in focused and truly confident and knowing that this championship is ours if we want it bad enough.”

It’s been a different dynamic for John Force’s third of four daughters this season. She has a completely new team, a new sponsor and she doesn’t have her younger sister and best friend Courtney around. The youngest Force daughter decided before the season began to take a hiatus from racing.

It’s definitely a little a little bit tougher,” Brittany Force said. “Drag racing is a male-oriented sport and always will be. My team, it’s all guys, and sometimes I just need to talk to another girl. So it was really nice to have Courtney out there in a driving position, being able to talk to her about the run or the weekend or dealing with my boss, my dad. It was nice to have her out there for that support system.”

Brittany isn’t the only member of the Force family having a good season. Father and team patriarch John Force has two wins this season and comes into this weekend just 19 points out of first place in the Funny Car standings. The only thing that would make this season even sweeter for Brittany Force is if she and her father both won championships in their respective divisions, which would make NHRA history.

Definitely, years from now, I’m hoping to remember this as my dad and my season,” she said.

Brittany has even affixed a “Brute Force” fist decal on the back of her helmet. “Brute Force” has been her 70-year-old father’s nickname throughout his career, and he has sported that same fist logo on his race car ever since he first took to a drag strip more than 50 years ago.

But first things first. There’s still that second championship in three years to achieve.

Now that you’ve had one, you want more, you’re not done yet,” Brittany Force said. “You know it’s possible and you want to do it again. That’s what we’re going for.

It would be impressive to do it with an entirely new team and crew chiefs going out there and to fight for it. We’re in the hunt for it and that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. But that’s not where we end. We want the championship and we’re going to fight this thing all the way to the end.”

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IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix


DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

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Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.