NORWALK, OH – June 20, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Advancing to the final round the past two seasons at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, Courtney Force feels like she’s closing in on her first Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals victory this weekend.
Success and a first victory in Norwalk would also mean her first Funny Car win during the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, something Force is more than ready to check off her list. She has five No. 1 qualifiers in her 10,000-horsepower Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS, but cracking through during eliminations has been a different story. Changing that at one of her favorite tracks will be Force’s first priority this weekend.
“Norwalk’s always been a pretty great track for us,” Force said. “We’re hoping to finish off the last of these four races strong. Being in the final round the last two years definitely gives our team a boost of confidence knowing we’ve been successful here before. We hope to seal the deal. (Bristol was) just the case of a hot and slimy track, and we have to figure it out before we get to Norwalk. I think we can learn something from it and head into Norwalk feeling a little more positive.”
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including final eliminations coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, June 25. It is the 12th of 24 events as the 2017 season hits the halfway mark. While Force has had highlights through the first 11 races, she’s hoping the second half of the season includes a lot more victories.
She has two final round appearances, including one on this four-race stretch in Epping, but Force, the all-time winningest female driver in Funny Car, has watched rival Don Schumacher Racing rule the winner’s circle celebrations. Minus John Force’s win in Gainesville, DSR has won the other 10 races, including five by defending event winner, points leader and reigning world champ Capps. But Courtney Force has been thrilled with how her team has continued to push forward.
“Our Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro team, all my guys – Dan Hood, Ronnie Thompson – we’re going to fight hard to end this streak on a high note,” said Force, who is currently fifth in Funny Car points. “We’re hoping for a good weekend. It’s probably going to be another hot track, and we’re looking forward to heading back to Norwalk.”
It hasn’t been all bad for JFR, as Courtney, John and Robert Hight are all in the top seven. But accumulating more wins as the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship approaches is the next objective. With Courtney’s husband, IndyCar standout Graham Rahal, hailing from Ohio, she has always enjoyed racing at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, and she hopes to match her father’s victory at the facility in 2014 this weekend.
“It almost feels like a second home track for me, just being that my husband is from Ohio,” said Force, who has eight career wins. “I know there’s a lot of close friends of ours who will be watching. I really hope to impress them and take home a win just like he did in Ohio last year.”
Langdon will shoot for his first Top Fuel win in 2017 in his quest to crack into the top 10. He’ll face big challenges from back-to-back world champ Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, points leader Steve Torrence, Brittany Force, Bristol winner Clay Millican and eight-time champ Tony Schumacher.
Line started 2017 with a win, but he’s chasing points leader Bo Butner and rookie Tanner Gray, who both have two wins this season. In all, eight drivers have won a race in Pro Stock in 2017.
Krawiec leads the Pro Stock Motorcycle points after a season-opening win, but L.E. Tonglet has two wins in 2017. Other stars include Andrew Hines and reigning world champ Jerry Savoie.
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes its eighth of 12 stops in the 2017 season in Norwalk. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Douthit Motorsports eye lighting Black Pearl Jet Funny Car vs. Pro Jet Motorsports Al Z’s Hot Blade Jet Dragster. Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. on Friday, June 23 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 24, at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 25.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park at (419) 668-5555. Tickets also are available online at www.summitmotorsportspark.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association