Brittany Force on track at Route 66 Raceway. (Kent Steele Photo)

B. Force Misses Field For First Time In 10 Years

In what may have been the shock of the day at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Brittany Force failed to make the starting field for Sunday’s eliminations at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals. 

It was only the fifth time in her career that she’s failed to qualify and the first since 2014 at Pomona Dragstrip in California. 

Force struggled with getting her dragster to hook up to the race track throughout qualifying. She ran 3.911 seconds at 297.16 mph. Force was one of six Top Fuel drivers to miss the field. 

Brittany Force. (NHRA photo)

She further described the “tough position” the team was dealt, stating “nobody wants to be here.”

“It’s not easy for any of this team to be in this position,” Force said. “And it doesn’t just affect us, it affects all of John Force Racing. All the guys from other teams came over and patted me on the back, and they said, ‘Sorry, you’ll be back on top. Don’t worry about it.’

“So we all feel it. We all take our losses as one team. But right now, I always try to find the positive in every negative situation. And we will climb out of this. I think it’s preparing us for something bigger, which will be down the road.

“And we will look back on this and go remember when we all pulled together and we climbed out and look at us now. And I believe that.”

Her father, 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion and team owner John Force, detailed the reason for the team’s struggles. 

“What was most important to me is my daughter, Brittany. It’s just a part of life,” Force said. “We got snake bit by the track, we were supposed to test, we set up a lot of new stuff, but the rain didn’t allow to test this week on Tuesday (in Indianapolis).”

Despite the circumstances, Force bestowed words of wisdom as he looked forward. 

“You know, anybody can be great,” Force began. “It’s the ones that are tough and get knocked down and get up and my kid got knocked down today and she’ll get out.

“She’s a two-time world champ — and don’t forget that.”

Brittany Force was ninth in the standings entering Chicago, 218 markers behind points leader Justin Ashley.