Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Courtney Force Makes NHRA History with Funny Car Victory ; Force: Pressure off in Finals

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Courtney Force Makes NHRA History with Funny Car Victory ; Force: Pressure off in Finals

Article excerpt

In her first shot at the historic 100th NHRA win by a female last Monday in Atlanta, Courtney Force experienced heartbreak.

Sunday the emotion was pure joy, with Force making the most of her second chance at No. 100 with a final-round Funny Car win over two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon in the Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

Force clocked a time of 4.148 seconds at a speed of 306.46 mph en route to her first Topeka win while Pedregon, a four-time winner at HPT, had a run of 4.225 at 250.60 mph.

"You could see the emotions on my face after my loss in the final round last weekend, so this is a big deal," said Force, who posted her fourth career win and first of the year. "It's a milestone for women and every girl out here wanted to get it.

"Every girl put their heart out into it, and I didn't know who it was going to be, especially after last weekend. I was crushed because I thought to myself, 'That opportunity will never come around again, that 100 will be gone forever.'"

But Force did get a second shot, earning the No. 1 qualifying position and then knocking off Dale Creasy Jr., Jeff Arend and Tommy Johnson Jr. to set up the matchup with Pedregon.

Ironically, it was Pedregon who had taken out Force's teammate and brother-in-law, Robert Hight, in the first round. Points leader Hight had won three races in a row, four on the year and had been in six straight final rounds.

Courtney's father, 16-time and reigning Funny Car champion John Force, also went out in the first round, losing to Bob Tasca III. But Courtney went on to put John Force Racing in the final round for the 15th straight Funny Car event before capping the day with the win over Pedregon.

"It's for all the girls out there who are in any type of sport, any motorsport," Courtney said. "It's an exciting day for us and it's an honor to be No. …

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