Brittany Force takes aim at Top Fuel title at Auto Club NHRA Finals

Top Fuel teammates Brittany Force (near lane) and Austin Prock (far lane) head down track during the semi final round of eliminations at the 62nd annual NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Top Fuel driver Brittany Force (left) races to the top qualifying position during the final round of nitro qualifying at the season opening 62nd annual NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Pomona on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 as she races against Steve Torrence (right). Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) are the number one qualifiers going into Sunday’s eliminations. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Top Fuel driver Brittany Force sits in her support vehicle as her dragster is towed back to the pits following qualifying Sept. 4, 2022, at the NHRA U.S Nationals in Brownsburg, Indiana.(Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Brittany Force (right) celebrates with her father John after she won her first ever Top Fuel Championship during the second round of eliminations Sunday November 12, 2017 at the 53rd annual NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Brittany will be pursuing her second Top Fuel championship this weekend at Pomona. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Brittany Force is pictured during the second day of qualifying at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)



Brittany Force, who is being called “The Fastest Female in Sports,” goes into the Auto Club NHRA Finals beginning Friday at the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona with a good chance of winning her second national title in the Top Fuel division.

Force, the 36-year-old daughter of the drag racing kingpin John Force, has a slim seven-point lead over Justin Ashley. Essentially, the two are tied. Seven points in the complicated NHRA scoring system is virtually nothing.

Brittany Force won a national title in 2017, her fourth full season in Top Fuel. Currently, the only female Top Fuel racer with multiple national titles is the legendary Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney, who notched hers in 1977, ’80 and ’82.

Muldowney was called “The First Lady of Drag Racing.” That title now belongs to Force.

She has made the 10 fastest runs in Top Fuel history, all with a top speed of more than 337 miles per hour. She set the Top Fuel speed record of 338.43 mph on Oct. 2 in St. Louis. She set the elapsed time record of 3.623 seconds in 2019 at Reading, Pa. She set the Auto Club Raceway speed record of 336.23 mph at this year’s Winternationals in February.

Force gives credit to her crew, headed by Dave Grubic and Mac Savage.

But this 5-foot-2 fierce competitor is the key member of her team, directing an 11,000-horsepower dragster down a dragstrip for 1,000 feet.

Asked what it is like to drive a dragster that reaches 338 mph in 3.6 seconds, Force said, “You can’t compare it to anything else. You take a deep breath and step on the throttle. You are thrown back in your seat. The feeling is like an elephant is sitting on your chest. You’re already wearing 25 pounds of gear. In one second, you are going 100 mph. By the finish line, you are hauling butt. It’s over before you know it. You take your foot off the throttle and pull your parachute.”

The parachute helps dragsters slow down before reaching the sand box, a safety feature at all dragstrips.

It has been calculated that drag racers in the Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions experience G-forces of 5.3 to 5.4. One G-force, which stands for gravitational force equivalent, is normal gravity — it is what keeps us, and everything grounded.

Force, who lives in Yorba Linda, not far from the house where she grew up, is a member of the first family of drag racing. Foremost is the father John, 73, who has won 16 national Funny Car titles. Brittany Force is the middle of three daughters who have competed in the NHRA. The other two, who were both Funny Car racers, are Ashley Force Hood, who turns 40 Nov. 29, and Courtney Force Rahal, 34, who retired from racing three years ago.

A fringe member of the Force family is Robert Hight, the current Funny Car points leader. Hight used to be married to John Force’s oldest daughter, Adria, a half-sister to Ashley, Brittany and Courtney. Hight drives for John Force Racing and also serves as its president. Adria, 53, is still the chief financial officer.

Hight leads top contender Ron Capps by 61 points and Matt Hagan by 63. During the finals, points are worth a point and a half, which means things can tighten quickly.

“It is going to take eight perfect runs to win,” Hight said. The eight races include four in qualifying and four during elimination rounds on Sunday.

Besides Brittany and Ashley, others in contention in Top Fuel include Mike Salinas, 66 points behind, and Antron Brown, 78 back. Four-time defending national champion Steve Torrence is not totally out of it, trailing by 87 points.

Brittany Force, who is single, is dating Bobby Lyons, who retired from the Air Force last month after 20 years of service.

Brittany Force is a graduate of Esperanza High, located in Anaheim but part of the Placentia-Yorba Linda district, and Cal State Fullerton. She was an English major in college and planned to be a teacher at one point. But drag racing took precedence.

Her Top Fuel career includes one serious accident. It happened during qualifying at the 2018 Winternationals in Pomona, the first race after she won her 2017 title.

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Her dragster, starting in the right lane, broke loose and hit the right wall, then bounced across the track and hit the left wall. It came apart before making another trip across the track and smashing into the right wall. Fortunately, the dragster in the other lane, driven by Terry Haddock, spun out coming off the starting line. Otherwise, the two dragsters could have collided.

Force, knocked unconscious, was taken to a nearby hospital and later released.

“To this day, I have no memory of the crash or anything immediately after the crash,” she said. “I don’t even remember the start of the race.”

She’s hoping for some fond memories coming this Sunday. The elimination rounds in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycles begin at 11 a.m., following four rounds of qualifying on Friday and Saturday.

NHRA Finals

At Auto Club Raceway, Pomona

Friday: Nitro qualifying, noon

Saturday: Nitro qualifying, 11:30 a.m.

Sunday: Elimination rounds, 11 a.m.

TV; FS1 (Sunday, qualifying highlights, 2 p.m.; finals, 4 p.m., delayed)

Tickets: or 800 884-6472

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