BRITTANY FORCE HEATS UP SUMMER IN TOPEKA TOPEKA --- In the past year 21 year-old Brittany Force has seen her share of personal tragedy at the race track. She has not let that diminish her drive rather it has emboldened her to continue to...
BRITTANY FORCE HEATS UP SUMMER IN TOPEKA
TOPEKA --- In the past year 21 year-old Brittany Force has seen her share of personal tragedy at the race track. She has not let that diminish her drive rather it has emboldened her to continue to overcome her own fears.
She lost teammate and close friend Eric Medlen in a tragic testing accident last March. In July she witnessed her older sister Ashley Force's survive a harrowing crash in Seattle. Most recently last September her father, 14-time Funny Car World Champion John Force, survived the most serious accident of his 30 year career -- one that left him with a broken left ankle, broken wrist, and multiple abrasions. Still the junior who is majoring in English, with a possible minor in Business Administration, at Cal State Fullerton continued to stay focused on moving her racing career forward.
With a tremendous amount of support from her family and a solid crew behind her Brittany is looking forward to continuing her own racing career behind the wheel of the Brand Source Top Alcohol Dragster class at the 20th annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, May 30-June 1.
Even with one of the most experienced support teams in the TAD class the rookie driver had the usual butterflies before her first national event earlier in the year in Las Vegas but following that event she had more confidence and optimism.
"It was pretty exciting. We didn't know how it would work out. We made a lot of changes on the car. I had to change couple of my steps in my routine. I was a little worried about that but it ended up OK and everything went fine. I qualified and that was a big step. I am getting more comfortable in the car and that is the best thing," said the rookie TAD driver.
Brittany completed the necessary licensing runs to move up from the entry level Super Comp class where she competed for two seasons to the quicker and more powerful Top Alcohol Dragster category six weeks ago. She was preceded in this advancement by her younger sister Courtney who earned her license during the pre-season testing session in Phoenix and opened the season as the No. 11 at the CARQUEST Winternationals in Pomona.
Brittany and Courtney will share the seat of the Jerry Darien owned and tuned Brand Source A/Fuel Dragster throughout the 2008 season. This is the same TAD that carried Ashley to five national and divisional event wins prior to her ascension to the Nitro Funny Car ranks at the beginning of the 2007 season. The bond between the sisters goes beyond driving tips and on track experiences.
"If I didn't have my family out here to talk me through everything I would be a mess. They always talk to me and tell me that I've made runs and I've always been racing. Ashley and Courtney have both run this A/Fuel car and they give me advice if I have questions. It definitely makes it a lot easier having them out here. It definitely calms me down. They'll also give me good luck."
Unlike her older sisters, Adria and Ashley, Brittany initially eschewed a job at John Force Racing, Inc., in Yorba Linda, Calif., to work instead at a pizza cafe. An even more obvious manifestation of her rebellious nature was the "I Love N.Y." T-shirt she wore on her father's 56th birthday while every other woman in the team compound was wearing "I Love John Force" apparel.
Like her father and sisters, Brittany is intensely competitive once she gets to the track and climbs into the cockpit. Nevertheless, a career in racing is no certainty. She also loves the glamour of Hollywood and since she is studying to become a teacher, all her options remain open.
"She's tough when she's in the car," her father said, "but she's got to learn to do everything else, like giving enough time to the sponsors and the media and the fans. She's always gone her own way, but if she wants to race, I'll do all I can to give her a chance (to succeed)."