Courtney and Brittany Force believe they have the teams at John Force Racing to land NHRA’s Funny Car and Top Fuel titles next season, after each clinching sixth in their respective championships this year.
Courtney won the Funny Car Rookie of the Year title in 2012 scored her first race win, and finishing fifth in the title race. She then backed this up with six more wins over the next two seasons. However, a winless 2015 in which she failed to make the Countdown Top 10 cutoff prompted a crew shakeup on the Traxxas-sponsored Chevrolet Camaro.
This season past, despite scoring just one win, her team showed greater consistency, leading to sixth in the standings, ahead of one of her teammates, Robert Hight, and reigning champion Del Worsham.
She said: “Every year I say this, but I would love to win the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indy. That would be huge. [But] everyone’s dream is to go after that Mello Yello championship and I feel like we have a team over here that could really take that dream home.
“We changed a lot of my team coming into 2016. Dan Hood and Ronnie Thompson were named my crew chiefs to run my car for the first time together. We brought Tim Fabrisi over from the Auto Club [Hight’s] team. The entire team really gelled together starting in testing and by the end of the season we were all working great together.
“We might not have won the championship but I think everyone on my team knows we have a great foundation to move forward into next season and beyond.”
Courtney believes that not getting the new Camaro body-shape until midseason affected the way her team interacted with her teammates, and that everyone having the same starting point next year will be a big help.
“We didn’t get the new body until Chicago [in July] last year,” she remarked I feel like once we got it we figured it out pretty quickly and we started making some fast progress. We were able to work with the rest of the JFR Funny Cars over the last part of the season but now we can have even more time to get even quicker and faster.
“To come out all together to start the Winternationals with the same body that we will be running the whole season is exciting.”
JFR’s Top Fuel team bearing fruit for Brittany
Brittany Force, who has been campaigning John Force Racing’s first Top Fuel entry in its 30-year history, finally broke through to the winners ranks in 2016, scoring victories at Gainesville, Concord and Brainerd, but admitted she still sees plenty room for improvement.
She said: “My breakout moment in 2016 season was my first win at the Gatornationals. I had been chasing that first win since my rookie season in and finally capturing that is something I will never forget. That day is one of the proudest moments in my career as it was also JFR’s first Top Fuel win and first ever double-up win with teammate Robert Hight [winning Funny Car].
“My goals for 2017 are to improve as a driver. I will push to improve my strength physically and mental in the car. I plan to improve in areas that I struggle with as a driver. I want to finish next season a step ahead of where I am now.
“As a team our goals are to win more races and go after that championship title. I am so proud of the Monster Energy team and all our success this year. We made quite a few changes at the beginning of the year but this team learned to immediately adjust to it so well that we were able to bring our first win home just three races into our season.”
“I always set goals and push to improve each year and looking back on an impressive season I'm confident we will go further next season. We plan to win more races and go after that championship.”