Crain News Service report
LOS ANGELES (Nov. 14, 2013) — Brittany Force, the 27-year-old driver from Yorba Linda, Calif., entered her rookie NHRA Top Fuel season with reasonable expectations and much enthusiasm behind the wheel of her dragster.
The day after she raced to her first career semifinal finish at the 49th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals, the Cal State-Fullerton graduate was awarded the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award — presented to the top rookie — in Los Angeles.
The second youngest daughter of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion and team owner John Force continued the John Force Racing tradition, becoming the fifth team driver to win the prestigious award.
"I am so excited to win this award. The rookie class this year was very competitive, and I have to thank the Auto Club for sponsoring this great award," Ms. Force said. "This year was definitely a learning experience, and I learned so much from my crew chiefs Dean Antonelli, Eric Lane and John Medlen. This was a brand-new team in a brand new category for John Force Racing.
"It was an uphill battle, but we improved all season and making it to the semifinals and running two career-best elapsed times at the Auto Club NHRA Finals this weekend ended our season on a positive note."
Ms. Force, a former Super Comp and Top Alcohol Dragster racer, qualified in 22 of 24 events during the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, qualified in the top half of the Top Fuel field five times and won 10 rounds of racing. She was the lone rookie to compete in the second Traxxas Shootout, qualifying as the fan vote and lottery winner in Top Fuel.
"Brittany Force is so deserving of this award, and on behalf of everyone at Castrol and especially the Castrol EDGE brand, we want to say congratulations," said Lori Anne Gola of Castrol sports marketing, sponsor relations and promotions.
"Brittany's performance on the track her rookie season in a new class was a learning process, but she showed how important it is to be 'Driven Stronger' as she improved every race. Her poise and charm with the media were tremendous, and we know she has a growing fan base that followed her all season long,"
In winning the coveted rookie award, Ms. Force also hauled in its $20,000 payday. Eventual 2009 NHRA Funny Car champion Robert Hight won in 2005, followed by eventual two-time U.S. Nationals winner Ashley Force Hood (2007); Mike Neff (2008), a 10-time NHRA Funny Car national event winner; and Courtney Force (2012), who went on to win twice in 2013.
This report appeared on the website of Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.