TOPEKA, Kan. — Courtney Force raced to the 100th victory by a female driver in NHRA history Sunday in the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
In her second attempt to earn the landmark victory in two weeks, the 25-year-old Force outran Cruz Pedregon in the final round for her first Funny Car victory of the season and fourth of her career. Force, No. 1 qualifier, finished in 4.148 seconds at 306.46 mph in a Ford Mustang.
“There’s just a lot of emotion right now,” said Force, the youngest daughter of 16-time season champion John Force. “It’s been a long weekend. I’m so proud of my guys and I am happy to win this for all of the girls who have won races in NHRA over the years. They know how to win, and this win is for them.”
Force is one of 14 female winners in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, starting with Shirley Muldowney in Top Fuel in 1976. Force nearly accomplished the feat last weekend in Georgia, but she lost a close final-round race to her teammate Robert Hight.
Force is one of three women who have won races this season, joining fellow Funny Car racer Alexis DeJoria, a two-time season winner, and Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens. On Saturday, Force and sister Brittany, a Top Fuel driver, were both No. 1 qualifiers.
“All day I was just trying not to think about it,” said Force, who outran Dale Creasy Jr., Jeff Arend and Tommy Johnson Jr. in earlier rounds. “I was pretty much crushed after last weekend. But we were finally able to do it. I am just so proud to do it for all the girls out there.”
Spencer Massey won in Top Fuel, and Allen Johnson in Pro Stock.
Massey raced to win second victory in a row and second at Topeka, beating defending series champion Shawn Langdon in the final round with a 3.871 at 314.02.
Johnson scored his third victory of the season and third at Topeka, outrunning teammate Jeg Coughlin in the final round. Johnson powered his Dodge Dart to a 6.663 at 207.81.