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Looking For A Reversal Of Fortune

Courtney Force in her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro. [photo courtesy NHRA]

Courtney Force in her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro.  [photo courtesy NHRA]

 

“We’re going out there with the mindset that we are going to win. We’ve got nothing to lose now so it’s all or nothing.”
–  Courtney Force
Over the final races on the 2015 Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series schedule, Courtney Force is kind of on the outside, looking in.

The Countdown to the Mello Yellow Championship involves the top ten drivers in the point standings following the first eighteen races, but Force finished eleventh in the standings.

It was close, needing to win the second and third round at Indianapolis, Force lost the second round by less than a car length, 0.0271 seconds, at over 312 mph to Tommy Johnson Jr. That frustrating loss capped off what has been a trying season.

While not a part of the “Countdown” field, Force still heads to the track with a focus on success.

“I still want to do my job and get a win for my team and my sponsors,” Force said. “We can’t treat these races any different. We have to go in with the mindset that we are competing for a championship as well, because our teammates are in it. They are going after it and we need to be on our ‘A’ game to take out the other top guys and kind of block the way so that one of my teammates can get a championship.”

John Force Racing, her father’s team, switched manufacturers following the 2014 season, Courtney’s best season of her career so far. After 20 years with Ford, the 18-time NHRA Funny Car championship team switched to Chevrolet.

Last season, four wins, including two in the Countdown, propelled Force to fourth in the final standings. Three seasons of racing in the Funny Car division and three straight trips to the Countdown produced a Rookie of the Year fifth place finish in 2012, seventh in 2013 and her best season in 2014.

Then came the off season changes and her team has struggled to find last season’s form. No victories to add to her career total of seven in Funny Car and barely a sniff at a final round race.

“We’ve had some ups and downs. I think that we have definitely learned from our downs and are starting to get this car to come around,” explained Force. “We made a lot of changes through the off season, and it’s a bit of a process that has taken our team a little bit longer but, I think we’ll be alright. We made some pretty good passes and good runs so it’s just a matter of time to get the pieces figured out.”

But this is how it goes in racing and it is the great racers that face and overcome adversity.

There is hope.

Two of the races that Force won last season are still left on the schedule when the series heads to Dallas this weekend and St. Louis the following weekend.

“We won two races in the countdown to the championship back to back, Dallas and St Louis. I definitely think that can be an advantage for us,” said Force. “It’s helpful that you have the right data going back to a racetrack knowing the runs you’ve made there before.”

“I think from what I’ve learned from this season, a lot of the cars are stepping up. Each year cars are running quicker and quicker. But it definitely helps going in with the mindset that you’ve won at a track before and really just taking data from what you’ve learned in the past and hoping that it can be helpful at the race this season.”

Don’t ever count out Courtney Force or her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro.

“We’re going out there with the mindset that we are going to win and we are going to push our car hard,” Force says. “We’ve got nothing to lose now so it’s all or nothing.”

Keep up with Courtney Force and the Countdown to the Mello Yellow Championship at NHRA.com.

And… don’t forget to check out the Goodyear Driving Force Sweepstakes at www.goodyeardrivingforce.com for a chance to win a trip for two to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving with John Force.

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John Wiedemann

John Wiedemann

Publisher at RacingNation.com
John Wiedemann is the owner, editor and developer of the RacingNation.com website. A motorsports fan from his earliest memories, John started going to local short tracks and the Milwaukee Mile with his parents, brother and sister. John enjoys drivers racing side by side and battling for the same piece of real estate on the racetrack as much as he appreciates the technical aspects of the sport.