Courtney Force Bests Father in Sonoma, Becomes Winningest Female Funny Car Driver in NHRA History
Courtney Force beat father John Force in the final to become the winningest female in Funny Car history at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals on Sunday.
Khalid alBalooshi (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Sonoma Raceway.
Force, who won the 100th race by a female driver in the NHRA professional classes at Topeka, outran her father with a 4.253-second pass at 296.24 mph in her Traxxas Ford Mustang to claim her fifth career victory. With the win, Force broke a tie with sister Ashley Force Hood for the most all-time wins by a female in Funny Car.
"It's cool to reach number five," said Force, who now has two wins on the season. "I'm very proud of my team. Obviously I wouldn't be here without them and the hard work that they put in. I'm only as good as my team."
John Force, who started his record 650th national event this weekend, was seeking his 141st career win in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. Force, the 16-time Funny Car world champ, defeated Paul Lee, Bristol winner Tommy Johnson Jr. and two-time winner this season Alexis DeJoria on his way to the final which clinched him a spot in the Countdown to the Championship. With the final round loss, Force fell to 5-6 against Courtney.
In Top Fuel, alBalooshi piloted his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a 3.912 at 309.42, defeating teammate Shawn Langdon. It was the second win of the season for alBalooshi, who celebrated his 35th birthday during race day, and fourth of his career.
"The trophy is exactly what I wanted," said alBalooshi, who beat Billy Torrence, Clay Millican and Englishtown winner Richie Crampton to reach the final. "This is a very special birthday for me. This trophy is the best gift of my life, and [crew chief] Jason McCulloch gave it to me with all my crew guys."
Langdon, driver of the Al-Anabi Racing dragster, was appearing in his fifth final of the season with his lone win coming at Bristol. Langdon, the reigning Top Fuel world champ, had a solid race day, eliminating Denver winner J.R. Todd, points leader Doug Kalitta and seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher before falling to alBalooshi. With the result, Langdon became the third Top Fuel driver to clinch a spot in the Countdown to the Championship playoff.
In Pro Stock, Line drove his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro to his second win of the season with a 6.548 at 211.73, defeating V Gaines in the final. It was the second win of the season for Line and 33rd of his career. By taking out Joey Grose, Jonathan Gray, Dave Connolly and Gaines, Line stamped his ticket to the Countdown to the Championship.
"Overall, I felt like my car was as good or better than any other one out here but I struggled this week," said Line, who gave Chevrolet its 200th win in the Pro Stock category. "I did things that I'd normally never do. I botched a burnout, couldn't stage, couldn't cut a light, and couldn't find the finish line. Other than that, everything was perfect."
Gaines, driver of the Kendall Oil Dodge Dart, was appearing in his third final of the season. He is still searching for his first win since Reading in 2012. Gaines took out Chris McGaha, No. 1 qualifier Shane Gray and reigning Pro Stock world champ Jeg Coughlin to reach the final.
Pro Stock drivers Allen Johnson, Coughlin and Connolly all sealed a spot in the Countdown as well with their respective Sonoma results.
Krawiec grabbed his second Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of 2014 with a 6.854 at 193.99 on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, beating No. 1 qualifier Jerry Savoie in the final. The win was the 24th career victory for Krawiec, a three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ.
"I almost forgot how to get back here [to the winner's circle]," said Krawiec, who got past Freddie Camarena, Epping winner Angie Smith and teammate Andrew Hines before taking out Savoie. "Going into the final I was 100-percent concerned about Jerry. We build his horsepower and he's doing an awesome job but that's why we drag race."
Savoie was appearing in his first final of the season and third of his career. His Savoie's Alligator Farm Suzuki was fast all weekend beating Chaz Kennedy, Hector Arana and John Hall before red lighting against Krawiec. Savoie was seeking his first career win.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series concludes its Western Swing with the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways., Aug. 1-3.