It took thirty-five years for a woman to sit atop the Top Fuel throne again, but Brittany Force was the woman for the job.
There are now only two women in the history of NHRA Drag Racing to win a world championship in Top Fuel. In 1977, 1980, and 1982, racing legend Shirley Muldowney won the NHRA Top Fuel World Championship. Force, 31, wasn’t even alive for the last championship that Muldowney claimed.
Brittany Force is the middle daughter of the winningest drag racer in history, John Force. Despite growing up around the racetrack, Force didn’t always have her sights set on being a racecar driver. It was well documented in her family’s reality show, Driving Force, that she was on the fence about racing. Her older sister, Ashley, and her younger sister, Courtney, were all-in when it came to being professional racecar drivers. Brittany’s main goal was to be a school teacher. And for a time, she was teaching grade-schoolers in the Orange County area of California. However, racing always remained a constant in Brittany’s life.
On her way to racing Top Fuel, she also raced in two sportsman classes, Super Comp and Top Alcohol Dragster. In 2013, she made the fateful move up to Top Fuel and enjoyed a gradual rise to success, winning her first national event in March of 2016.
Force wasn’t looked at as a true championship contender until the last half of the Countdown to the Championship. During the regular season, Forced gathered two national event Wallys, but it wasn’t until the third to last race of the season in Dallas that she would pick up another win. She went to second in the points, behind fan-favorite and privateer, Steve Torrence.
With Torrence going out of the Dallas and Las Vegas events early, Brittany Force slowly chipped away the the points deficit between them. But a red-light start in the final round of the Vegas race, Force’s efforts were left hanging in the balance.
Brittany came out of the gate guns-a-blazing at the Auto Club Finals, she made solid passes three out of four qualifying attempts and took the No. 1 spot. Torrence on the other hand was only able to make it down the track once during the qualifying sessions. During the second round of final eliminations Steve Torrence lost to Antron Brown, leaving the championship up for grabs and the pressure on the shoulders of Brittany Force, who needed to win the round to win the championship.
Brittany Force took out Australia-native, Richie Crampton in round two and secured herself her very first Top Fuel World Championship.
If there was only one word to sum up all that was going on at the top end of the racetrack when Force climbed out of her car it would be: emotional. Brittany managed to hold back looming tears as she hoisted her championship Wally. Her father, John, however, was overcome with tears of his own on the starting line. One by one her family and team congratulated her on her achievement. Each one crying tears of joy, smiling ear-to-ear, or bear-hugging her, sometimes all three at once.
This is the first Top Fuel World Championship not only for Brittany, but for John Force Racing as well.
Looking back on Brittany Force’s racing career, it’s funny to think that the Force sister who wanted to race the least, is the first and only one to win a world championship. That being said, she still needs to win fifteen more in order to catch up with her father.
For now, Force is still taking in her first.
“I can’t believe we are here, it seems like a dream. The reason we are here is because of that Monster team and all the support I have and all the sponsors, everyone at JFR and that is the reason we are here,” Force said. We struggled, we had our ups and downs, but we pulled it together when it mattered most. I give it all up to my crew chiefs Alan Johnson and Brian Husen. They are the ones that made this possible they have always had my back and kept pushing for me, that is what my Monster teamed did. They never give up on me, pushing and fighting and never gave up. I can’t believe we are here. I have to take my dad, my family, they always had my back and no matter what. This is a very proud moment. I can’t believe we are here. It is the support system we have around you and that is why we are here.”