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Brittany Force Wins Top Fuel Crown; First Female Champ Since Muldowney in ’82

 
Brittany Force Championship Celebration 2017 - USA Today

(Image/USA Today)

Brittany Force won the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship Sunday, the first Top Fuel title for John Force Racing, cementing her place in history as only the second female to win the Top Fuel class following Shirley Muldowney’s third championship in 1982.

“I can’t believe we’re here, it just seems like a dream,” she said. “And the reason we are here is because of that Monster team. Everyone at that JFR team, and my family. We struggled. We had our ups and downs. But we pulled together. My crew chiefs, Alan Johnson and Brian Husen are the reason we’re here. They never gave up on me and always had my back and kept pushing for more.”

Brittany Force (right) celebrates with her father John after she won her first ever Top Fuel Championship during the second round of eliminations Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 at the 53rd annual NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. (Will Lester-Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

This is the second season with Johnson on board as a tuning consultant. Force won three races in her first season with the master-tuner working with the Monster Energy team and has already won three more in her second campaign working with Johnson.

Force entered the Countdown for the Championship in the #6 position after struggling in the early part of the season. The team made a major chassis change, which proved fruitful almost immediately. She picked up her first win at Epping during the Eastern Swing, and from there started to climb the standings.

Once Force got into the Countdown, she immediately became a title contender. She reached the semi’s in the Countdown-opening race in Charlotte, and went on to win in the next race in Reading. That’s one of two wins she enjoyed during the playoffs, as she also won in Dallas alongside teammate Robert Hight. That’s the second double-up in John Force Racing history.

“I have to thank my dad, and my family. This is a very proud moment,” Brittany Force said. “My dad is the one that gave me this opportunity, and I wouldn’t be out here without him.”

John Force is a 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion, and the closest thing to an icon and household name the sport of drag racing has.

For his part, John Force looked the part of a proud father on Sunday, falling to his knees in a major show of emotion after watching his youngest daughter become the second member of the Force family to capture an NHRA pro series championship. Check it out:

Consider this the “third” double in JFR history, as she joins Hight as a 2017 champion. This is the first time two cars out of the famed racing shop have won in the same season, as Hight and Force bring home the 18th and 19th titles in team history. Force won the Auto Club Road to the Future Award, which highlights the year’s top rookie, in 2013.

NHRA and FOX Sports contributed to this report.

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