Motorsports

NHRA Wrap-Up: Brittany Force and Robert Hight Make it a Sweep for JFR in Baytown

(Image/NHRA)

Brittany Force and teammate Robert Hight shared the winner’s circle for the third time in their careers following a pair of convincing nitro wins at the NHRA SpringNationals in Baytown, TX.

Force captured her ninth career win and second-straight in Houston after a dominating performance. It was just her fifth race with new crew chief David Grubnic. Force broke the track record in qualifying with a 3.661-second, 332.18 miles-per-hour pass and then defeated Cameron Ferre, Doug Kalitta, and Clay Millican before outrunning Antron Brown in the final.

Force was joined in the winner’s circle by two-time Funny Car world champion and John Force Racing teammate Hight who earned his third win of the 2019 season. Hight beat Jonnie Lindberg, J.R. Todd, and John Force before topping Matt Hagan in the final.

Both the NHRA Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes were off this past weekend.

B. Force Wins Top Fuel

“All of John Force Racing was on a mission this morning. Dad and I were number one in qualifying and that was the first time a father and daughter were able to do that at an NHRA event. That’s pretty awesome for all of us,” Brittany Force said. “We were looking for a win together but to do it with Robert is also pretty awesome.

“All the changes we made this season; it’s a whole new team with David Grubnic, Mac Savage, and the whole Advance Auto Parts team. A whole new crew is a lot to wrap your head around. It was important to make some runs and get into a new routine. We turned the corner in Gainesville, but I screwed up. In Las Vegas we were runner-up. To be able to come out here and run 3.66; that was an outstanding run. It’s just very exciting to get our first win together.”

On her .002 reaction time in the semifinals:

“A lot was going through my head. I screwed up in semi’s. I got lucky with that .002 light. You’re not supposed to have that in a Top Fuel car. After that run I talked to my dad and talked to Robert and then I talked to David, who said, ‘Let it go. Put it out of your head.’ It’s nice to have a crew chief that will talk to you in the middle of the day like that. With the support system I have around me, I was able to get my head back in the game.”

Hight Wins Funny Car

“I wasn’t nervous about qualifying on Friday because I believe in this team. I know they’ll get it done. What I was nervous about was the weather. It didn’t look good. Luckily, Mother Nature held out for us,” Hight said. “We event got two runs and got two bonus points. Our team came out swinging and made really good runs for conditions. That’s why we have three wins so far this year. My crew keeps me in check. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. In 2017, at the last race of the year in Pomona, we did not qualify until the last session and we were 15th, but we found a way to win the championship. I’ve never seen a more focused group of individuals.

“We couldn’t have had a bigger swing in conditions than we had this weekend. The water grains were through the roof on Friday and Saturday. Then, it changed today and we had dry air and it was 10 feet above sea level. If you’d have gone up there with the same tune-up it wouldn’t go to half-track without burning up. Our guys have a great handle on conditions. We had a tough road with Jonnie Lindberg, J.R. Todd, and John Force before we had to run Matt Hagan.”

The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, NC, April 26-28.

NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings

  1.  Bo Butner               301   
2. Alex Laughlin 229
3. Jason Line 189
4. Erica Enders 186
5. Matt Hartford 185

NHRA Funny Car Point Standings

  1.  Robert Hight             476   
2. Matt Hagan 366
3. J.R. Todd 341
4. John Force 339
5. Jack Beckman 332

NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings

  1.  Doug Kalitta             367
2. Brittany Force 349
3. Steve Torrence 343
4. Mike Salinas 320
5. Leah Pritchett 303

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings

  1.  Andrew Hines             124
2. Eddie Krawiec 106
3. Hector Arana Jr. 76
4. Joey Gladstone 72
5. Matt Smith 63
Drag Race Central and NHRA contributed to this report.

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