EPPING, N.H – In their first finals head-to-head matchup, Courtney Force claimed a memorable Funny Car victory against her legendary father John Force on Sunday at the inaugural Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway.
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event, the 11th of 24 in the 2013 season.
Courtney Force earned her second victory in 2013 and third in her career, improving her overall record against her father, a 15-time Funny Car world champion, to 4-2. It was their first meeting in the finals. Courtney Force, who lost to John in the first round at Bristol Dragway last weekend, outran Alexis DeJoria, Tim Wilkerson and defending Funny Car world champion Jack Beckman to reach the championship round.
In the final round, Courtney Force powered her Traxxas Ford Mustang to a winning performance of 4.301 seconds at 261.67 mph, edging past John Force’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, which trailed with a 4.367 at 262.28.
“I definitely told him I was going to get some revenge (from last week) and we were able to do it. It was a lot of fun,” Courtney Force said. “We got down there and our car got in a little bit of trouble, but I had my foot on the throttle hoping he wouldn’t catch up. After the win, he came over and hugged me and congratulated me. We were both really excited and it was great for our team.”
With the win, Courtney Force moved to fourth in the points standings, while John Force, racing in his second straight final, jumped to fifth with the runner-up finish. Courtney Force also enjoyed the massive reaction from fans who packed New England Dragway all weekend for the NHRA’s debut at the track.
“It’s unbelievable. The fans out here are so amazing,” said Force, who celebrated her 25th birthday during the event. “They were so excited to have us out here. Adding another track in this part of the country, it was great. It really does mean a lot for me to be the first Funny Car winner at this race.”
In Top Fuel, Massey claimed his second victory of the season and 12th of his career, knocking off points leader Shawn Langdon in the final round in his Schumacher Electric dragster. Massey, who has advanced to finals in back-to-back weeks, covered the distance in 4.105 at 271.57 to knock off Langdon’s Al-Anabi Racing dragster, which smoked the tires early and finished with a 9.694 at 81.50.
“I’ve been jacked up all weekend, but I really wanted to win this inaugural event,” Massey said. “This whole area is filled with die-hard fans and they were so ready for NHRA drag racing, so this victory really means a lot to me. We were having the time of our life this weekend.”
Langdon jumped past Tony Schumacher in the points standings with the runner-up finish, while Massey stayed in third. Racing out of the No. 5 qualifying position, Massey beat Khalid alBalooshi, teammate Schumacher and No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta to reach the finals, running as quick as 3.814 at 323.81 on Sunday.