Brittany Force didn’t enter the 2017 Countdown with much momentum. She lost in the second round twice and was a first round exit at Indy. But, she’s getting better and better now that the playoffs have started. Force, powered her Monster Energy dragster to a victory in Sunday’s Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove for her second Top Fuel victory of the season and fifth of her career.
Force, bested Steve Torrence in the final round en route to a championship saving win. Her road to the finals though wasn’t easy. Force, the No. 4 qualifier, beat Wayne Newby, Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown in the semifinals to set up a final round matchup with Torrence.
Torrence, knocked out Terry Haddock, Leah Pritchett and Dom Lagna for his 10th final round appearance in 2017. By virtue of that feat, Torrence is now the points leader once again. It was Torrence’s third straight final and fourth over the last five events.
Schumacher, hasn’t made it past the semifinals since Atlanta. He now has 10 first or second round defeats over the last 12 races.
For Brown, a semifinal run was much needed. It’s the furthest he’s been in four events.
In Funny Car action Ron Capps powered his NAPA dragster to a series-high seventh win in 2017 and 57th of his Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing career. He beat Courtney Force in the final round en route to the win.
He also retook over the points lead too, as the final round appearance was his 10th of the season. But, prior to this weekend, five of his last six events saw him take an exit in the first or second round.
Capps, was the No. 3 qualifier and took out Jim Campbell, Tommy Johnson Jr. and his teammate Matt Hagan on the way to the finals.
Force, nearly swept the weekend for John Force Racing. She was the No. 8 qualifier and took out Bob Tasca III and top qualifier and teammate Robert Hight on her way to a semifinal matchup against Jack Beckman. The win over Beckman propelled her to her fourth final round of 2017. Unfortunately, she’s yet to win one. But, it was the second straight final round appearance, which is great for her championship hopes.
Hight, was the quick man again this weekend as he earned his fifth top qualifier award in the last seven events. But, his stay didn’t last long as his defeat to Force was his fourth first or second round defeat in those seven races.
For Johnson Jr., he won this event last year, but his recent struggles continued. This is the third straight event he’s been taken out early.
J.R. Todd has been on a roll, but was taken out of the first round on Sunday.
In Pro Stock competition, Bo Butner went chalk from the top qualifier to his fourth win of his career, all this season. Butner, knocked out Val Smeland Erica Enders and Allen Johnson en route to his ninth final round appearance of 2017 against Greg Anderson.
Anderson, qualified No. 6 and defeated Brian Self, Tanner Gray and Jason Line on the way to his ninth final as well.