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Images from the 2018 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals

Brittany Force: Unleash the 11,000 Horsepower Beast!

May 032021

When you’re the second generation of one of auto racing’s most storied figures, you never really think that your father’s legendary operation could be on the verge of shutting its doors. But that became a harsh reality for Brittany Force one year ago. After all, John Force is the man who, in many ways, single-handedly carried the sport of drag racing into prominence with his talent, charisma, and bravado. He is an icon. His team is NHRA royalty, with countless wins and championships. But for Brittany, John, son-in-law Robert Hight, and John Force Racing (JFR), the coronavirus pandemic pushed everything to the brink.

While 2020 posed a challenge to everyone in the world of motorsports, it was uniquely difficult for the Force family. As the pandemic levied financial hardships across the country it forced businesses everywhere to scale back operations as a method of survival. It was no different for JFR, who was forced to cut personnel and take drastic measures just to keep the lights on. When the 2020 Camping World NHRA Drag Racing Series resumed from postponement last July, the Force cars were noticeably absent. Several weeks later, citing the team’s inability to properly fulfill its commitments to sponsors and other partners, John made the shocking announcement that JFR would forego the entirety of the season. It was a heavy dose of reality that forced the racing world to accept that this storied organization was fighting for its own survival.

From a big picture standpoint, John did what he had to do in order to give his racing empire hope for the future. He was no stranger to sacrifice, and he made one of the biggest sacrifices of his career for the opportunity to pull into the staging lights at the start of the 2021 season. Now, with the new season underway, John Force Racing is back where it belongs, to the delight of the sport and the millions of drag racing fans. While the team is a bit thinner, forced to eliminate its second Top Fuel entry driven by Austin Prock, it’s picked up right where it left off in terms of performance.


For Brittany Force and her Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster, there’s been no better remedy to move on from the dark cloud of 2020 than to once again put on her fire suit, strap on the helmet, buckle into her land rocket, and churn out sub four-second 1,000-foot runs at well over 330 miles per hour. She’s already amassed a decorated career as only the second woman to win a Top Fuel Championship, in 2017, and has 10 National wins to her credit. She also happens to be the Guinness World Record holder for both speed (338.17) and elapsed time (3.623) in Top Fuel.


Considering she was born into a family built on winning and breaking barriers, it’s not a surprise to see Brittany follow in the successful footsteps of both her father and brother-in-law, and continue to carry the torch for the new generation of Force racers now that both of her sisters, Ashley and Courtney, have hung up their helmets.


With the fastest job on the planet, the slow pace and isolation of the past year could not have been more different than the life Brittany is accustomed to. However, even when things appeared to be at their lowest, she never lost her sense of positivity. She and the rest of the Force family experienced joy in their personal life by welcoming Harlan, the daughter of Courtney Force and IndyCar driver Graham Rahal, while on the racing side the Monster Energy Top Fuel squad remained largely intact for the 2021 season. The latter being of particular importance for the team to pick up where it left off prior last season’s pause, where Brittany sat second in points with a pair of top qualifying efforts.


Given the challenges of the last year, internal motivation has been a driving factor for Force heading into the new season. Sitting idle while the rest of her competitors continued to compete meant there was an added layer to the team’s preparations compared to everyone else. With a championship on her mantle and plenty of race wins to her credit, Brittany’s ability to climb back into the cockpit and rediscover that winning form is of minimal concern, as is her crew’s ability to get the car running quick passes with consistency. After all, these are the best of the best in the sport. However, getting back to the rhythm, routine, and all around hectic pace of being at the races - from practice to qualifying to race day eliminations - is something that many would assume might take some time following such a long layoff. After all, with total teardowns and rebuilds of the car and engine following each and every run, the amount of pit work required of an NHRA crew is unprecedented in racing. For her part, Brittany has focused on visualizing her team’s success and is using that as inspiration to get the entire Monster Energy team back into winning form.

Her overall positive outlook and mindset surrounding the 2021 season, where capturing a second Top Fuel title is the primary goal, has served the team well thus far. The Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster is once again blisteringly fast, with Brittany earning top qualifier honors at Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas, but all the pieces have yet to come together to result in a win or finals appearance. However, setbacks are a given in NHRA Drag Racing. Trying to get 11,000 horsepower to stick to the asphalt and make a clean pass is a constant battle that changes every time the car pulls into the lane, and thus far Brittany has taken it all in stride. The positivity she’s passed along to the entire team has allowed them to keep moving forward, to keep pushing. After all, if you’re not failing, you’re not trying, and given where this team was one year ago, the opportunity to simply be racing and challenging for round wins can be seen as a victory in and of itself. Few in the pits have endured through the uncertainty and hardship that JFR experienced, and Brittany and her Monster Energy team are ready to turn that adversity into an asset as the season progresses. At the end of the day, it’s just good to be back.