Courtney Force wins Traxxas Nitro Shootout

04 Sep 2016
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor

Force winCourtney Force scored at her sponsor’s big event, driving her Traxxas Camaro SS to a $100,000 payday in the 5th annual Traxxas Nitro Shootout, held concurrent with qualifying at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.

Force defeated her John Force Racing teammate, Robert Hight, 4.01 to 4.59, to join her father, John, as a Traxxas Shootout champion.

Prior to this year, John Force and Jack Beckman had taken turns winning the special event, with Force winning the inaugural event in 2012 and then alternating every year since. Neither was around for the final this year as Force lost in round one to Capps and Beckman was not part of the field after failing to win an event or the fan vote/lottery wild card spot.

“The road getting here wasn’t easy, and I just want to say thanks to Dan Hood and Ronnie Thompson and my Traxxas crew,” said Force. “They gave me a great car. Man, the belt was shredding down there at the top end. I was just waiting for Robert to drive around me, but we were able to get the win. For everyone at Traxxas, Chevy, Peak, Monster, AAA, all of our sponsors, it really was a great win. This is the first time I’ve done this, so this is so awesome for me. I just want to thank the NHRA Mello Yello Series. This is a big win for us and our Traxxas team.

“[Winning $100,000] is amazing, but I’m already trying to get into qualifying mode and get ready for race day tomorrow, so I’m going to act like that was just a qualifying run. I don’t even want to see the check right now. I’ve got a race to win tomorrow. I’m just so proud of my team and want to thank all the fans for coming out this weekend.”

John Force Racing was assured its third Traxxas Shootout victory after Courtney defeated Matt Hagan, 3.92 to 3.94, and Hight took a bye run after Ron Capps was unable to return for the semifinals after his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge ended up in the sand trap and catch net when his parachutes failed to open after defeating John Force in round one. Capps’ entry was too damaged to be repaired in time.

Courtney Force has participated in all five Shootouts that bear her sponsor’s name — twice (2012 and 2015) as the winner of the fan vote/lottery process — but had never reached the final round. Hight had been runner-up at the last two Traxxas Shootouts, where he lost final rounds to John Force (2014) and Jack Beckman (2105).

“After five years, I swear it was a curse,” she added. “I went out in the first round every time I was in the Traxxas Shootout. It definitely feels good to get it, especially because it is my title sponsor. It’s a huge win for my team.”