Brittany Force earned the 19th No. 1 qualifier of her career to open the 2020 Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series season. That became a calling card of her 2019 campaign, the first with crew chief David Grubnic turning the knobs on the Monster Energy John Force Racing Top Fuel dragster. It came with a pair of wins and a 31-22 round record and a third-place finish.
It also came with the national record in elapsed time and speed. Grubnic made a name for himself in the art of scoreboard blazing while tuning Clay Millican to records and wins on a much smaller budget. Consistent has not been the trademark of the Australian driver turned crew chief, at least not until the back half of the 2019 season.
Grubnic preaches patience in a way that can be unsettling for drag racing fans; we’re not exactly built for it. It took time for him to match his tuning to new parts and pieces at John Force Racing, though he often found spectacular results while doing so. Force drove with a high ceiling in 2019 but the team struggled with consistency, making it down the track on 62 percent of its runs (Success Rate). That came in below the likes of defending champion Steve Torrence (78.4 percent), Mike Salinas (71.8) and Doug Kalitta (66).
There’s a balance to strike. A smooth, 1,000-foot ride won’t do Force any good if it’s slow. That’s also not part of Grubnic’s style, as evidenced by *waves arms* all of his time as a tuner of a Top Fuel dragster. She will go fast, or she will go nowhere. It appears she is going somewhere if recent history is any indicator.
Force’s Success Rate over the last six races is 76.3 percent, paired with the best elapsed time average (3.723-seconds) and speed average (327.75-mph) in Top Fuel. That combination will prove lethal, especially if Grubnic continues to get his driver down the track. Force tops the first NHRA Power Rankings of the season thanks to a combination of blistering speed and solid consistency.
She’d rather have the first Wally, obviously, but the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster is in a better place now than it was leaving the Winternationals a year ago. See you in Phoenix for what figures to be another incredible, quick race at the NHRA Arizona Nationals.