Track records continue to fall this year for NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series star Brittany Force. But the defending Top Fuel world champion is still after her first victory of the 2023 campaign, and this weekend’s 34th annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways would be an ideal time to get it.
It comes at the second race of the NHRA’s famed three-race Western Swing, meaning the Countdown to the Championship playoffs are closing in. Force has been consistent and is currently fourth in points, but a midseason victory would go a long way in helping the team get ready to defend their championship.
The stop in Seattle is also Force’s sponsor’s race, putting even more importance on the NHRA’s annual visit to the Pacific Northwest. Force finished as the runner-up a year ago in her 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac/Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster, hoping to take it one step further this year and claim her first Seattle Top Fuel win.
“Seattle is next on the list for the Western Swing, and this Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team is excited to get there with Flav-R-Pac being the title sponsor of the event,” Force said. “Our boss, Frank Tiegs, is going to be there along with a bunch of Flav-R-Pac employees, and family are going to be there, so we’re looking forward to it.
“I’m getting to go in a little early on Thursday and do some media around Seattle and really get to talk up this race to hopefully get as many fans out to the track as possible. I’m also really looking forward to getting to meet some of the Seattle Storm WNBA players. I’ll be going to their game on Thursday, and they’ll be out at the track on Friday.
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Robert Hight (Funny Car) both won the 2022 event, and this year’s race will be broadcast on both the FOX and FOX Sports 1 (FS1), including eliminations coverage starting at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 23 on FOX. It is the 11th of 21 races during the 2023 campaign, and Force is confident her team is headed for a big finish this year.
The team made a number of changes to the car a year after setting track records across the country, winning five races and picking up a Top Fuel world title. While Force has continued to set track records – also qualifying No. 1 four times – a win has escaped them.
It’s a loaded field in the Top Fuel ranks, led by current points leader Justin Ashley, who has four wins this year, and also the likes of defending event winner Schumacher, who beat Force in the final round, Leah Pruett, Denver winner Clay Millican, teammate Austin Prock, and Antron Brown.
But Force is focused on the steps she needs to make heading into the weekend and coming up with big results on race day. It didn’t happen in Denver to open the Western Swing, but Force believes the turnaround could come this weekend in Seattle.
“Most importantly this weekend, we need to turn our luck around,” said Force, who has 16 career Top Fuel wins. “We struggled a little bit in Denver on race day. We went out early in the first round. There're two more [in the Western Swing], which we love. So luckily for us, we get right back to it in just a couple days. We’ll be looking for some good qualifying runs and going rounds on race day.”
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 4 p.m. PT on Friday, July 21 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 22 at 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. PT on Sunday, July 23. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations on FOX at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.
To purchase tickets to the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, fans can visit www.nhra.com or call 800-884-6472.