|Courtney Force gets a hug from father John|
Courtney Force raced to victory in Funny Car Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) also were winners at the first of 24 events in the 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Force powered her Traxxas Ford Mustang past NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger driver Ron Capps with a pass of 4.025 seconds at 317.12 mph to earn her second career victory.
“It was definitely unbelievable,” Force said. “My team, (crew chiefs) Ron Douglas and Dan Hood, thanks to them, they had given me great race car all weekend long. I just try to keep it straight down the center and they really made my job easy. I really owe it to those guys. It was kind of bittersweet finishing here (at the NHRA Finals in November) and not getting that win, then coming back and picking up where we left off and finishing our job. We got the win and I’m just proud of my team.”
In Top Fuel, Langdon drove his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to the win with his pass of 3.721 at 322.27, defeating seven-time champion Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team. In front of a hometown crowd, Langdon said the second victory is so much sweeter than the first.
“Couldn’t have scripted it any better really,” Langdon said. “We struggled a little in qualifying. We didn’t really have the car that we thought we should have had, but we qualified seventh. We knew the things we learned in testing that we had a car capable of winning. It showed today.”
The second round of eliminations Sunday were marred by a horrific crash involving Antron Brown. The reigning Top Fuel champion’s car exploded just as he was winning his second round match-up against David Grubnic. Brown suffered only minor injuries and walked away from the crash, but was unable to field a car for the semi-final.
"It all happened so fast. The car felt really good and then just past 800 feet, the car went boom. The backend whipped around and next thing I know the car was sliding on its side. I was just along for the ride. By the time I got stopped, the NHRA Safety Safari crew was there. I’m really grateful to them. I’m feeling good – just a little soreness in my back and a little bit of a headache and a couple brushes on my knees. Just bumps and bruises - I’ll be fine in a few days and be back and ready for Phoenix next week."
Nobile claimed his sixth Pro Stock victory with a performance of 6.571 at 211.03 in his Mountain View Tire Dodge Avenger, taking the automatic victory over Jeg Coughlin, who turned on the red light at the starting line and fouled out in his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger.
“It’s pretty awesome leaving here with the points lead,” said Nobile. “That’s every team’s goal. Now we just want to stay there, stay consistent and keep the wins coming.”