CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION: John Force wins for 154th time, takes Funny Car points lead; No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force claims first Top Fuel victory of season

CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
MENARDS NHRA NATIONALS PRESENTED BY PETARMOR
HEARTLAND MOTORSPORTS PARK IN TOPEKA, KANSAS
AUG. 15, 2021

Chevrolet sweeps pro races in the Heartland

• John Force wins for 154th time, takes Funny Car points lead
• No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force claims first Top Fuel victory of season
• Dallas Glenn earns second Pro Stock win in all-KB Racing final
• John Cerbone wins Factory Stock Showdown in COPO Camaro

TOPEKA, Kan. (Aug. 15, 2021) – John Force, gripping the Funny Car Wally he won minutes earlier, was the first to greet Top Fuel winner Brittany Force at the top end of Heartland Motorsports Park.

“Way to go girl,” the patriarch of John Force Racing exclaimed.
For the first time, the 16-time champion shared the winner’s platform with his daughter.

“This is something I’ll never forget. Doubling up with my dad has been on my bucket list since 2013 and we finally did it,” said Brittany, who recorded her first victory of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) season in the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster and 11th of her career by defeating Clay Millican in the final.

John, driving the PEAK/BlueDEF Platinum Chevrolet Camaro SS, claimed his third win of the season and 154th of his illustrious career by getting past No. 1 qualifier JR Todd in the final.

Dallas Glenn completed the Chevrolet sweep of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series races in the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor as the first-year Pro Stock driver used a perfection reaction time to score a holeshot victory over KB Racing teammate Kyle Koretsky.

“It’s amazing,” said Glenn, the No. 4 qualifier who picked up his second victory in 10 Pro Stock races. “To get this race win, against your teammate Kyle, I know he was really wanting it. Everybody at KB Racing has been supporting me for so long. This feels real good.”

Brittany Force’s race day started as the No. 1 qualifier for the fourth consecutive Top Fuel event – a streak last accomplished by Larry Dixon in 2009. She moved to second in points with two races left in the regular season and secured a spot in the Countdown to the Championship.

“We’ve been chasing this first win of the season since the beginning,” said Force, who has been the No. 1 qualifier in six of the 11 events. “It’s been a tough road. When you get those No. 1 qualifiers and you come up short on Sunday, there’s nothing tougher than that. Today we were pushing and we got the job done.”

John Force, competing in his 800th NHRA Funny Car event and 260th final, picked up his 1,9966th elimination round win in the final. He rose to the top of the standings.

“I want to thank all my sponsors for giving me a chance. I want to thank my team, Daniel Hood who runs my car, and all of my teams. I love what we do. I got to double up with Brittany, so that’s really special,” said Force, who also shared the winner’s stage with daughter Ashley in 2007 when she won in the Sportsman Top Alcohol category.

In the quarterfinals, Force defeated teammate Robert Hight, who was the last Funny Car winner at Heartland Motorsports Park in 2019. Hight was the No. 14 qualifier in the Automobile Club of Southern California Camaro SS.

Glenn, the No. 4 qualifier in the Rad Torque Systems Camaro SS, earned his second Pro Stock win of the season in 10 career races. He eliminated No. 1 qualifier Troy Coughlin Jr., driving the JEGS.com Camaro SS, and Koretsky defeated reigning champion Erica Enders in the Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Camaro SS in the semifinals.

Koretsky, driver of the Lucas Oil Camaro SS, stopped No. 2 qualifier and KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson, driving the HendrickCars.com Camaro SS, from advancing to the semifinals by one-thousandth of a second. Anderson, the No. 1 or 2 qualifier in every race this season, is seeking to tie Warren Johnson’s class record of 97 career wins.

John Cerbone, the No. 1 qualifier in his Chevrolet COPO Camaro, won the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown. It was Cerbone’s first national event victory and the fourth in five Factory Stock Showdown events this season for drivers of the COPO Camaro.

Five-time national champion Justin Lamb, driving the Larry Stone Chevrolet COPO Camaro, was runner-up in Super Stock.

Chevrolet Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers will compete in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Aug. 18-19 at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota. The event was not contested in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, Brittany Force was the No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel and Jason Line won the Pro Stock race in his KB Racing Camaro SS. The U.S. Nationals on Sept. 3-5 will be the next event for Pro Stock racers.

An interview with Top Fuel winner BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY/ FLAV-R-PAC CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (No. 1 qualifier):

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DOUBLE UP WITH YOUR DAD?
“This is something I’ll never forget. This has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and there have been so many close calls where we thought, ‘Hey, this could be our day that we could double up,’ and just to get a race win is hard enough. Then you want to do it with your teammate, it’s almost impossible. So, you almost put it on the back burner; it’s too much to double up with your dad. You both run well all weekend long and you double up, it almost seems impossible. Today, we pulled off the impossible. It’s pretty cool that we’ll always share this. It’s a special racetrack for us and it’s pretty cool to have that with him.”

HOW DOES IT FEEL?
“It feels great. We came out strong, we’ve had a good season. We’ve had a bunch of No. 1 qualifiers; we just keep getting stuck on race day. That’s hard for a driver, a crew chief, our entire team. That’s where you really want to excel, when you really want to do well. We have a closet full of No. 1 hats, but we don’t have those race day hats. I know it was right around the corner for us. Over the last few races, it’s been driver error, it’s been team error. Little things kept getting us. We knew eventually our luck was going to turn around.”

WHEN HE LIT THE SCOREBOARD, YOU KNEW IT WAS ON YOU. TAKE ME TO THAT MOMENT.
“I don’t really see it that way. When I’m in that car, I knew he was in the lane in front of me but it’s no different from before when I sat behind him or any other run when there’s somebody in front of me my focus is not there. Yes, I could see the excitement. I could see what was going on. But in that moment, I was on the radio talking to (David) Grubnic about what our plan was, where they wanted me to point the car, what are we doing at the starting line.”

WAS THERE A POINT TODAY THAT FELT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER RACES?
“Definitely that run against Steve (Torrence) was a huge one for us. He’s the guy that we’re chasing down, and we knew that was going to be a tough one for us to get past. But we had a consistent race car all weekend long. The only run we didn’t make was Q2. Just solid passes down the racetrack. That Q3 run in the heat was big for us, to set us up for today. That’s where we’ve struggled.”

HOW GRATIFYING IS IT THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER ANY MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT RACE DAY?
“It was starting to get a little old. No. 1 qualifiers is exciting, but the big excitement is on race day. For a while, I thought the No. 1 qualifiers were jinxing us. I didn’t want them anymore. Today we turned it around and we got the win.”

HOW MUCH IS IT A BOOST TO GET THE NO. 1 QUALIFIER ON THE LAST RUN?
“It’s all David Grubnic. Every run we make he never wants to play it safe. He always wants top push and he wants to see how far he can push this car, this team and see what we’re capable of. He’s afraid of backing down; that’s what it really is. He wants to push all the way and he excels.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE NOW THE TEAM IS HITTING ITS STRIDE AS YOU ARE GETTING READY FOR THE COUNTDOWN?
“I feel like we’ve been hitting our stride all year long. We stepped out for an entire season. Every single guy returned with me – top to bottom – this season and we’ve had a number of No. 1 qualifiers, we’ve run well, we just keep missing out on race day somehow. Sometimes it’s simple mistakes and sometimes it’s driver errors. Today we were pushing and we got the job done.”

YOU AND STEVE TORRENCE HAVE A BIG RIVALRY AND I KNOW HOW BIG THAT IS WHEN YOU BEAT HIM.
“Absolutely. That was a big round win for us that semifinal. We knew it was going to be tough; he’s been running good all weekend and he’s bene running good all year. We knew it was going to be a tough one but we got around him and then (Clay) Millican in the final.”

THIS PLACE IS SPECIAL TO YOUR FAMILY. TO GET THE JOB DONE MUST BE EXTRA SPECIAL.
“Absolutely. Also, I found out that my crew chief, David Grubnic, his first win as a driver was here. It’s a very special track. Courtney (Force) has done well here, my dad and now for us to double up is pretty outstanding.”

An interview with Funny Car winner JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK/BLUEDEF PLATINUM CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 6 qualifier):

NO EASY RUNS IN YOUR DAY.
“I had a good day. Robert (Hight, second round) was probably my toughest race because it’s hard to beat Robert. I just had a car that was pretty fast. Got the win. What was special was I finally got that double up with Brittany. It means a lot for a family of racers. It was a great day with all the people I raced.”

HOW COOL IS THAT TO LEAD IN POINTS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2014?
“I don’t even want to look at the points. They told me in the semis that I had taken the lead. That will jump around; it is what it is.”

WHAT’S GOT YOU FIRED UP AGAIN?
“I just do what I do. I want to race. I’ll be crying tonight (after doubling up with daughter Brittany). A statement was made to me, are you trying to fool somebody? Not really. I’ve got my own self confused. But if you really think about it, why does a quarterback fake a handoff? To fake you out.”

TALK BIG PICTURE.
“I’m going after wins. I don’t talk about it because when you do you get lost why you came and you start focusing on that. No, what you do is you drive your car. You love life and I fight. My race car keeps me alive and the cheer of the crowd. So, if it’s in the cards, we’ll win a championship. And if we don’t, I’ll be the first over there to congratulate who does. Because that is what it really is all about. The competition makes you better. Every time they beat me, they make me better.”

YOU WON HERE IN 2008 AFTER THAT BIG ACCIDENT. HOW DOES THIS COMPARE?
“Just because they told me I was finished. I was looking at my daughters coming up, dad, you can’t be finished. I wanted to be around to teach them. Now, they’re teaching me. Love it here. Glad to be here. Let’s pack the stands everywhere we go. That is what brings us alive.”

IN THIS SEASON, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
“I want to thank all my sponsors for giving me a chance. All the people who make this possible. People ask me every week, what do I really want? I want to see Indy packed again from the hood of my car on race day. Because that’s what we live for the crowds. It ain’t just winning because if you win and nobody’s there it doesn’t matter.”

THIS PLACE IS AWFUL SPECIAL TO YOU. (HEARTLAND MOTORSPORTS PARK OWNER) CHRIS PAYNE CAME IN AND BROUGHT US ALL BACK.
“That’s what it’s all about because without the fans we don’t exist. Without the tracks, we don’t exist. I just want to personally thank Chris Payne for putting all this together and giving us a great facility. What’s awesome is our crowds are starting to come back and I’m exciting about that. I want to thank my team, Daniel Hood who runs my car, and all of my teams. I love what we do. I got to double up with Brittany, so that’s really special. They keep asking me, what do you want most in life – another win, another championship? No, I want to see crowds. You people keep me alive. I want to see Indy packed this year because it’s not just to make me and my drivers feel good, it’s to make all the teams – we will work for you, we will entertain you. Let’s fill ‘em at Brainerd, let’s fill ‘em at Indy. That’s what I want.”
An interview with Pro Stock winner DALLAS GLENN, KB RACING, RAD TORQUE SYSTEMS CAMARO SS (No. 6 qualifier):

WALK US THROUGH YOUR RACE DAY.
“I feel like I just raced teammates all day with the exception of Troy (Coughlin). The car was excellent all day. It wasn’t the two greatest runs in the semis and final, but as long as it was good enough to get the win light that’s all that matters. I felt like I did my job really well and the car is just working well right now. I’m really excited for the Countdown coming up here because we have a really fast car.”

CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW TO KEEP YOUR MINDSET, YOUR FOCUS?
“When we went into Q3 and stuck that other motor in and they told me I went to No. 1, I went back and saw that it really wasn’t that good of a run. That got me excited because I know there’s a lot left in it and I’m going to come and surprise them. And I think that’s what we did. All the KB cars are running really good right now and I think it’s a good time to start getting your stride.”

WHAT HAS THIS SEASON BEEN LIKE FOR YOU WITH TWO WINS IN THREE FINALS?
“It’s hard to put into words. I got to experience it with Jason (Line) and KB for years. I’m still working the same as I did last year. This is like a dream come true. This season has taught me a lot. I’ve had some highs and I’ve had some lows where I’ve been struggling. We’ve gotten a little taste of everything this year.”

DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD TO PULL OFF SOMETHING GOOD IN THE FINAL ROUND?
“I knew that Kyle had lane choice and I was going to the right lane and my car was not as happy over there, and I didn’t make a really good run in the semis. I knew that Kyle was really good and had a fast car and he was going to be really on it because I know how bad he wants that first win.”

CHEVROLET FROM THE COCKPIT

FUNNY CAR:
ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 14 qualifier, fell in second round to teammate John Force): “We had some things figured out in that first round. Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham turned this car around. Just wasn’t our race this weekend. Luckily, We get to redeem ourselves right away and head to Brainerd next weekend. Leaving here lower in the points that we want but we’re in the Countdown and we have two races to make up some points. I’m not worried. This Auto Club team always comes through.”

PRO STOCK:
GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier, fell in second round, clinched Countdown spot, points leader): “It’s always a good feeling to know you get to race for the championship, and I’ve been fortunate in my career to have been in this position a few times before. As long as you’re in the Countdown, you have a chance at winning it all, but with this format, the higher your position, the greater your advantage. You want that advantage.”

ERICA ENDERS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, MELLING PERFORMANCE/ELITE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier, fell in semifinals, clinched Countdown spot): “(Grading performance) I’d say a C minus. We’ve had two wins and it’s been great for Melling and Gallagher and all the people who make it possible, but I’ve not been driving really trick and we’ve bene fighting this race car. We have big smoke under the hood with Elite horsepower.”

MATT HARTFORD, HARTFORD RACING, TOTAL SEAL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 5 qualifier, fell in second round): “This Total Seal Camaro, we have a lot of support from a lot of people. The road to get to the next round is always hard.”

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 79 countries with more than 3.2 million cars and trucks sold in 2020. Chevrolet models include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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