The second race of the American Drag Racing Series, which was held on February 23 in Phoenix, became a real woman’s day — female drivers managed to advance to the finals in two out of three classes. The story is covered by Sergey Bednaruk, the commentator of the NHRA Series on the Russian TV channel Viasat Sport.
Brittany Force caused quite a sensation in the Top Fuel class. She is the daughter of the legendary John Force and made her first appearance in the NHRA only two years ago. During Brittany’s first season her primary goal was to go through the qualifying “sieve” and fight her way to the main runs, but now, after having been around for some time, she is obviously ready to achieve more which she proved in Phoenix.
In the first round Brittany Force defeated David Grubnic decisively. In the quarterfinals she met with the seven-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher who ran out of luck — his dragster broke down. It allowed Force to enter the semifinals for the first time in her career where she was lucky again — Steve Torrence also had some technical problems with his dragster.
As a result, Brittany had to face the 2012 champion Antron Brown in the final round. But no more miracles happened — Brown was the first to cross the finish line. However, Force put up a tough fight against the more experienced competitor who was only 0.04 seconds faster. After the race Antron gave credits to his rival who managed to achieve her best result in Top Fuel class over her short racing career.
“She's at a young stage in her career, and you can tell that she's getting better and better,” Brown said after having his 26th career win. “She was consistent all day to get those round-wins and became a tough competitor for me in the final round. I think we will have to reckon with her more than once”.
Though there was no female victory in the Top Fuel class, the Funny Car runs of the race held in Phoenix ended up with the triumph of the female driver — Alexis DeJoria (she is on the head photo with her team). Last year she was in the shadow of the topline rookie Courtney, another daughter of John Force. But in Arizona she managed to fully unlock her potential by defeating all her competitors with John Force, the winner of the first race and top qualifier, among others. And in the final round Alexis defeated Robert Hight celebrating her first NHRA win.
DeJoria became the fourth female who managed to win the race in the Funny Car class and 14th female winner in the entire NHRA history. “When we won the finals, I couldn’t believe it," said DeJoria. "Actually, I can because I know we can do it, but it’s such a shock at the same time. It’s really amazing!”
Pro Stock races went without any sensation. Allen Johnson and V. Gaines met in the final round with the 2012 series champion winning this battle. But it is Gaines who is now the front-runner after two races. In spite of missing the final round, the first position in the Funny Car class is still taken by “the great and powerful” John Force. Top Fuel standings are headed by Doug Kalitta who secured two victories in both qualifying rounds but was never able to score final wins. However, due to demonstrating stable results he managed to “harvest” a lot of points.
The upcoming third race will be held in the middle of March in Gainesville.