By Ed Folven
John Force and his family have had a legendary impact on professional drag racing, and a new chapter in the story was written on Sunday, Nov. 12 when his daughter Brittany Force became the first female driver in 35 years to capture the Top Fuel season championship in the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Brittany Force earned her first season title on points in an elimination race at the 2017 Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona. She topped Shawn Langdon in the final race to also win the Top Fuel category at the event.
Force became the first female driver to win the season title since the legendary Shirley Muldowney in 1982. Her father John Force is a 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion.
John Force Racing also had its hand in the Funny Car season finale, with driver Robert Hight winning the category’s season title. Hight won the championship on points during elimination rounds and later survived an engine explosion that resulted in his car ending up in the sand at the end of the track. Driver Tommy Johnson Jr. defeated Hight in the event’s final race, but Hight had already sealed his second championship.
Driver Bo Butner won his first season title in the Pro Stock category, defeating rival Greg Anderson in points for the season championship, and Tanner Gray in the final race of the finals for the event title as well.
In the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, Eddie Krawiec lost the final race of the day to Andrew Hines, but had already clinched his fourth championship.
An estimated 30,000 race fans flocked to Pomona for 2017 Auto Club NHRA Finals, and enjoyed a full complement of qualifying and elimination races from Nov. 9-12. Race fans can enjoy the high speed action again this coming February, when the season starts anew from Feb. 8-11, 2018 at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com.