Photos courtesy John Force Racing
With the official start of the 2014 NHRA season only a few weeks away, Brittany Force and her crew have been hard at work testing and tuning her top fuel dragster at the PRO Winter Warm-up in Palm Beach, Florida. And even though things were very busy, Brittany was gracious enough to take some time to answer a few questions exclusively for The Burnout.
Are you feeling more pressure to perform in the 2014 season after having been named Rookie of the Year in 2013?
The difference between this year and my rookie season is my drive to compete feels much more intense. My rookie season was a big learning curve for me that will continue, but now I know what I accomplished last year and how badly I want to improve this year. There’s that obvious pressure to make your sponsors and your team proud that does weigh in especially after a bad day at the track. I plan to attack the season the way I did last year, working hard, listening to my crew chiefs, being open to advice, staying focused, practicing on my tree and doing the best job that I can as a driver.
Who is your biggest competition this year?
I have the chance to compete against some of the most well known, talented drivers in the top fuel ranks. Tony Schumacher is one driver that has always gone out of his way to offer me tips, advice and encouragement. I have watched him for years and never thought in a million years I would be on the track next to him. He is the King in Top Fuel and to get a win against the seven-time champ would be beyond words.
What are some of the things you learned during your rookie year that you will be applying to this season?
My rookie year has taught me more than I could have ever expected. I did an entire year of testing my Top Fuel dragster in 2012 and it was my rookie season that I feel I gained the most experience. My rookie season taught me how to always stay positive because it helped keep me and my team motivated and in high spirits for the next time we get on the track. It has also taught me how to listen to and feel the car when it speaks to me. I learned how to pedal the car for the first time in my rookie season. It’s definitely tricky and it’s something I still need more experience in but it may have been the reason my team and I got the win light in Pomona.
How does your strategy and training regimen differ from your other family members? Do they give you welcome, or unwelcome, advice?
Even though I’m in a Top Fuel dragster I still go to my dad, John and sister, Courtney for advice. My dad has been out here racing forever so I’m lucky to have him as a teacher. He tends to get too wound up when talking about race cars and tends to give me the answers to a hundred questions not just one but any advice I can get from him I use on the racetrack. Courtney is probably the easiest to talk to about driving. I can ask her one question and I get just what I wanted in the most broken down, step-by-step manner, which is helpful. I also enjoy talking to my brother-in-law Robert Hight especially about staging and practicing good reaction times. He always has good ideas and strategies that have been helpful to me over the year.
If you couldn’t drag race, what other series would appeal to you?
Drag racing will always be a part of my life no matter what. Even if I couldn’t be in the seat I would definitely be in the stands watching because drag racing is a sport I have grown up around and couldn’t imagine my life without. I graduated college with a Secondary Education Teaching Credential in English so I could see myself in front of a classroom of middle school or high school students.
Check out Brittany in action in the PRO Winter Warm-up at Palm Beach International Raceway.
Follow Brittany and the John Force Racing team on their official website.