“It’s all up to Courtney Force now…”
Those are the words that Courtney Force heard from the track announcer after her father, John Force, was eliminated from his heat during the 22nd annual NHRA Northwest Nationals held at Pacific Raceways just outside of Seattle in Kent, Washington in 2009. That’s a lot of pressure for a 21-year old college student but Courtney Force wasn’t your typical college girl. She’s the youngest daughter of a drag racing legend.
In order to reach the finals in Kent, Courtney would need to defeat the driver blocking her way in the semi-finals – her sister, Brittany Force. Even though the sisters both spent time together in Top Alcohol Dragster and Super Comp, they had never faced each other in eliminations before. Luckily for the sake of family relationships, Brittany was thrilled for Courtney when she advanced to the final round.
A drag race is over in the blink of an eye. Hours of work and preparation culminate in an eye searing burst of speed. In a mere 5.440 seconds Courtney Force blasted her way into the Top Alcohol Dragster Winners’ Circle by beating experienced racer Chris Demke to the finish line. It may not have been the biggest or most important win of Courtney’s career but it was her first win at a national event. That single win became the first of Courtney’s efforts towards earning the 100th professional win by a woman in NHRA history. She achieved that milestone at the 2014 NHRA Kansas Nationals driving the Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car.
Courtney Force vs. Chris Demke at the 22nd annual NHRA Northwest Nationals in 2009. Courtney Force won the final in her Sanyo A/Fuel dragster with an et of 5.440 and a top speed of 257.83 mph.