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Courtney Force savors early NHRA funny car points lead

April 12, 2013|By Jim Peltz
  • Funny car drag racer Courtney Force
Funny car drag racer Courtney Force (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

It's early in the season but, so far at least, drag racer Courtney Force is enjoying the exact opposite of a sophomore jinx.

Force, who drives 300-mph funny cars like her legendary father, John Force, is leading the title standings after four races in the National Hot Rod Assn.'s premier Mello Yello Series.

A woman has never won the NHRA funny car championship. John Force, whose team is based in Yorba Linda, has won a record 15 funny car titles.

The 24-year-old Courtney Force won this season's opening race, the Winternationals in Pomona, in February and was runner-up to winner Cruz Pedregon last Sunday in Las Vegas.

Holding the points lead is "still pretty surreal to me," she told reporters during a conference call Thursday. "I'm still learning as a driver."

She acknowledged that all the talk about a sophomore jinx "was getting in my head" before the season started, but quickly faded with the Pomona victory. "It felt good to get a win right off the bat," she said.

Up next in the series' 24-race season is the April 19-21 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, N.C., where four cars race down the drag strip instead of the conventional two.

Courtney Force said that "it's going to be nerve-wracking because there's so much going on, so many other cars," but she added that "I'm excited going into it. I love that it's different."

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