The highly anticipated debut of drag racer Brittany Force in Thursday's first round of qualifying at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona ended before it began.
Force, the 26-year-old daughter of drag-racing legend John Force, was making her first run in the top-fuel division, the National Hot Rod Assn.'s most prestigious class.
After John Force poked his head into Brittany's cockpit to give her last-minute instructions, Brittany eased the 8,000-horsepower dragster up to the starting line -- also known as the staging area -- at Auto Club Raceway. Another female rookie, Leah Pruett, was in the left lane.
But Brittany's car inched forward too far, just past the starting line.
So when the starting lights turned green for Pruett, they turned red for Brittany because she effectively had fouled out. Before she could hit the throttle, her crew turned off the engine.