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Keeping Pace

Force eyes a four-wide win at zMAX

Courtney Force gets a big hug from her father John after winning the NHRA season-opener at Pomona. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)
Courtney Force gets a big hug from her father John after winning the NHRA season-opener at Pomona. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)

Courtney Force invades zMAX Dragway this weekend as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Charlotte, NC This week, Courtney Force is looking to gain a stronger lead on her competition at the 4th annual Dollar General Four-Wide NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway, April 19-21.

“Racing at the four-wide is always a challenge for the driver and the teams but it is fun having such a unique track on the circuit. It's definitely challenging coming to this track because you have to work twice as hard and learn how to stage and drive in four different lanes rather than just two. The pressure really is on at this event so it's nice to have a little experience racing here from my rookie season,” said Force.

Force has returned to the No. 1 position in the Funny Car points after a runner-up finish two weeks ago in Las Vegas. The 2012 Rookie of the Year qualified at the top in the No. 2 spot, then ousted Tim Wilkerson, Del Worsham and Matt Hagan before falling to Cruz Pedregon in the final round.

“It felt great going all the way to the final round in Vegas and being that close to getting another win. It was a huge boost of confidence for our team to go rounds in Vegas and leave in the points lead and that’s exactly what we need to keep up our momentum,” said Force. “We are only four races into the season, so to be back in the points lead after a No. 1 qualifier, one win and a runner-up finish makes our whole team excited for the rest of the season.”

Last year, Force made her first appearance at the uniquely designed four-wide event, qualified No. 12 and lost in the first round of four Funny Cars on Sunday.

“I think it's exciting for fans to come out to Charlotte to the Four-Wide because it is such a unique track. There is no other track like this one that Bruton Smith has built. Fans get to see and feel 40,000 horsepower on just one pass and they have twice as many cars to watch on a run. It's fast, exciting and very loud,” said Force.

Also this week, Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang team have managed to catch the eye of ESPN2 analyst Mike Dunn. Force is currently sitting at the top of Dunn’s Power Rankings list heading into the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.