Photo Credit: Gary Nastase / Auto Imagery

BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 5, 2024) – On a weekend during which three-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion Shirley Muldowney will be enshrined as one of the Legends of Thunder Valley, the only other woman to have won that championship is hoping to do something Muldowney never did – and that is hoist a winner’s trophy at Bristol Dragway.

Brittany Force, the two-time World Champion for John Force Racing, will try to add a victory in the 23rd Super Grip Thunder Valley Nationals to her resume driving a sometimes problematic Monster Energy dragster. After an early exit last week in Epping, N.H., she is anxious to get back in the cockpit at her favorite venue in the entire Mission Foods series.

“This is my favorite track on the circuit,” she said. “There is nothing like Thunder Valley and there would be nothing better than to win here.”

Force and crew chief David Grubnic both relish the fact that they can get the car quickly back on the racetrack after a frustrating outing last week in which they qualified third and re-set their own New England Dragway speed record only to bow out early.

“I love these back-to-back races,” Force said. “We have a plan coming into the weekend for some changes we want to make and we are excited about the potential for this Monster Energy Chevrolet. We are expecting to qualify well again and our main focus is four solid runs in qualifying to prepare us for race day.”

Meanwhile, while acknowledging a degree of frustration, Grubnic said he and batterymate John Collins have made progress in returning their Monster to the form it displayed in qualifying No. 1 earlier this year at Pomona, Calif., and in setting the existing NHRA national records of 3.623 seconds, 338.94 miles per hour. He’s pretty sure now that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.

“We’re still sorting out some issues and getting the car back into sync with the engine power levels and clutch,” said the man who, as a driver, won three times on the tour and who, as crew chief to Clay Millican, won the 2017 Thunder Valley Nationals, “but we believe we’re heading in the right direction.  

“Hopefully, within the next two or three races, you’ll see this team back on top. That is our goal; that is our plan; that is what we’re going to strive for,” he said.

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