Brittany Force ready for a reset at Pomona

Brittany Force grew up a 35 minute drive up the CA-57 N to Pomona Dragstrip.

“I’ve raced Super Comp there, A Fuel, Top Fuel, won two Top Fuel championships there,” said Force, age 37, on the eve of this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals. “There’s nothing like Pomona.”

Force comes off of a winless 2023 NHRA Top Fuel campaign in which she scored one runner-up finish and four semi-final appearances. The 2017 and 2022 NHRA To Fuel champion, it was the first time in three years that the Californian went without a win. Frustrated and disappointed with 2023, Force and the Monster Energy Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster team coined the expression 2024ORCE for the new race year.


“Yeah it is 2024ORCE this year,” said Force while making an appearance at longtime sponsor Monster Energy’s corporate headquarters in Corona, California. “Last year was a tough season for us. We weren’t performing where we should have been and that was after coming out of a championship year in 2022, so this year we’re going to get back on top and where John Force Racing should be. All of our teams – Austin Prock, my dad and my team – are looking to definitely turn things around and we want to win and we’re going to chase down another championship.”

“It’s tough, but when you get beat weekend after weekend, in those moments, it teaches you a lot about your team. Not once last season did we ever think, ‘Oh, this is out of our reach’ or ‘we can’t win.’ Obviously we’d get frustrated when we got beat again, but there was never an idea in our head where it was like we were going to give up. That speaks very loudly of this team and our character. It’s those tough weekends that prove how strong you are. It’s how you bounce back from those weekends.”

A fortnight back, Force and company yanked up the curtain on the 2024 season at the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout at Gainesville Raceway in Florida. Force was defeated by Antron Brown in the final round, and while disappointed to not win the Callout, she was enthused to just be back in her dragster.

“I was pumped just to be back in the seat at Gainesville,” said Force, who lost Sunday’s opening round of the NHRA Gatornationals. “It was a long off-season, and again, we didn’t have a great season last year. We want to come back swinging and we want to jump right into it and we want to chase down our first win of the season. So, very anxious just to get back out there and get back into the seat of my car and get into the routine of things and get this season going.”

To optimize performance and creativity, for the 2024 season, Force has the support and collective resources of two crew chiefs in David Grubnic and John Collins.

“It has been great with both of them,” said Force. “David Grubnic, I’ve been with him since 2019. And for this year, John Collins came on board. He came from Cruz Pedregon’s team, so we are excited to have him and I think they’re going to work together really well and I think we’re going to see it on the track very soon.”

Furthermore, Force has her father John Force making sure the JFR Top Fuel house is in order.

“My had has been very up-and-down,” she said. “You never know what you’re going to get with him. But he had a tough season as well in 2023, and that’s something we connected on and shared. It was a hard year for us, but we are ready to be back this year.”

During the off-season Force has spoken about wanting to optimize on race day.

“So our goals going into Pomona, or every event this season, whether we get three qualifying runs or four, we want to take advantage of every single one of those,” she said. “We need to go down the track every single run. We want to see consistency. We need to qualify in the top five to give us the best spot on race day and we need to go rounds and win some races if we want a shot at another championship.

“Pomona is a very important race for us. It’s Pomona, so we usually start our season here and end here, but they changed things a little. This is where we end our season. This is where champions are crowned. It’s a big one. It’s my home track. I’ve been coming here and watching my dad since I was a little kid. When I pull up to that racetrack, it is like, ‘I’m home.’ I love Pomona Raceway. We’ve done a lot at that racetrack and I’m excited to see what we’ll do this weekend.

“We need to qualify well. Starting there this weekend, we need to qualify well to get us set up for race day. We want to go some rounds. Like I said, we didn’t have a win last year. It was a tough season. But again it proved how strong we are. We kept pushing forward. We never gave up. We never lost sight of getting back to that winner’s circle. It just didn’t happen for us. This year, it’s game on. We’re going to go some rounds. We’re ready to get the ball rolling.”

Story originally appeared on Racer