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Courtney Force wins first funny car race, advances in NHRA Winternationals

February 12, 2012 |  1:02 pm

Courtney Force won her first drag race in the NHRA's premier funny car series Sunday to advance in final eliminations at the Winternationals in Pomona.

Courtney1Force, the 23-year-old daughter of funny car legend John Force and one of the most anticipated rookies in the National Hot Rod Assn. in years, defeated Bob Tasca III at Auto Club Raceway with a run of 4.204 seconds at 309.27 mph.

Tasca jumped in front after the green light flashed but then his 7,000-horsepower funny car lost traction and Courtney Force pulled ahead on the 1,000-foot drag strip to earn the win.

"I was nervous going up there" to the starting line, she said. "I was just holding on the whole time hoping [the car] would go and it did.

Courtney Force's goal this weekend simply was to qualify for the final eliminations so "I didn’t picture [going] this far into Sunday," she said. "This weekend is going way better than I expected."

Her 62-year-old father, a record 15-time funny car champion, then narrowly defeated another rookie female driver in the series, Alexis DeJoria, in the first round despite DeJoria's strong run of 4.141 seconds at 310.27 mph.

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--Jim Peltz

Photo: NHRA funny car drag racer Courtney Force. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times

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