Force, the 23-year-old daughter of 15-time funny champion John Force, covered the 1,000-foot drag race in 4.143 seconds and 313.88 mph in the left lane at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.
But she couldn't catch Neff, who made a pass of 4.070 seconds at 315.49 mph.
Neff nonetheless was impressed with Courtney, who ran consistently well in her first Full Throttle Series event.
"She's done a fantastic job, I really want to congratulate her," Neff said.
Courtney had defeated Bob Tasca III in the first round to advance to the semifinal round, and despite her loss to Neff she was all smiles after climbing from her car.
So was her dad, who defeated Tim Wilkerson to advance to the semifinals immediately after Courtney's race.
John Force, 62, then got out of his car, walked over to Courtney, gave her and hug and a kiss and said, "Proud of you, baby."
Photo: Courtney Force in her funny car at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona on Friday. Credit: Marc Gewertz / Associated Press