Court­ney Force gets even with her fa­ther on the track

Post-Tribune - - Post-tribune sports - BY TONY BARANEK [email protected]­town­star.com

The daddy-daugh­ter score is even. Court­ney Force landed a knock­out of her 16-time cham­pion fa­ther John Force in Sun­day’s se­cond round of the Funny Car com­pe­ti­tion at the Route 66 Na­tion­als.

John Force got the ad­van­tage off the line and led at the 60-foot mark. He bob­bled shortly af­ter, how­ever, and was left be­hind.

Court­ney Force’s time of 4.151 sec­onds (307.30) landed her in the semi­fi­nals and marked the fifth time she had bested her dad in 10 tries.

It also ended a three-race los­ing streak, which in­cluded their last two meet­ings in 2013 and their semi­fi­nal showdown in March at the Amalie Mo­tor Oil Ga­tor­na­tion­als in Gainsville, Florida.

“I think it is eas­ier to think of him as my dada when we pull up next to him,” she said. “I don’t look at him as the 16-time cham­pion, but it def­i­nitely makes me feel good when I can take him out. That means our team is do­ing some­thing right.” No Schu-in this time

The big­gest first-round up­set oc­curred in the Top Fuel di­vi­sion when No. 15 Clay Mil­li­can de­feated de­fend­ing event cham­pion and Chicago na­tive Tony Schu­macher.

Schu­macher had been on a roll, hav­ing won the ti­tle the pre­vi­ous week at the New Eng­land Na­tion­als and putting up a 3.775-se­cond run (325.61) Satur­day night that was se­cond only to Doug Kalitta.

Schu­macher’s 3.868 on Sun­day came up just short as Mil­li­can recorded a per­sonal week­end-best 3.842.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing be­cause we were re­ally look­ing for­ward to the op­por­tu­nity we had today,” said Schu­macher, a four-time win­ner at Route 66. “The re­al­ity is this class is so tough from top to bot­tom that ev­ery round is a huge chal­lenge. Look­ing at the data, it wore a ton of clutch so I’m not sure ex­actly what hap­pened. See­ing some of the other cars smok­ing tires and not get­ting down the track proves that our run was one that would have got­ten us to the se­cond round in a lot of other sce­nar­ios but today it didn’t.” DeJo­ria’s week­end tough

First it was food poi­son­ing that put her on the shelf for the first night of qual­i­fy­ing.

Funny Car di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship con­tender Alexis DeJo­ria then saw her Sun­day end early via a first-round loss to John Force.

It was a bat­tle to the wire, but her 4.089-se­cond (308.71) fell just short to Force’s 4.089.

The fourth-quick­est run of the ses­sion wasn’t enough, but it did please DeJo­ria from one as­pect.

“This week­end was a per­fect ex­am­ple of how tough our team is and how strong of a car we have,“DeJo­ria said. “Go­ing into race day, we’d only had one full pass down the race track. The first two qual­i­fy­ing ses­sions we missed, but it didn’t mat­ter be­cause we went strong on the se­cond day and made it in.

“I ex­pected no less from my team be­cause they al­ways give me the very best car when I go down that race track. (Sun­day) was no dif­fer­ent. We made an ex­cel­lent run — it was one of the best runs of the round ac­tu­ally — but un­for­tu­nately we lost to Force by just a lit­tle bit.” Close call

Su­per Comp com­peti­tor Greg Kam­plain went for a wild ride in his 2005 Spitzer when it veered to the right, flipped over and slid on its side to­ward the left-side wall. Bounc­ing off the wall, it ca­reened back to the right and came to a halt on the other side of the track.

Kam­plain was un­in­jured.

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