With all the grace and confident composure of a veteran drag racer and enthusiasm for the sport like a true member of the Force family, Top Fuel rookie Brittany Force took the first round-loss of her career in stride.

The No. 15-qualified Force, driving the Castrol Edge Dragster, gave No. 2 Brandon Bernstein and his Protect the Harvest / MAVTV car a strong challenge. But thanks to a better reaction time at the starting line (.035 seconds to .096), his 3.785-second elapsed time at 324.44 mph beat her respectable 3.822, 323.43.

Just as she calmly reacted in her career-first qualifying session Thursday when a brake problem denied her a run, Force turned the experience into a lesson rather than dwelling on it as a disappointment.

"Even though we went out in the first round, I am still excited and so glad to be out here racing. We got the Castrol Edge dragster qualified. We came out in the first run going against Brandon, and we actually improved."

Her qualifying-best performance was 3.845 seconds at 293.22 mph.

She said she was especially happy about that, adding, "We also ran our fastest speed. It is still a good day."

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