It is the eighth time a John Force Racing driver has been nominated for the award and a first time nomination for Brittany Force. Her father John Force has been nominated for the ESPY Best Driver Award six times and sister Ashley Force Hood was a nominee in 2008.
Brittany Force, 31, driver of the Advance Auto Parts Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster, finished the 2017 season in dramatic fashion by clinching the championship on the last day of the season after racing to four final rounds with three wins during the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. She also won the season ending Auto Club Finals after qualifying No. 1 and holding off veteran Top Fuel racer Steve Torrence for the championship crown.
“It's an honor to be nominated as Best Driver with my Monster Energy team after our 2017 NHRA Championship season,” Force said. “It's incredible to just be recognized alongside some of motorsports greatest drivers like my dad, Josef Newgarden, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. It would be amazing to be the first female and NHRA driver to win this award, but I'm proud just to be nominated. It really goes to show what this Monster Energy team accomplished last year.”
Joining Force on the 2018 ESPY Best Driver ballot are NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr., IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden, who is a teammate of sorts of Force's with Big Machine Records, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.
The ESPY Awards, acronym for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly, were created by ESPN in 1993. Sports fans can vote for Force and their other sports heroes in variety of categories via an online poll at: ESPN.com/ESPYS. Voting is underway and concludes at 9 p.m. (ET) on July 17. Fans can vote once per day.
Past ESPY Best Driver winners include Hamilton, last year's winner, three-time winner Tony Stewart, four-time winner Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Jimmy Vasser, Al Unser Jr., Nigel Mansell, and Michael Schumacher.
In addition to Force, her sister, who was nominated in 2008, and her father, nominated in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2011 and 2014, other NHRA drivers who have been nominated for ESPY awards include Ron Capps (2016), Erica Enders Stevens (2015), Del Worsham (2012), Tony Schumacher (2007-2010), Melanie Troxel (2006), Tony Pedregon (2004) and Greg Anderson (2005 and 2011). No NHRA driver has ever won an ESPY Award.
The 2018 ESPY winners will be announced on July 18 at 8/7 p.m. central on ABC or watch broadcast live on Watch ESPN.
Brittany Force career highlights
* 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champion in Top Fuel
* Has raced to 8 Top Fuel victories
* Has appeared in 18 Top Fuel final rounds
* Has claimed nine No. 1 qualifying awards
* Only second woman to win Top Fuel world championship and first in 35 years to win Top Fuel championship
* Named Titus Award winner by motorsports media in 2017
Past ESPY Best Driver Award winners
2017- Lewis Hamilton, Formula One
2016 - Kyle Busch, NASCAR
2015 - Kevin Harvick, NASCAR
2014 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, IndyCar
2013 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, IndyCar
2012 - Tony Stewart, NASCAR
2011 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
2010 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
2009 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
2008 - Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
2007 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR
2006 - Tony Stewart, NASCAR
2005 - Michael Schumacher, F1
2004 - Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR
2003 - Tony Stewart, NASCAR
2002 - Michael Schumacher, F1
2001 - Bobby Labonte, NASCAR
2000 - Dale Jarrett, NASCAR
1999 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR
1998 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR
1997 - Jimmy Vasser, IRL
1996 - Jeff Gordon, NASCAR
1995 - Al Unser Jr., IRL
1994 - Nigel Mansell, F1
1993 - Nigel Mansell, F1