Englishtown Preview

BATTLE OF SPEED RETURNS TO MOPAR PARTS NATIONALS ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- Last year, it was a battle of speed. Joe Amato's top speed vs. John Force's top speed. The stakes were high. Bragging rights were on the line at the legendary New Jersey ...

BATTLE OF SPEED RETURNS TO MOPAR PARTS NATIONALS ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- Last year, it was a battle of speed. Joe Amato's top speed vs. John Force's top speed. The stakes were high. Bragging rights were on the line at the legendary New Jersey quartermile. Force took the initial lead in the cross-category mile per hour competition, driving his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a 323.35 mph effort, stealing away the title of drag racing speed king from the Top Fuel family for the first time in NHRA history. Amato was quick to retaliate in his Tenneco Automotive dragster, however, responding with a 323.50 mph effort of his own to reclaim the crown. Force would have the last hurrah, however, as he rumbled to a 323.89 mph effort, solidifying his position as driver of the fastest race vehicle on the planet. Since that time Top Fuel drivers Gary Scelzi (326.44 mph) and Tony Schumacher (330.23 mph) have increased the stakes, while Force remains within striking distance in the nitro speed wars, recently clocking a 324.05 mph effort at Gainesville, Fla. Force and Amato will take center stage once again in their quest for speed at the 30th annual Mopar Parts Nationals, May 20-23 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The $1.8 million race is the eighth of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Amato, Force, Jeg Coughlin, Angelle Seeling and Larry Kopp are the defending event winners in their respective professional categories. Amato, from Exeter, Pa., capped a successful record-breaking weekend by defeating Cory McClenathan in a close final round last season. Winston points leader Mike Dunn heads a strong list of candidates including Larry Dixon, Kenny Bernstein, Doug Herbert, and defending Winston champion Gary Scelzi. Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., outran Jim Epler in the Funny Car final round one year ago. Force has dominated the early season in '99, winning five events in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Tony Pedregon, Whit Bazemore, Cruz Pedregon and Ron Capps are also threats to win. Columbus, Ohio's Coughlin earned the Pro Stock victory here last year, defeating Mike Edwards. Warren and Kurt Johnson, Troy Coughlin and Jim Yates are among Pro Stock drivers looking for a victory at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Those drivers will also be among favorites to win the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel, a year-long qualifying bonus program which features the quickest drivers in the category battling for a winner's share of $50,000 in the $142,000 series. Kurt Johnson is the defending winner of the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel. Seeling, from New Orleans, scored the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory in '98 with a dominating performance over Greg Underdahl. Seeling has started strong this year, winning the bike season-opening Mac Tools Gatornationals in impressive fashion. Defending Winston champion Matt Hines, John Smith and Antron Brown are among the top bike contenders. Baltimore's Kopp defeated John Lingenfelter in a classic all Chevrolet S-10 Pro Stock Truck battle last year. Winston points leader Mark Osborne, national record holder Brad Jeter, two-time winner Randy Daniels and Team Mopar's Todd Patterson are among the leaders in Pro Stock Truck.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Kurt Johnson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Todd Patterson , Larry Kopp , John Lingenfelter , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Greg Underdahl , Mike Edwards