Force Among Driver Of Year Nominees

Force again a finalist for Driver of the Year award 1996 winner nominated along with Top Fuel driver Dixon Sarasota, Fla. -- As A Result Of A Spectacular 2002 Season, One In Which He Won Eight Races For The Sixth Time In His Legendary Career, ...

Force again a finalist for Driver of the Year award 1996 winner nominated along with Top Fuel driver Dixon

Sarasota, Fla. -- As A Result Of A Spectacular 2002 Season, One In Which He Won Eight Races For The Sixth Time In His Legendary Career, John Force Is A Finalist This Year For The Driver Of The Year Award That Recognizes The Top Achievers In All Forms Of American Motor Racing.

Barry Schmoyer, President Of The Sarasota-Based Driver Of The Year Foundation, Said That For The First Time Two Drag Racers Are Among The Finalists.

Force, The Only Drag Racer Ever To Have Won The Honor (1996), Is Among A List Of Nominees That Also Includes Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon, Winston Cup Driver Tony Stewart And Open Wheel Drivers Cristiano Da Matta And Sam Hornish Jr.

"It'S Always An Honor To Be Considered One Of The Top Drivers," Force Said.`"When I Won In 1996, I Didn'T Really Know What It Was All About But I Knew It Was Something (Dale) Earnhardt And Richard Petty And Mario Andretti Had Won Before Me, So It Definitely Was A Big Deal.

"Bottom Line, It'S One Of Those Awards That Just To Be In The Running Is Something I'M Proud Of.`I Think It Says A Lot About How Far Our Sport Has Come And Where It'S Going, Especially To Have Two Drag Racers Nominated."

Force, The Sport'S Biggest Winner, Not Only Claimed An Unprecedented 10th Consecutive Funny Car Championship This Season, He Also Became The First Drag Racer To Win 100 Tour Events And He Moved Up To Second Place On The All-Time Motorsports Victory List Behind Only Richard Petty.

The 53-Year-Old Veteran Will Start The Season Having Qualified For 300 Consecutive Nhra National Events.`The Record Is 303.

The Only Driver To Have Won 800 Rounds Of Racing, Force This Year Won Eight Races For The Sixth Time In His Career.`No Other Funny Car Driver Ever Has Won Eight Events In A Season.

The Driver Of The Year Is Selected By A Panel Of Motorsports Journalists That Includes Chris Economaki Of National Speed Sport News; Shav Glick Of The Los Angeles Times; Steve Ballard Of The Indianapolis Star; Mike Harris Of Associated Press; Mark Armijo Of The Arizona Republic; John Sturbin Of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Chris Jenkins Of Usa Today And Gary Long Of The Miami Herald.

Fans Also Are Invited To Vote, On-Line, Through Espn.Com.J

-jfr-

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