Force Makes Atlanta Win No. 84

John Force moved to within one victory of tying Bob Glidden's record for career victories Sunday when he beat Ron Capps for the third time in as many final round meetings this season and repeated as champion of the Advance Auto Parts...

John Force moved to within one victory of tying Bob Glidden's record for career victories Sunday when he beat Ron Capps for the third time in as many final round meetings this season and repeated as champion of the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

En route to his 84th career victory, Force took out both of the WWF cars, beating Jim Epler in the second round and points leader Jerry Toliver in the semifinals. That performance enabled the nine-time Winston Champion to reduce Toliver's margin to only 30 points with 16 races remaining.

Force qualified his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang No. 3 in what was the quickest field in Funny Car drag racing history and then survived a first round scare against Bob Gilbertson before chopping down three of his four biggest rivals for the 2000 championship.

Force was clocked in 4.929 seconds in the final at an engine-killing 289.14 mph. Capps trailed at 5.023, 291.70 mph. With the victory, Force boosted his record against Capps to 17-4; 5-2 in final rounds.

Elsewhere, Force's teammate, Tony Pedregon, driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford, lost to Toliver in the second round when his car dropped cylinder two seconds into the run.

It was another disappointing weekend for rookie Rob Slavinski, the former sportsman standout who, for the second straight event, failed to make the show in his Castrol Super Clean Chevy S-10 and fell to 15th in season points.

As for Super Clean teammate Steve Johns, he dropped two positions in Pro Stock Truck points after being ousted in the second round by points lead Bob Panella Jr.

* * * *

WINNERS: Top Fuel, Gary Scelzi defeated Tony Schumacher; Funny Car, John Force defeated Ron Capps; Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin Jr. defeated Bruce Allen; Pro Stock Truck, Randy Daniels defeated Bob Panella Jr.; Pro Stock Motorcycle, Angelle Seeling defeated Dave Schultz (foul). NEXT EVENT: Matco Tools Spring Supernationals, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, May 19-21, 2000.

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 3rd at 4.965 seconds.
Race Results: Beat Bob Gilbertson, Jim Epler, Jerry Toliver and Ron Capps
Notable: Force reached the finals for the ninth straight year at Atlanta Dragway and for the 11th time in the Southern Nationals, both are personal records for one track and one event.

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 7th at 4.990 seconds.
Race Results: Beat Scott Weiss; lost to Jerry Toliver.
Notable: Tony salvaged top speed of the meet at 312.13 mph, extending to six the number of consecutive events in which one of the Castrol cars has been the fastest on the property.

<pre> FUNNY CAR POINTS (seven of 23 races complete) 1. Jerry Toliver 589 2. John Force 559 3. Ron Capps 528 4. Tony Pedregon 465 5. Jim Epler 389 6. Scotty Cannon 324 7. Dean Skuza 310 8. Whit Bazemore 300 9. Bob Gilbertson 297 10. Del Worsham 288

</pre> ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean Chevrolet S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: Did Not Qualify at 7.659 seconds.
Notable: Slavinski failed to make the show for the second straight race.

STEVE JOHNS, Castrol Super Clean Chevrolet S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: 8th at 7.569 seconds.
Race Results: Beat Scott Tidwell; lost to Bob Panella Jr.
Notable: Even though he won a round of racing, Johns slid from fourth to sixth in points.

<pre> PRO STOCK TRUCK POINTS (seven of 23 races complete)

1. Bob Panella                              586           
2. Randy Daniels                            575         
3. Greg Stanfield                           407         
4. John Coughlin                            318         
   Rick Jones                               318           
6. Steve Johns                              305         
7. Brian Self                               270         
8. John Lingenfelter                        256         
9. Jeff Gracia                              254         
10. Taylor Lastor                           215     

15. Rob Slavinski 146

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Bob Panella , Scott Weis , Bob Gilbertson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , John Lingenfelter , Scotty Cannon , Bob Glidden , Greg Stanfield , Bruce Allen , Brian Self , Jerry Toliver , Steve J