Houston: John Force claims tenth championship

BAYTOWN, Texas - John Force raced to a record-tying 10th NHRA Winston Championship Sunday when his chief rivals for the Funny Car title, Ron Capps and Jerry Toliver, both were ousted by upstart Bob Gilbertson in the opening rounds of the ...

BAYTOWN, Texas - John Force raced to a record-tying 10th NHRA Winston Championship Sunday when his chief rivals for the Funny Car title, Ron Capps and Jerry Toliver, both were ousted by upstart Bob Gilbertson in the opening rounds of the fourth annual Matco Tools SuperNationals at Houston Raceway Park. Force mathematically clinched his eighth straight Funny Car championship when Gilbertson upset Capps in round two after beating Toliver to start the event. The title in hand, the eight-time Auto Racing All-America selection was beaten in an all-Castrol Funny Car final by teammate Tony Pedregon, who put his Castrol SYNTEC Ford in the winners' circle for the second time this season. The No. 2 qualifier at 4.868 seconds, a time he eclipsed twice during eliminations, Force beat Cristen Powell, Frank Pedregon and Gilbertson to earn a final round opposite his Castrol teammate for the third time this season, for the 14th time in history and for the third time at HRP. This time, though, it was all Pedregon. In earninghis 10th career victory, the 35-year-old Californian moved to within 71 points of third place Jerry Toliver with only two races remaining in the season. From the No. 8 starting spot, Pedregon beat Dean Skuza, Johnny Gray and Whit Bazemore to reach his 28th career final. WINNERS: Top Fuel, Cory McClenatham def. Bobby Baldwin; Funny Car, Tony Pedregon def. John Force; Pro Stock, Warren Johnson def. Brad Jeter; Pro Stock Motorcycle, Dave Schultz def. Geno Scali. NEXT EVENT(S): 15th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Castrol SYNTECâ„¢, Texas Motorplex, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 3-4; 36th annual AAA of Southern California Finals, Los Angeles County Fairplex, Pomona, Calif., Nov. 9-12.

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX® Ford Mustang Qualifying position: 2nd at 4.868 seconds, 311.77 mph. Race Results: Beat Cristen Powell, Frank Pedregon, Bob Gilbertson; lost to Tony Pedregon. Notable: Force tied Bob Glidden's record for career championships (10) and re-set his own record for consecutive titles (8) by going a round further than pursuers Ron Capps and Jerry Toliver. Quotable: "This is about teamwork. It's not just Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly and John Medlen and Tony Pedregon. It's not just Castrol and Ford. It's every guy on the crew, my crew and Tony's. That's what makes it special."

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Qualifying position: 8th at 4.948 seconds, 304.39 mph. Race Results: Beat Dean Skuza, Johnny Gray, Whit Bazemore and John Force. Notable: Pedregon won the 10th race of his career and his fourth final round over teammate John Force to move to within 71 points of third place Jerry Toliver in the 2000 point standings. Pedregon has finished second to Force three of the last four years. Quotable: "(Second place) is a long shot. We're just trying to finish strong and lay a foundation for next season. If we catch Toliver, that's fine but we're really just trying to peform at a very high level and build some consistency." - Tony Pedregon.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Brad Jeter , Warren Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Bob Glidden , Geno Scali , Johnny Gray , Jerry Toliver , Austin Coil , John Medlen , Cristen Powell