FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 FORCE AIMS FOR ANOTHER SHOOTOUT TITLE FROM FAMILIAR TOP SPOT CLERMONT, Ind. -- John Force will try to win his record fifth Big Bud Shootout from a familiar spot, as he...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761
FORCE AIMS FOR ANOTHER SHOOTOUT TITLE FROM FAMILIAR TOP SPOT CLERMONT, Ind. -- John Force will try to win his record fifth Big Bud Shootout from a familiar spot, as he is the top seed for the sixth consecutive year for the special event Aug. 31 during the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The winner of the 16th annual Big Bud Shootout will earn $100,000, the biggest one-day purse in NHRA Winston Drag Racing. Any driver who can win the Shootout and the U.S. Nationals on Sept. 1 will earn a $50,000 bonus from NHRA. Force hit the jackpot by sweeping both events last year, a feat he also accomplished in 1993. A purse of $147,000 is available for the eight drivers competing in the Shootout. The Shootout runner-up will earn $15,000, while the two semifinalists will earn $6,000 each. The four first-round finishers will earn $5,000 apiece. Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., qualified No. 1 at six of 19 NHRA national events since mid-September 1996 in his Castrol GTX entries. He will try to become just the second driver to win consecutive Shootout titles, as Al Hofmann won in 1994-95. Force won the Shootout in 1987, 1990, 1993 and 1996. The Big Bud Shootout showcases the eight best Funny Car qualifiers since last year's Shootout. Drivers accumulated points at the 19 NHRA national events between last year's U.S. Nationals and this year's event, and a $4,000 bonus was awarded to the No. 1 qualifier at each race. A potential semifinal showdown between the Pedregon brothers looms during the Shootout. Tony Pedregon, Force's teammate, is the No. 2 seed in the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang in just his second Shootout appearance. His older brother, Cruz Pedregon, is No. 3 in the McDonald's Pontiac Firebird owned by former NFL coach Joe Gibbs. Cruz Pedregon was runner-up last year. Big Bud Shootout rounds are scheduled for noon., 2 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. Aug. 31. 1997 BIG BUD SHOOTOUT FINAL STANDINGS 1. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol GTX Ford Mustang 2,965 2. Tony Pedregon, Gardena, Calif., Castrol GTX Ford Mustang 2,810 3. Cruz Pedregon, Camarillo, Calif., McDonald's Pontiac Firebird 2,585 4. Chuck Etchells, Putnam, Conn., Kendall Dodge Avenger 2,455 5. Kenji Okazaki, Tokyo, Mooneyes Dodge Avenger 2,345 6. Dean Skuza, Brecksville, Ohio, Matco Tools Dodge Avenger 2,230 7. Gary Densham, Bellflower, Calif., NEC Dodge Avenger 2,200 8. Del Worsham, Orange, Calif., Checker/Schuck's/Kragen Dodge Avenger 2,050 1997 BIG BUD SHOOTOUT ROUND PAIRINGS FIRST ROUND (noon, Aug. 31): Force vs. Worsham; T. Pedregon vs. Densham; C. Pedregon vs. Skuza; Etchells vs. Okazaki. SEMIFINALS (2 p.m., Aug. 31): Force-Worsham winner vs. Etchells-Okazaki winner; T. Pedregon-Densham winner vs. C. Pedregon-Skuza winner. FINAL (4:45 p.m., Aug. 31) -30-