LONG BEACH, Calif. - John Force received his second Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy Jan. 15 at the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association awards ceremony at the Long Beach Renaissance Hotel. The Titus Memorial Trophy is given annually to honor the AARWBA driver of the year. Force, 50, from Yorba Linda, Calif., became the 30th winner of the prestigious trophy, which has been awarded to many of auto racing's greatest drivers since it was established in 1970, including A.J. Foyt (1975), Mario Andretti (1977, '78 and '84), Darrell Waltrip (1981), Dale Earnhardt (1987) and Jeff Gordon (1995 and '98), among others. Other drag racers to be honored with the coveted prize include Don Prudhomme (1976), Shirley Muldowney (1982) and Force in 1996.
Force, who was named to his seventh consecutive AARWBA Auto Racing All-America team, earned his second Titus Award in four years by scoring 11 victories and closing out the 1990s with his ninth NHRA Winston championship. He also earned a popular victory in the spectacular Winston Showdown, the first NHRA event to feature Top Fuel dragsters against Funny Cars in eliminations. In addition, he set national records for time (4.788 seconds) and speed (324.05 mph) in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. "It's a great honor to be recognized among all of these great drivers," said Force, who will try to pass Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden's all-time NHRA win record of 85 victories while chasing his 10th Winston championship during the 2000 season. "I get to come up here and accept this trophy, but really my crew makes it happen. They're the ones who put in the long hours on the car to make sure it runs the number. When you win something like this, it really lights your fire to go back out there and do it all over again."