Madison: John Force Racing final summary

John Force drove his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Funny Car into the final round for the second consecutive week and, for the first time in two years, moved into the POWERade points lead. Although the 12-time NHRA Champion was beaten in the final...

John Force drove his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Funny Car into the final round for the second consecutive week and, for the first time in two years, moved into the POWERade points lead.

Although the 12-time NHRA Champion was beaten in the final round of the Sears Craftsman Nationals by Gary Scelzi, he left Gateway International Raceway three points ahead of Del Worsham at the midpoint of the race for the $400,000 championship.

Force was the only one of the three Team Castrol drivers to survive beyond the first round of an event marred by the death of Top Fuel dragster driver Darrell Russell, who died from injuries suffered in a second round crash. Russell, 35, had set a Gateway track record in qualifying at 4.510 seconds just two weeks after winning the Pontiac Excitement Nationals at Columbus, Ohio.

Number six qualifier Gary Densham, driver of the Team Castrol/Automobile Club of Southern California Ford, was upset in round one by Bob Gilbertson. Eric Medlen, driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford, was upset by Ron Capps after qualifying seventh.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, 55, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.765 seconds, 318.39 mph.
Race results: Beat Jim Head, Bob Gilbertson, Ron Capps; lost to Gary Scelzi.
Notable: Extended his record qualifying streak to 335 consecutive events and took over the points lead for the first time in two years.

Quotable: "We had a good weekend, but it just doesn't mean very much when you lose somebody that's family and Darrell Russell was family. He was a kid that I looked at hiring to drive one of my cars because he was the All-American person. I just feel really bad for the family." - JOHN FORCE.

ERIC MEDLEN, 30, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 7th at 4.806 seconds, 319.52 mph.
Race results: Lost to Ron Capps.
Notable: Slid one position in points, from fifth to sixth.

Quotable: "It blew the tires off at about 300 feet. I pedaled it once but then had to give it up." - ERIC MEDLEN.

GARY DENSHAM, 57, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 6th at 4.800 seconds, 320.81 mph.
Race results: Lost to Bob Gilbertson.
Notable: Fell from fourth to fifth in points a week after winning his first race of the year.

Quotable: "That's not the way we had it scripted. We'll just have to do better next time." - GARY DENSHAM.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Bob Gilbertson , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Eric Medlen