Pomona Qulaifying Report

FORCE, AMATO, YATES, JOHNS EARN QUALIFYING HONORS FOR AUTOZONE WINTERNATIONALS POMONA, Calif. - John Force scored his 91st No. 1 qualifying effort Saturday, and will lead competitors in his category into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the 40th...

FORCE, AMATO, YATES, JOHNS EARN QUALIFYING HONORS FOR AUTOZONE WINTERNATIONALS

POMONA, Calif. - John Force scored his 91st No. 1 qualifying effort Saturday, and will lead competitors in his category into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the 40th annual AutoZone Winternationals. Joe Amato, Jim Yates and Steve Johns also were qualifying leaders in their respective pro categories at the $1.7 million race, the first of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., covered the Pomona Raceway quarter-mile in 4.893 seconds at 311.20 mph in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to pace Funny Car. "I'm ready to just let go and have some fun," said Force, who'll face Frank Pedregon in tomorrow's opening round of eliminations. "Hole-shot Pedregon, that's just what I need," Force quipped. "I'm glad to see the Worsham's with a two-car team. Hopefully we started something back in '96 that's catching on. You've got to watch out for (Jerry) Toliver and (Jim) Epler, too, they're going to be tough. I'm looking forward to the competition." Amato, from Exeter, Pa., took top honors in Top Fuel, successfully rebounding after failing to qualify here one year ago. He powered his Dynomax dragster to a 4.645 at 320.05 to pace the 16-car order. "What a difference a year makes," said Amato, who plans to honor Peanuts comic Charles Schultz with a special tribute on his dragster during tomorrow's race. Amato has featured Snoopy as his racing mascot for many years. "Last year after we didn't make the race, I was worrying about doing more testing with my car and ordering more parts," Amato added. "This year I'm worrying about finding a consistent tune-up and getting it to go down the track four times Sunday." Drivers who received $500 fines for oiling the racing surface included Doug Kalitta in Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers Johnny Gray, Dale Creasy Jr. and Frank Pedregon. Yates, from Alexandria, Va., earned his 17th career No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Stock, covering the distance in 6.878 seconds at 199.58 in a Pontiac Firebird. It is the first top qualifying effort for Yates since the 1998 NorthStar Nationals in Brainerd, Minn. Johns, from Mountville, Pa., earned his first top qualifying effort in Pro Stock Truck, posting a 7.527 at a track record speed of 178.99 in a Chevy S-10. Johns earned his first career victory here last November, winning the NHRA Finals.

POMONA, Calif. -- First-round pairings for Sunday's eliminations for the 40th annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, the first of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. Top Fuel -- 1. Joe Amato, Exeter, Pa., 4.645 seconds, 320.05 mph vs. 16. David Grubnic, Ennis, Mont., 4.843, 304.94; 2. Gary Scelzi, Fresno, Calif., 4.654, 316.60 vs. 15. Tim Gibson, Irvine, Calif., 4.839, 291.13; 3. Larry Dixon, Indianapolis, 4.657, 311.99 vs. 14. Bobby Baldwin, Upland, Calif., 4.826, 294.24; 4. Tony Schumacher, Park Ridge, Ill., 4.658, 322.42 vs. 13. Don Lampus, Garland, Texas, 4.803, 307.23; 5. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., 4.664, 311.13 vs. 12. Robert Reehl, Whittier, Calif., 4.793, 308.07; 6. Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest, Calif., 4.694, 315.19 vs. 11. Bruce Litton, Indianapolis, 4.758, 311.05; 7. Melanie Troxel, Lilttleton, Colo., 4.712, 311.20 vs. 10. Cory McClenathan, Anaheim, Calif., 4.742, 307.09; 8. Doug Herbert, Cherryville, N.C., 4.712, 299.66 vs. 9. Scott Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., 4.723, 302.41.

Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Ford Mustang, 4.893, 311.20 vs. 16. Frank Pedregon, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Pontiac Firebird, 5.163, 293.66; 2. Jerry Toliver, Huntington Beach, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 4.916, 310.05 vs. 15. Bob Gilbertson, Gastonia, N.C., Camaro, 5.148, 299.86; 3. Dean Skuza, Brecksville, Ohio, Dodge Avenger, 4.927, 307.16 vs. 14. Kenny Sayers, Houston, Chevrolet Corvette, 5.140, 273.77; 4. Bruce Sarver, Bakersfield, Calif., Pontiac Trans Am, 4.963, 290.01 vs. 13. Al Hofmann, Umatilla, Fla., Firebird, 5.128, 288.58; 5. Jim Epler, Phoenix, Firebird, 4.986, 295.46 vs. 12. Del Worsham, Laguna Hills, Calif., Trans Am, 5.098, 295.21; 6. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., Camaro, 5.016, 296.24 vs. 11. Gary Densham, Bellflower, Calif., Firebird, 5.093, 300.86; 7. Whit Bazemore, Indianapolis, Camaro, 5.017, 305.06 vs. 10. Phil Burkart, Yorkville, N.Y., Firebird, 5.068, 305.63; 8. Tony Pedregon, Chino Hills, Calif., Mustang, 5.035, 271.84 vs. 9. Johnny Gray, Carlsbad, N.M., Firebird, 5.058, 301.20.

Pro Stock -- 1. Jim Yates, Alexandria, Va., Pontiac Firebird, 6.878, 199.58 vs. 16. George Marnell, Las Vegas, Firebird, 6.948, 197.88; 2. Jeg Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.883, 199.76 vs. 15. John Fairleigh, Scott City, Kan., Firebird, 6.946, 197.80; 3. Tom Martino, Farmingdale, N.J., Firebird, 6.886, 200.14 vs. 14. Mike Trumble, Pasadena, Texas, Firebird, 6.941, 198.93; 4. Troy Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Cutlass, 6.895, 199.05 vs. 13. Richie Stevens, New Orleans, Firebird, 6.938, 197.91; 5. Bruce Allen, Arlington, Texas, Firebird, 6.896, 199.23 vs. 12. Warren Johnson, Buford, Ga., Firebird, 6.938, 198.17; 6. Steve Schmidt, Indianapolis, Firebird, 6.906, 198.55 vs. 11. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Dodge Avenger, 6.931, 197.86; 7. Mark Pawuk, Akron, Ohio, Firebird, 6.907, 199.08 vs. 10. Greg Anderson, Jacksonville, N.C., Firebird, 6.929, 198.73; 8. Kurt Johnson, Lawrenceville, Ga., Chevrolet Camaro, 6.909, 199.05 vs. 9. Ron Krisher, Warren, Ohio, Firebird, 6.914, 199.40.

Pro Stock Truck -- 1. Steve Johns, Lancaster, Pa., Chevrolet S-10, 7.527, 178.99 vs. 16. Bart Price, Hayward, Calif., S-10, 7.606, 177.51; 2. Bob Panella Jr, Stockton, Calif., S-10, 7.535, 178.80 vs. 15. Brian Self, Houston, S-10, 7.602, 177.53; 3. John Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, S-10, 7.572, 177.63 vs. 14. Mike Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, S-10, 7.600, 177.00; 4. Greg Stanfield, Bossier City, La., S-10, 7.576, 178.21 vs. 13. Scott Tidwell, Pinson, Ala., S-10, 7.598, 176.88; 5. Brad Jeter, Greenville, S.C., S-10, 7.577, 178.38 vs. 12. Rick Jones, Galesburg, Ill., GMC Sonoma, 7.598, 176.79; 6. John Lingenfelter, Decatur, Ind., Sonoma, 7.577, 177.88 vs. 11. Taylor Lastor, Austin, Texas, S-10, 7.595, 177.44; 7. David Spitzer, Indianapolis, Sonoma, 7.587, 176.35 vs. 10. Jeff Gracia, Ontario, Calif., S-10, 7.594, 177.30; 8. Mark Whisnant, Stockbridge, Ga., S-10, 7.593, 177.98 vs. 9. Rob Slavinski, Wallingford, Conn., S-10, 7.594, 178.59.

-NHRA-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Bruce Litton , Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Troy Coughlin , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Jeff Gracia , Mike Coughlin , John Lingenfelter , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Cory McClenathan , Scott Kalitta , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Melanie Troxel , George Marnell , Allen Johnson , Johnny Gray , Don Lampus , Steve Schmidt , Tim Gibson , Mark Whisnant , Brian Self , Mike Trumble , Jerry Toliver , Robert Reehl , Steve J