Sears Craftsman Nationals post-race notes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE POST-RACE NOTES: SEARS CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS, SEPT. 25-28, TOPEKA, KAN. TOP FUEL *Cory McClenathan failed to become the first NHRA Top Fuel driver to appear in seven consecutive final rounds when he lost in the first ...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

POST-RACE NOTES: SEARS CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS, SEPT. 25-28, TOPEKA, KAN.

TOP FUEL

*Cory McClenathan failed to become the first NHRA Top Fuel driver to appear in seven consecutive final rounds when he lost in the first round in the McDonald's Dragster owned by former NFL coach Joe Gibbs. Scott Kalitta also appeared in six consecutive finals in 1994.

*Dale Armstrong was named as crew chief of the Miller Lite Dragster owned by Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and driven by Larry Dixon, starting in 1998. Armstrong will replace Wes Cerny. Armstrong left the Budweiser King team of defending NHRA Winston Top Fuel champion Kenny Bernstein on Sept. 8 after nearly 16 years as crew chief.

FUNNY CAR

*John Force set an NHRA speed national record of 313.15 mph in the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Force broke the record of 313.04 set by Whit Bazemore at the Slick 50 Nationals presented by Western Auto in March 1997 at Houston.

*Cruz Pedregon will drive the McDonald's Pontiac Firebird Oct. 2-5 at the Pennzoil Nationals presented by AutoZone in Memphis, Tenn., despite undergoing an emergency appendectomy Sept. 29 at Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka, Kan. Pedregon failed to qualify for this event, only the second time during his six-year career that he didn't qualify.

PRO STOCK

*Warren Johnson and his son, Kurt Johnson, both lost in the first round at the same event for the first time since the Mac Tools Gatornationals in March 1996 at Gainesville, Fla. Either Warren or Kurt had won a round at 33 consecutive NHRA national events since March 1996.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE

*Matt Hines clinched his first NHRA Winston championship on the Vance & Hines Suzuki GSXR.

*Matt Hines, 25, is the second-youngest Winston pro champion in NHRA history. Frank Hawley also was 25 when he won the NHRA Winston Funny Car championship in 1982. Hawley was born on July 11; Hines on May 21.

*A Harley-Davidson qualified in Pro Stock Motorcycle for the first time in NHRA history, as Rob Korn qualified 16th on the Korn Racing Harley.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Frank Hawley