Force regains championship form while Dixon and Anderson add to their POWERade points leads KENT, Wash. -- John Force moved back into points contention with his second Funny Car victory of the season Sunday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals...
Force regains championship form while Dixon and Anderson add to their POWERade points leads
KENT, Wash. -- John Force moved back into points contention with his second Funny Car victory of the season Sunday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Pacific Raceways.
Larry Dixon and Greg Anderson also were winners in their respective pro categories at the $1.8 million event, the 14th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Force, who will try to win the rare 'Western Swing' next weekend when the NHRA visits Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., claimed his 108th career victory by racing past Whit Bazemore in the Funny Car final. Force covered the quarter-mile distance in 5.036 at 300.80 in his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang, to pass Bazemore's Matco Tools Dodge Stratus, which recorded a 5.215 at 272.28.
"I'm not thinking championship," said Force, winner of the last 10 NHRA Funny Car titles. "I can still win the championship, but I feel my job is to take out the other contenders for Tony (Pedregon, points leader and Force teammate). I got so far behind early in the season that I am still in the role of the helper. Tony won't be down for long."
Dixon, who increased his points lead to 251 says Force, who moved to third overall and now trails leader Pedregon by 251, is returning to his championship winning form.
"You are watching the greatest comeback in drag racing history," Dixon said of Force's run of four straight finals and back-to-back victories. "I'm so glad I'm not in that category. It's going to be fun to watch."
Meanwhile, Dixon continued one of the greatest dominating performances in NHRA history, claiming his seventh victory of the season and 32nd of his career by clocking a 4.672 at 316.82 mph in the Miller Lite dragster to defeat Doug Kalitta, who ran 4.739 at 306.95 in the Mac Tools dragster.
"I finally broke my Seattle jinx," said Dixon, who had never won at Pacific Raceways. "Now I'm going to work on my Sonoma jinx."
Dixon also is in position to win the 'Western Swing,' which includes consecutive races in Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif. Only three drivers have won the 'Western Swing' in NHRA history (Cory McClenathan, 1997, Top Fuel; Force, 1994, Funny Car; and Joe Amato, 1991, Top Fuel).
Anderson scored his sixth victory of the season and 10th of his career by defeating Larry Morgan in a classic Pontiac vs. Dodge final round. Anderson powered his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to a run of 6.858 at 202.09 to hold off Morgan's charging Team Mopar Dodge Stratus, which clocked a 6.910 at 200.14.
"I thought I was starting to slump in Denver last weekend," said Anderson, who increased his points lead to 112 over Kurt Johnson with the victory. "I really had big hopes of sweeping the 'Western Swing' and got drilled by Warren on the tree in Denver and he taught me a lesson. I come back over to Seattle and I have to race him again. It would have been demoralizing if I would have lost again. We made the best run of the weekend against Warren and now for the next week he gets to think about it. This class is so competitive that anyone can win out here. Look at Larry Morgan, who has qualified for two races all year, and he had me beat in the final and I just got around him at the finish line. I would have never thought in my wildest dreams that I could have won six races this year, because look at last year when we had 13 different winners. I may not win another race, but that's just how it goes in this class."
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 16th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals, Aug. 1-3 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.