Winston Finals Preview

The NHRA drag racers end their 1997 season at Pomona Raceway next weekend (November 6-9) at the 33rd Annual Winston Finals. All the Pro categories have been clinched except Top Fuel. Gary Scelzi has all but clinched that championship and only...

The NHRA drag racers end their 1997 season at Pomona Raceway next weekend (November 6-9) at the 33rd Annual Winston Finals. All the Pro categories have been clinched except Top Fuel. Gary Scelzi has all but clinched that championship and only needs to make one qualifying pass to wear the crown.

In addition to the Winston Finals, Pomona will host the Budweiser Classic for Top Fuel. Scelzi will make his first appearance in the Budweiser Classic. He is seeded in the second position.

Scelzi says that he intends to savor the championship but "we've got two more races to go (Winston Finals and Budweiser Classic) and we want to win them."

When asked to comment his season, the Top Fuel rookie driver responded "to sum up my season, all I can say is WOW!".

Scelzi and Team Winston have won five races this season. He was quickest and fastest at the recent Matco Nationals in Houston with a pass of 4.575 ET/ 318.69 MPH.

With talk of slowing down the fuel cars next season, many drivers will be out gunning for national records at the Winston Finals. If the cars are slowed next year, records from this year have a chance to stand for a long time.

John Force has already clinched this year's Funny Car championship, his seventh title. Force will be out looking for a new record at Pomona. In no uncertain terms, Force stated "I'm going after the record".

Force made a big change in his program this season in switching to the Ford Mustang funny cars for himself and teammate Tony Pedregon. Force has hinted that he may be interested in running three cars next season. Force has also tried to put together a program for a front engined top fuel car. "If I go to top fuel and get my butt kicked, at least I have an excuse...the motor was out front" Force said.

We'll have to wait until next season to see what John Force has up his sleeve. With one more race left on the schedule, all attention is focused on Pomona and the last chance in '97 to set a big number.

The first round of Pro Qualifying is Thursday November 6 at 1:30 p.m.

Final eliminations begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday November 9.

Ticket information is available at: (818) 914-4761

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Gary Scelzi