FINAL ROUND NOTES JOHN FORCE, 50, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTXÂ® Ford Mustang, won his 80th race and, in the process, clinched his ninth Winston Funny Car Championship, his seventh in succession. One of only two drivers to...
FINAL ROUND NOTES
JOHN FORCE, 50, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTX® Ford Mustang, won his 80th race and, in the process, clinched his ninth Winston Funny Car Championship, his seventh in succession. One of only two drivers to have won as many as 10 NHRA national events in a single season, Force reached that benchmark for the fourth time in his career by beating Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final. Of John's career wins, 39 now have come from the No. 1 starting spot. He also won this year as the No. 1 qualifier at Phoenix, Houston and Brainerd, Minn. John now is only five victories shy of tying Bob Glidden's record for career victories.
In addition to his nine Winston Series victories this year, John also won the $200,000 Winston Showdown at Bristol, Tenn., an event which pitted Funny Cars against Top Fuel dragsters in a modified heads-up format.
John is the official NHRA national record holder for time (4.788 seconds) and speed (324.05 miles per hour) as well as the Texas Motorplex record holder at 4.787 seconds and 322.81 miles per hour, the latter a record he shares with teammate Tony Pedregon. Although he broke no records, he did have the best numbers of the weekend (4.824 seconds, 321.54 mph).
John now is 3-1 against Tommy Johnson Jr. and 2-0 in final round meetings. He also beat Johnson Jr. to win the Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Topeka, Kansas.
This was John's eighth final round appearance at Texas Motorplex, his sixth in the O'Reilly Nationals which he also won in 1993 and 1998. Last year, he became the first driver in Funny Car history to break the 4.80 second barrier when he ran 4.787 at the Motorplex. John now has qualified for 227 consecutive races. The last time he failed to qualify for an NHRA national event was Nov. 1, 1987 at the Winston Finals at Pomona, Calif.....John is the only drag racer to have won the Driver of the Year Award for all of American motor racing (1996).