Highlights: John Force won the 109th race of his illustrious career and Tony Pedregon added another 20 points to his Funny Car lead to highlight the 18th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Fall Nationals at Billy Meyer's Texas Motorplex. Force, the ...
John Force won the 109th race of his illustrious career and Tony Pedregon added another 20 points to his Funny Car lead to highlight the 18th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Fall Nationals at Billy Meyer's Texas Motorplex.
Force, the 12-time series champion, beat the entire CSK team to reach the finals, then dispatched Dean Skuza to win for the sixth time on his favorite racetrack.
The 11-time Auto Racing All-America selection beat Cory Lee and Phil Burkart in the first two rounds before using his starting line skills to turn back Del Worsham in the semifinals. A .020 of a second reaction time made Force's slightly slower 4.888 a winner over Worsham's 4.867.
In the final, the champ marched away from Skuza with a time of 4.889 seconds at 317.68 mph. The Pontiac driver trailed at 5.013, 274.30 mph.
Skuza had spoiled a possible all-Castrol final round by upsetting Pedregon in the semifinals when the supercharger failed on the Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang.
Winner this year of four more races than anyone else in the class, Pedregon benefitted from challenge Whit Bazemore's second round loss, extending his lead to 114 points with two races remaining.
TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car Qualifying position and performance: No. 1 at 4.814 seconds, 322.11 mph.
Race results: Beat Cory Lee, Phil Burkart, Del Worsham and Dean Skuza.
Notable: Extended qualifying streak to 321 consecutive events, earned his 117th Budweiser No. 1 qualifier award and won his 109th event.
Quotable: "It's good to win again. I didn't know it had been that long (since July). We had a good car today, consistent. I really was concerned about Worsham after those .81s (4.81 second times in both the first and second rounds). Fortunately, I was able to do my job." -- John Force.
TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car Qualifying position and performance: No. 6 at 4.894 seconds, 300.00 mph.
Race results: Beat Ron Capps, Gary Densham; lost to Dean Skuza.
Notable: Extended points lead over second place Whit Bazemore to 114 points.
Quotable: "I always try to look on the brighter side of things and we were able to extend our lead by one round. We just need to find out why it blew up (against Skuza in the semifinals). We were on our best run of the weekend." -- TONY PEDREGON.
GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car: Qualifying position and performance: No. 3 at 4.834 seconds, 323.39 mph.
Race results: Beat Bob Gilbertson; lost to Tony Pedregon.
Notable: Held solidly to fourth place in points with two races remaining.
Quotable: "If we get the bugs out of our car, it's gonna run like Jack the Bear." -- GARY DENSHAM, in response to a second round problem in which a cricket was sucked through a fuel line resulting in an engine failure.
Next events: AC/Delco Las Vegas Nationals, Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 26; Automobile Club of Southern California World Finals, Pomona, Calif., Nov. 9.