Force Leads Skoal Showdown Qualifiers After $100,000 Prize CLERMONT, Ind. -- Perennial NHRA world champion John Force will start from the No. 1 position in the Skoal Showdown on Sept. 5 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, as he goes for his sixth ...
Force Leads Skoal Showdown Qualifiers After $100,000 Prize
CLERMONT, Ind. -- Perennial NHRA world champion John Force will start from the No. 1 position in the Skoal Showdown on Sept. 5 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, as he goes for his sixth victory in the special bonus event for qualified Funny Car drivers. The Skoal Showdown, a high-stakes, high-speed race featuring the eight quickest and most consistent Funny Car teams from the last season, is a lucrative race-within-a-race held during the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the world's most prestigious drag race.
The winner of the 23rd annual Skoal Showdown will earn a $100,000 bonus from U.S. Tobacco. Any driver who can win the Skoal Showdown and the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will earn a $50,000 'Double-Up' bonus from the NHRA.
A race day purse of $147,000 is available for the eight drivers competing in the Skoal Showdown. The Showdown runner-up will earn $15,000, while the two semifinalists will earn $6,000 each. The four first round finishers will earn $5,000 apiece.
Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., qualified No. 1 in his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang at five races and posted top five qualifying efforts at 18 of the 24 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events that comprise the 2004 Skoal Showdown.
Gary Densham will make his fifth appearance in the event, and starts second in the Auto Club Mustang. Whit Bazemore, runner-up in the '01 Showdown, starts third in his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T, while defending winner Tony Pedregon starts fourth in his Quaker State Chevy Monte Carlo. Tim Wilkerson is making his second career start in the bonus event in his Levi Ray & Shoup Monte Carlo from the sixth position. Gary Scelzi is making his first Showdown appearance in the Hemi Oakley Stratus in the fifth position, as is Phil Burkart, who starts eighth in the Checker Schuck's Kragen Monte Carlo. Del Worsham, making his ninth appearance, will start from the seventh spot in his Checker Schuck's Kragen Monte Carlo.
Drivers accumulated points for the Skoal Showdown at 24 NHRA national events between last year's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals up to the 2004 O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis, Tenn. A $4,000 bonus was awarded to the No. 1 qualifier at each of those races.
Last year Pedregon raced to victory over Force in the final round.
Skoal Showdown rounds are scheduled for 12:30, 2:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sept. 5. <pre> 2004 SKOAL SHOWDOWN FINAL STANDINGS 1. John Force Yorba Linda, Calif. Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang 3,575 2. Gary Densham Bellflower, Calif. Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang 3,555 3. Whit Bazemore Indianapolis Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T 3,495 4. Tony Pedregon Chino Hills, Calif. Quaker State Chevy Monte Carlo 3,350 5. Gary Scelzi Fresno, Calif. Hemi Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T 3,310 6. Tim Wilkerson Springfield, Ill. Levi Ray & Shoup Chevy Monte Carlo 3,265 7. Del Worsham Chino Hills, Calif. Checker Schuck's Kragen Chevy Monte Carlo 2,965 8. Phil Burkart Jr. Yorkville, N.Y. Checker Schuck's Kragen Chevy Monte Carlo 2,905
2004 SKOAL SHOWDOWN ROUND PAIRINGS
Force vs. Burkart Densham vs. Worsham Bazemore vs. Wilkerson Pedregon vs. Scelzi
Force-Burkart winner vs. Pedregon-Scelzi winner Densham-Worsham winner vs. Bazemore-Wilkerson winner
FINAL (4 p.m., Sept. 5)