Houston Funny Cars Come down to a show of Force

ENNIS, Texas -- Entering this week's (Oct. 22-24) 14th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Castrol SYNTEC , all that remains of the race for the last Winston Funny Car Championship of the millennium is a family feud between Castrol...

ENNIS, Texas -- Entering this week's (Oct. 22-24) 14th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Castrol SYNTEC , all that remains of the race for the last Winston Funny Car Championship of the millennium is a family feud between Castrol teammates John Force and Tony Pedregon. With only three of 22 races remaining, Force, driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, the world's fastest Funny Car (324.05 miles per hour), and Pedregon, driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Mustang, the world's quickest Funny Car (4.779 seconds), have closed out the rest of the competition. All that remains is the determination of which of the two Castrol Fords will display the No. 1 designation to start the 2000 season. Pedregon, 34, can extend the title race by winning one more round than his boss on the all-concrete Texas Motorplex quarter mile on which he won the Castrol Nationals last April. Force, 50, can clinch his ninth championship of the decade by repeating as champion of the O'Reilly Nationals or simply by following Pedregon's lead. If he wins as many rounds as his pro, he'll lock up his seventh straight series title on a track on which last year he became the first Funny Car driver to break the 4.80 second barrier. Force has a 295-point cushion coming in; Pedregon must reduce that by at least 20 points (one round win) to retain even a mathematical shot at his first title. "We're all one team," Force said, "so the big thing was to win the championship for Castrol, Ford, MAC Tools, All-Pro Bumper-to-Bumper, Visteon, Action and the rest of our sponsors. Now that we've done that, the pressure's off." gt

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force