FORCE SWEEPS HOUSTON, CLAIMS 81ST CAREER WIN JOHN FORCE, 50, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTXÃ‚Â® Ford Mustang, won his 11th race of the 1999 season and the 81st of his career by beating Jim Epler and the WWF Pontiac in the...
FORCE SWEEPS HOUSTON, CLAIMS 81ST CAREER WIN
JOHN FORCE, 50, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTXÂ® Ford Mustang, won his 11th race of the 1999 season and the 81st of his career by beating Jim Epler and the WWF Pontiac in the final round of the third annual Matco Tools SuperNationals at Houston Raceway Park. Force's triumph came in his 12th trip to the final round this season; the 126th final of his career. It was Force's 40th career win from the No. 1 qualifying position which he earned with a pair of 4.811 second efforts during the preliminary phase of the season's next-to-last event. It's John's first win in the fall race at Houston and the first time he's won the pole in the fall. John now has reached the final round at least one time at every event on the circuit and has qualified No. 1 at least once at every event except the Sears Craftsman Nationals at St. Louis. The win was Force's 76th in the â€˜90s, a decade he totally dominated.
CHASING THE RECORD: John now is two victories ahead of Pro Stock veteran Warren Johnson (79) in the race to beat Bob Glidden's record of 85 tour victories. At his present pace (6.1 wins per year for the last 13 years), John would eclipse Glidden's mark as early as next season.
AT HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK: Although it was his first victory in the Matco Tools SuperNationals, the victory was his sixth overall at HRP where he has won five times in the spring. With his Sunday victory, he becomes the first professional driver to win both Houston races in the same season. The current NHRA ET record of 4.788 second was set by John en route to victory in this year's spring race at HRP.
VERSUS JIM EPLER: John's final round victory was his ninth straight against Jim Epler and enabled him to improve his final round record against the WWF driver to 3-1. Overall, he is 14-3 versus Epler, the man who beat him to 300 miles per hour and who outraced him in the final round of the 1992 Winternationals at Pomona, Calif. Force subsequently beat Epler in the finals of the 1992 MAC Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla, and the 1998 Mopar Parts Nationals at Englishtown, N.J. Epler had won the only previous meeting at Houston -- in 1994.
DID YOU KNOW: With Whit Bazemore's first round loss at Houston, Tony Pedregon locked up second place in points for the third time in four years....John now has qualified for 229 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) ....this is the fourth time in the last seven years that John has won as many as 10 races in a season.....in addition to his 11 Winston Series victories this year, John won $200,000 as the Champion of the inaugural Winston Showdown at Bristol, Tenn., which paired Funny Cars with Top Fuel dragsters.....Team Castrol swept all four 1999 races contested in Texas, Force winning three and Pedregon one.