LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- John Force, who last season drove his Castrol GTXÂ® Ford to the NHRA Winston Funny Car Championship for the seventh straight year and for the ninth time overall, is one of three finalists for the ESPN Espy Award as 1999 Auto...
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- John Force, who last season drove his Castrol GTX® Ford to the NHRA Winston Funny Car Championship for the seventh straight year and for the ninth time overall, is one of three finalists for the ESPN Espy Award as 1999 Auto Racer of the Year.
The first drag racer ever included in ESPN's prestigious all-sports awards show, Force will join Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, and Juan Montoya, the 1999 CART Champion, for presentation ceremonies at the MGM Grand Hotel beginning at 4:30 p.m. (California time) on Monday, Feb. 14.
Force, the NHRA national record holder for quarter mile time (4.787 seconds) and speed (324.05 miles per hour), won 11 of the 22 races comprising the '99 series plus the inaugural Winston Showdown, an all-star race that for the first time matched Funny Cars with Top Fuel dragsters.
"For drag racing to be included for the first time says to me that we're headed in the right direction," Force said. "I know Jarrett from Ford. I don't know the other guy (Montoya), but if he won CART, that's all you need to know. I'm honored but I know I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Austin Coil and the rest of my crew."
Force is accustomed to achieving "firsts" for his sport. In 1996, he was the first drag racer to be named "Driver of the Year" for all of American motor racing. This year, he became the first driver in any racing discipline to make the Auto Racing All-America Team selected by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association seven straight times.
Winner of 81 NHRA national events, the 50-year-old Californian this year is focused on the all-time drag racing record of 85 victories held by retired Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden of Whiteland, Ind. He also could tie Glidden's career record by winning his tenth series championship.