Las Vegas II: John Force eliminations summary

Force beats Pedregon for first Las Vegas win. Highlights: A resurgent John Force drove his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to victory in the second annual AC/Delco Las Vegas Nationals Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Force, who had...

Force beats Pedregon for first Las Vegas win.

Highlights: A resurgent John Force drove his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to victory in the second annual AC/Delco Las Vegas Nationals Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Force, who had been shut out in four previous appearances at the Las Vegas track, beat teammate Tony Pedregon in the all-Castrol Funny Car final to earn the 105th victory of his storied career.

The win, his seventh of the year, enabled Force to extend to 31 points his lead over Pedregon as the NHRA POWERade tour next moves to Pomona, Calif., for the season-ending Automobile Club of Southern California Finals.

Force, who had recently been upstaged by Pedregon, a six-time winner this season in the Castrol SYNTEC Mustang, responded with a convincing victory on a track on which he had a losing record (3-4) entering the race.

Force posted the quickest race day time in a second round win over Gary Densham (4.801), used his starting line skills to beat Tim Wilkerson in the semifinals (4.846 to a slightly quicker 4.844) and outran Pedregon, 4.820-4.896, in a final round race in which both cars suffered supercharger drive belt failures at or near the finish.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 4th at 4.793 seconds, 322.81 mph.
Race results: Beat Frank Pedregon, Gary Densham, Tim Wilkerson and Tony Pedregon.
Notable: Claimed his 105th tour victory, tying Winston Cup legend David Pearson for second place on the all-time motorsports victory list.JQuotable: "Once the championship was locked up for one of us and we kept it away from GM, we've just raced.`We just gave 'em some good ol' drag racing, just like we promised." -- JOHN FORCE

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.786 seconds, 322.73 mph.
Race results: Beat Bob Gilbertson, Del Worsham, Ron Capps; lost to John Force.
Notable: By racing in a personal record eighth 2002 final round, he kept alive his hopes of winning a first POWERade championship. Quotable: "It was a disappointing final for us.`This team has worked really hard and to be in the position we were in, where we could have taken the lead from John, it's not what we expected.`But we'll just go on to Pomona and try again."`-- TONY PEDREGON.

GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position and performance: 5th at 4.829 seconds, 310.13 mph.
Race results: Beat Dale Creasy Jr.; lost to John Force
Notable: Posted quickest time in round one (4.817) and remained within 31 points of Del Worsham in ongoing battle for third place. Quotable: "We were a little surprised that the car didn't repeat against Force, but even if we had run another 4.81, it might not have been enough.`John ran really well in a lane that was tough to negotiate." -- GARY DENSHAM.

ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol AccuVision Pontiac, Competition Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: 31st at 7.444, .506 under the B/AA class index.
Race results: Beat Vincent Deceglie, Don Stratton Jr.; lost to Jeff Gillette.

Next event: Auto Club of Southern California Finals, Nov. 7-10, Pomona, Calif.

-nhra-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Bob Gilbertson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Tim Wilkerson , Vincent Deceglie