Pomona Force story (Funny Car)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 FORCE REGAINS CHAMPIONSHIP FORM HEADING INTO POMONA POMONA, Calif. -- Finally, sleep can come easily to John Force. Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., was ...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761

FORCE REGAINS CHAMPIONSHIP FORM HEADING INTO POMONA

POMONA, Calif. -- Finally, sleep can come easily to John Force.

Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., was winless in 12 races from late February to mid-August in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. His longest drought of this decade came on the heels of a historic 1996 season in which he crushed his competition by winning 13 of 19 races.

While crew chiefs Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly struggled to polish anew tuneup during the summer, Force's rivals won races and pulled to within striking distance in the NHRA Winston point standings. The unthinkable, Force losing the title, started to become a possibility.

But then Force lashed out by winning four of five races between mid-August and late September, repelling closest pursuer Whit Bazemore. He clinched his seventh career and fifth consecutive NHRA Winston title at the Revell Nationals in mid-October at Dallas.

"Getting our consistency back has been the biggest deal," Force said. "Being able to run the numbers and repeat them is what I wanted. At least for now, I can sleep at night."

Force will try to close his season with a victory at the 33rd annual, $1,466,600 Winston Finals, Nov. 6-9. It's the last race of the $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. Force won the season-opening Chief Auto Parts Winternationals at Pomona and has never trailed in the NHRA Winston point standings.

Elapsed time always has been Force's specialty, as he holds the NHRA national record of 4.889 seconds. But he also has added speed to his arsenal, as the new engine combination is producing tremendous horsepower. Force set the NHRA speed national record at three consecutive events this fall, topping out at 314.46 mph at the Revell Nationals in October at Dallas.

"The speed record is a bonus," Force said. "We always knew we had a fast car."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , John Force , Austin Coil