JOHN FORCE, 53, driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, is the 11-time and reigning NHRA Funny Car Champion. He is one of only three drivers in a major motor sports series (with NASCAR legends Richard Petty and David Pearson) to have won 100...
JOHN FORCE, 53, driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, is the 11-time and reigning NHRA Funny Car Champion. He is one of only three drivers in a major motor sports series (with NASCAR legends Richard Petty and David Pearson) to have won 100 career races. This is the 112th time John has started an NHRA national event from the No. 1 qualifying position; the 11th time he has done so at Pomona Raceway and the fourth time he has led the way at the Auto Club Finals where he also was No. 1 in 1994, 1995 and 2000. John has earned 51 of his career record 105 tour victories after qualifying No. 1 including his 1994 and 2000 wins in the Auto Club Finals; his 1997 and 2002 victories in the season-opening Winternationals.
PREVIOUSLY AT POMONA RACEWAY: John has won nine times at Pomona Raceway four times in the Finals (1988, 1994, 1996 and 2000); four times in the Winternationals (1991, 1993, 1997 and 2000); and once in the now defunct 50th Anniversary Nationals (2000). He is trying to become only the 10th driver in history to sweep the events at Pomona. He won the season-opening Winternationals last February.
QUALIFYING STREAK: John now has qualified for 300 consecutive NHRA national events which, with Pro Stock veteran Warren Johnson's qualifying failure this year at Sonoma, Calif., is the longest currently active streak in the series. Johnson qualified for 303 consecutive events, which remains the longest streak in history. The last time Force failed to make the 16-car starting lineup was Oct. 31, 1987 at this event.
2002 SEASON: John has won seven times this season, one more time than his teammate, Tony Pedregon, with whom he is locked in a battle for the POWERade Championship.
POWERADE CHAMPIONSHIP: John controls his own destiny in his bid to win an unprecedented 10th consecutive NHRA Funny Car Championship. If he reaches the final round, he will close out the bid by his teammate, Tony Pedregon, and win his record 12th championship overall. He leads by 38 points going into Sunday's eliminations. If he loses earlier in the event, he still can win depending upon what Pedregon does. Pedregon must advance two rounds further than John to take away the title.
DID YOU KNOW: John has won at least one NHRA national event for a Funny Car record 16 consecutive seasons....John has been named to the Auto Racing All-America Team selected by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association for a record 10 consecutive seasons and 11 times overall....John was named Driver of the Year for all of American motor racing in 1996 when he took his Castrol Funny Car to the final round 16 times in 19 races with 13 victories.
TONY PEDREGON, 37, of Chino Hills, Calif., driver of the Castrol SYNTEC0 Ford Mustang, is starting an NHRA national event from the No. 13 qualifying spot for the very first time as driver of a John Force Racing Funny Car and for only the second time in his career. His only other No. 13 start came at the 1995 NHRA Springnationals at Columbus, Ohio, in a Funny Car owned by Larry Minor. He lost in the first round of that event to Mark Oswald.
PREVIOUSLY AT POMONA RACEWAY: Tony has won twice and been runner-up on three other occasions at Pomona Raceway, just 15 minutes from his home in Chino Hills, Calif. He won the 1997 Auto Club Finals after losing the previous year to teammate John Force when his car would not start for the final. He also won the 1999 Winternationals, beating current teammate Gary Densham in a final round delayed by rain until Monday. He was runner-up at the Winternationals in 2000 and 2001.
VERSUS BRUCE SARVER: Tony is 6-1 against first round opponent Bruce Sarver to whom he lost only in the final round of the 2000 Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. He beat Sarver in the final round of the Northwest Nationals earlier this year at Seattle, Wash., and most recently beat him in the second round of the Keystone Nationals at Reading, Pa.
POWERADE POINTS: Tony is second in NHRA POWERade Funny Car points behind teammate John Force whom he trails by 38 points entering eliminations. He controls his own destiny in the race for the championship. If he wins the race, he wins the title. The only other way he could win would be if Force were to lose in round one. In that case, Pedregon could win simply by reaching the semifinals. Tony has finished second in points three times previously(1996, 1997 and 1999), each time behind Force.
DID YOU KNOW: Tony is seeking his seventh victory of the current campaign. If he gets it, it would tie him with Force. Until this season, he had not won more than three races in any one season....Tonyhas won more races the last seven years (19) than any Funny Car driver other than boss and teammate John Force and is the only Funny Car driver other than Force to have won at least two tour events in six consecutive seasons....Tony is the younger brother of Cruz Pedregon, the only driver other than Force to have won an NHRA series championship in the last 12 years....Tony has won at least one NHRA national event in each of his seven seasons with Team Castrol....in what little spare time he has, Tony designs and paints custom driving helmets including those worn by Force, brother Cruz Pedregon, reigning NHRA Top Fuel Champion Kenny Bernstein and former Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin Jr....Tony is trying to become only the second Latino to win an NHRA professional series championship. His brother Cruz won the Funny Car title in 1992.