FIRST ROUND NOTES JOHN FORCE, 50, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTXÃ‚Â® Ford Mustang, is the nine-time and reigning Winston Funny Car Champion. This is the fifth time this year and the 36th time in his career that John has ...
FIRST ROUND NOTES
JOHN FORCE, 50, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTXÂ® Ford Mustang, is the nine-time and reigning Winston Funny Car Champion. This is the fifth time this year and the 36th time in his career that John has qualified No. 3. Twelve (12) of John's 81 career victories have come from the No. 3 spot. He's won on each of the four previous occasions on which he has qualified third this year -- at Gainesville, Fla., Richmond, Va., Atlanta, Ga., and Topeka, Kan.
SEASON-TO-DATE: John has won 11 times this season. This is the fourth time in his career that he has won as many as 10 races in a season. John is the only driver other that Darrell Alderman to have earned double digit victories in a single season. Alderman did so only one time (1991).
VERSUS TIM WILKERSON: This is John's 11th career meeting with Tim Wilkerson who he will oppose in round one. John owns an 8-2 advantage although Wilkerson's only career victory came at John's expense earlier this year at Chicago, Ill. John has won each of three previous meetings in the first round.
FIRST ROUND SUCCESS: John has lost only 17 times in 194 starts in the 1990s. He's lost only three first round races this season and hasn't lost a first round race at Pomona since 1994 when Kenji Okazaki beat him at the AutoZone Winternationals. The last time he lost a first round race in the Finals was 1992.
PREVIOUSLY AT POMONA: Of John's 81 career victories, six have come at Pomona Raceway and the LA County Fairplex -- three each in the AutoZone Winternationals (1991, 1993 and 1997) and the AAA of Southern California World Finals (1988, 1994 and 1996). John has been a finalist in three of his last five World Finals appearances.
CHASING THE RECORD: John presently is within striking distance of two of drag racing's most imposing records: 10 series championships and 85 event victories, both set by retired Ford Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden.
WINSTON SHOWDOWN: Last July John won the inaugural Winston Showdown, an NHRA All-Star event which pitted Funny Cars against Top Fuel dragsters.
RECORDS: John is the official NHRA national record holder for both quarter mile time (4.788 seconds) and speed (324.05 miles per hour). He is the TRACK record holder (although not the event record holder) for time (4.831 seconds) and speed (316.15 mph).
DID YOU KNOW: John has qualified for 230 consecutive races, the longest active streak in Funny Car drag racing. The last time he failed to qualify for an NHRA national event was at this race in 1987.....John is the only drag racer to have won the Driver of the Year Award for all of American motor racing. He was honored in 1996.