Richmond John Force Repeats as Champion!

John Force repeated as Funny Car Champion of the Nationals Sunday when he beat Ron Capps in the final round at Virginia Motorsports Park. The nine-time Winston Champion won for the fourth time in six appearances at VMP and for the...

John Force repeated as Funny Car Champion of the Nationals Sunday when he beat Ron Capps in the final round at Virginia Motorsports Park. The nine-time Winston Champion won for the fourth time in six appearances at VMP and for the second time during the 2000 season.

En route to his 83rd career victory, Force recorded the quickest elapsed time of the season (4.826 seconds) and vaulted from fourth to second place in the Winston driver standings, just 69 points off the lead.

Force qualified his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang No. 1 for the fourth time in six races this year by setting both ends of the track record. The win moves Force to within two victories of tying Bob Glidden for the career record.

Despite his performance edge, Force's Ford lost traction in the final round, as did Capps' Chevrolet. Force was able to recover a bit more quickly, just in time to get to the finish ahead of Capps.

Elsewhere, Force's teammate, Tony Pedregon, driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford, had a mechanical problem in the first round and was beaten by his brother Frank. The Castrol Super Clean Chevy S-10 trucks driven by Steve Johns and Rob Slavinski endured a frustrating weekend.

Slavinski improved his career best time by .020 of a second but still managed to miss the starting lineup (by .002). Johns, on the other hand, became the third driver to break the 7.50 second barrier when he qualified fourth at a career best 7.492 but succumbed to tire shake in the second round.

The Castrol Funny Cars and Pro Stock Trucks this week move to Atlanta Dragway for the 20th annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals which begin with two pro qualifying sessions on Friday.

* * * *

WINNERS: Top Fuel, Larry Dixon defeated John Force; Funny Car, John Force defeated Ron Capps; Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin Jr. defeated Jim Yates; Pro Stock Truck, Randy Daniels beat Mike Coughlin.

NEXT EVENT: Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals, Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Ga., May 5-7, 2000.

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 1st at 4.826 seconds.
Race Results: Beat Bob Gilbertson, Al Hofmann, Scotty Cannon and Ron Capps

Notable: Force now has won four times in six trips to Virginia Motorsports Park, improving his racing record to 20-2. He set track records for time (4.826 seconds) and speed (317.72 mph) in qualifying. The 4.826 effort, which qualified him first for the 94th time in his career, is the quickest of the season.

Quotable: "It (the final) wasn't pretty, but I'll take it. It shows you what luck can do. Bernie (Fedderly) put me way outside in the right lane. We changed lanes from the round before and that was good because the extra tire width was just what I needed to gather 'er back up after the rear end came around." -- John Force

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 7th at 4.990 seconds.
Race Results: Lost to Frank Pedregon.

Notable: Tony lost to older brother Frank for the second time in as many career meetings.

Quotable: "Our car makes power now. We've just got to get the clutch dialed-in and I think, no panic, we'll be just fine. We'll recover from it I think the fact that John came out victorious at this race, we learned even more about running in the heat. So things are looking up. I'm very positive about Atlanta. Of course that's were I got my first win, which is even better. That's like going back home. -- Tony Pedregon.

<pre> FUNNY CAR POINTS (six of 23 races complete) 1. Jerry Toliver 512 2. John Force 443 3. Ron Capps 436 4. Tony Pedregon 412 5. Jim Epler 335 6. Scotty Cannon 293 7. Bob Gilbertson 264 8. Del Worsham 256 8. Dean Skuza 252 10. Whit Bazemore 245

</pre> ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean Chevrolet S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: Did Not Qualify at 7.542 seconds.

Notable: Recorded quickest elapsed time of his brief career but missed the quickest field in Pro Stock Truck history by a scant .002 of a second.

STEVE JOHNS, Castrol Super Clean Chevrolet S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: 4th at 7.492 seconds.
Race Results: Beat Brian Self; lost to Mike Coughlin.

Notable: In qualifying, became only third Pro Stock truck driver to break 7.50 second barrier.

<pre> PRO STOCK TRUCK POINTS (six of 23 races complete) 1. Bob Panella 468 2. Randy Daniels 459 3. Greg Stanfield 353 4. John Coughlin 264 5. Steve Johns 252 6. Rick Jones 246 7. Jeff Gracia 222 8. John Lingenfelter 219 Brian Self 219 10. Taylor Lastor 205 16. Rob Slavinski 136

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Jeg Coughlin , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Bob Gilbertson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Mike Coughlin , John Lingenfelter , Scotty Cannon , Bob Glidden , Greg Stanfield , Brian Self , Jerry Toliver , Steve J