JOHN FORCE, 51, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, is the nine-time and reigning Winston Funny Car Champion. This is the 52nd time in his career that John has qualified No. 2, the position from which he won the...
JOHN FORCE, 51, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, is the nine-time and reigning Winston Funny Car Champion. This is the 52nd time in his career that John has qualified No. 2, the position from which he won the his first race at SIR (1991). He's won 13 races as the No. 2 qualifier including this year's CSK Nationals at Phoenix.
SEASON-TO-DATE: John is bidding for his sixth victory of the current season. He won earlier at Phoenix, Richmond, Atlanta, Dallas and Chicago to become the most prolific winner in NHRA drag racing history with 86 tour victories. John has won at least one NHRA national event for 14 straight seasons and has one at least three times in each of the last 11 years.
PREVIOUSLY AT SEATTLE: John is seeking his fifth career victory at Seattle International Raceway where he won the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1996.
VERSUS CRUZ PEDREGON: The first round battle between John Force and Cruz Pedregon renews one of Funny Car racing's classic rivalries. This is their 39th career meeting but their first since the final round of the 1999 Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals at Englishtown, N.J., a race won by Force. Force has won the last three meetings and has a 31-17 career advantage.
RECORDS: John is the official NHRA national record holder for both quarter mile time (4.788 seconds) and speed (324.05 miles per hour last year at Gainesville, Fla.).
FORCE VS. PEDREGON: If both win their first round matches, John Force and teammate Tony Pedregon would meet in round two of the Prolong Nationals.
DID YOU KNOW: John now has qualified for 243 consecutive races, the longest streak in Funny Car drag racing history......John is the only drag racer to have won the Driver of the Year Award for all of American motor racing (1996) .....John has won only one race when he has qualified worse than eighth. He won the 1995 Checker/Schuck's/Kragen Nationals after qualifying 12th. He most often has won from the No. 1 spot - 43 times....although he's won five times this year, John came into the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals trailing Jerry Toliver by 73 points in the race for the 2000 Winston Championship....not since Kenny Bernstein turned the trick in 1987 has one driver beaten John Force in three consecutive events. John's current nemesis, Jerry Toliver, could duplicate that effort with a victory in today's eliminations. Barring upsets, the two would meet in Sunday's semifinals.....John has been named to the Auto Racing All-America team by members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association seven straight years.
TONY PEDREGON, 35, Chino Hills, Calif., driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang, is seeking his first victory at Seattle International Raceway after earning runner-up honors in 1996 and 1997. This is the third time this season, the 11th time in his career that Tony has started at NHRA national event from the No. 7 spot. As the seventh qualifier, he has won only once - at the Castrol Nationals at Ennis, Texas, in 1999.
PREVIOUSLY AT SEATTLE: Tony has gone to the Funny Car finals two times at S.I.R. where he was runner-up in 1996 to teammate John Force and in 1997 to this year's No. 1 qualifier, Whit Bazemore.
QUICKEST MAN ON THE PLANET: Tony owns the quickest quarter mile ever recorded by a fuel Funny Car: 4.779 seconds on March 21, 1999 at Gainesville, Fla.
VERSUS AL HOFMANN: Tony is 10-7 against first round foe Al Hofmann who he most recently defeated in the first round of this year's O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. It was against Hofmann at last year's Prolong Northwest Nationals that Tony's car wouldn't fire for the first round.
SEASON TO DATE: Tony earned his first win of the new millennium when he upset Jerry Toliver in the final round of the Pontiac Excitement Nationals at Kirkersville, Ohio, on June 4. He also has three runner-up finishes to his credit - at Pomona, Calif., Las Vegas, Nevada and Dallas.
CAREER RECORD: Although this is only his fifth full season on the NHRA tour, Tony already has nine victories in 25 career final round appearances in the Funny Car division. That's 25 final rounds in his first 97 starts for Team Castrol and John Force Racing.
DID YOU KNOW? Tony was the initial winner (1996) of the Automobile Club of Southern California's Road to the Future Award (and the $10,000 cash bonus that accompanies it)....Tony has won at least one national event in each of his five years with Team Castrol....although their cars are both Fords and are sponsored by Castrol, Tony's and John's hybrids are far from identical. John uses the SSI supercharger; Tony the Gibson-Miller supercharger; John uses the 4-disc clutch; Tony uses the 5-disc....all three Pedregon brothers made the Funny Car field at SIR - Tony at No. 7, oldest brother Frank at No. 9 and older brother Cruz at No. 15.