Sonoma: John Force preview

After tearing up old track; Force sets sights on new one. SONOMA, Calif. A year ago, John Force literally tore up the quarter mile at Infineon Raceway, the track formerly known as Sears Point. Unfortunately, he did so not in the Castrol ...

After tearing up old track; Force sets sights on new one.

SONOMA, Calif. A year ago, John Force literally tore up the quarter mile at Infineon Raceway, the track formerly known as Sears Point.

Unfortunately, he did so not in the Castrol GTX0x00ae Ford Mustang in which he routinely races at speeds of 320 miles per hour, but rather in a Caterpillar bulldozer, a vehicle that, quite frankly, is not certified for competition by the National Hot Rod Association, the principal governing body for professional drag racing.

This week (Aug. 2-4), when he returns to Bruton Smith's Napa Valley track for the 15th renewal of the Fram/Autolite Nationals, the 101-time tour winner is in the mood to tear it up again, albeit in a more figurative sense.

Furthermore, while last year's effort was largely symbolic, signaling the start of the track's multi-million dollar make over, this year's is not. It is critical, in fact, to Force's ongoing bid to secure an unprecedented 10th consecutive NHRA Funny Car title.

A three-time winner already this year, the veteran from Yorba Linda, Calif., comes in as he has in all but one of the last 12 seasons as the Funny Car points leader. This time, though, there are multiple challenges to his continue reign including those posed by Castrol teammates Tony Pedregon and Gary Densham.

Last year, Force rolled into northern California enjoying a 348-lead over second place Del Worsham. This year, there are six drivers within 300 points and Pedregon is just 34 points back after taking his Castrol SYNTEC Mustang to the final round in the last two events and winning last week at Seattle, Wash.

Nevertheless, Force looks forward to the challenge. In fact, now that a new 600-foot concrete launch pad has replaced the oft-maligned 100-footer it replaced, he even looks forward to the Fram/Autolite Nationals, an event in which he has been a spectator after the first round three of the last four years including 2001.

Ironically, despite his recent problems, Force won five times on the old track, the one he gleefully helped bulldoze last August.

"When you're at sea level, Crew Chiefs like Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly, John Medlen, Jimmy Prock, they make an awful lot of horsepower," Force said, "but in the past, we couldn't use it because the asphalt was worn out and the concrete (launch) pad was so short. This new track could be a record-setter, though."

Winner of a record 101 NHRA tour events, 14 more than anyone else in drag racing history and 66 more than any other Funny Car driver, Force has dominated the series like no other driver before him.

In fact, he has dominated his sport like few in any sport.

No individual or team, for instance, ever won nine consecutive championships, as Force has done with a better than average chance this year of extending that mark to 10.

In the major motor racing disciplines, only NASCAR legends Richard Petty (200 Winston Cup victories) and David Pearson (105) have more tour titles to their credit.

Even in their heydays, neither the New York Yankees, the Boston Celtics, nor the Montreal Canadiens were able to win 11 championships in 12 seasons, but that's what Forcehas done with a series of Castrol GTX Funny Cars.

A non-winner for the first nine years of his NHRA career, the 53-year-old icon has won three or more events in 14 of the last 16 seasons. His victories this season have come at Pomona, Calif. (in the season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals), Houston (his 100th in the O'Reilly Spring Nationals) and Madison, Ill. (the Sears Craftsman Nationals).

-www.johnforceracing.com-

FORCE at Fram/Autolite Nationals... *Has lost in the first round three of the last four years including 2001 when he was eliminated in the initial round by Jim Epler. *Five-time champion (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2000). *Once reached the final round in seven consecutive appearances (1990-1996).

FORCE Highlights... *With NASCAR legends Richard Petty and David Pearson, is one of only three drivers to win 100 career events in a major motorsports series. *NHRA national record holder at 4.731 seconds. *1996 Driver of the Year for all American moto rracing. *Is seeking his 12th series title in the last 13 years and his 10th in succession.

* * * *

DID YOU KNOW? John this week will try to extend to 292 the number of consecutive NHRA national events for which he has qualified a Castrol GTX Funny Car. The last time he failed to make the 16-car lineup was, appropriately enough, on Halloween October, 31,1987 at the Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Calif. Ronald Reagan was president at the time; the Minnesota Twins were the champions of baseball and Julius Erving still was playing basketball...John has won at least one NHRA national event in each of the last 16 seasons....John has been a member of the last 10 Auto Racing All-America Teams selected by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association....John again is a finalist this year for the Car Craft Magazine All-Star Drag Racing Team. Also on the final ballot are Gary Densham, his Crew Chief, Jimmy Prock, and Force's co-Crew Chiefs, Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly, along with Castrol. Force and Coil have been All-Star team members the last 10 years; Fedderly the last eight.

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[ Part 2: "Attached Text" ]

Kelly Antonelli John Force Racing 714-921-8123, 714-921-8272 FAX Dave Densmore kelly@johnforceracing.com DensWood Sports Marketing 817-636-2060, 817-636-2790 FAX denswood@aol.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE After Tearing Up Old Track. Force Sets Sights on New One

SONOMA, Calif. A year ago, John Force literally tore up the quarter mile at Infineon Raceway, the track formerly known as Sears Point.

Unfortunately, he did so not in the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang in which he routinely races at speeds of 320 miles per hour, but rather in a Caterpillar bulldozer, a vehicle that, quite frankly, is not certified for competition by the National Hot Rod Association, the principal governing body for professional drag racing.

This week (Aug. 2-4), when he returns to Bruton Smith's Napa Valley track for the 15th renewal of the Fram/Autolite Nationals, the 101-time tour winner is in the mood to tear it up again, albeit in a more figurative sense.

Furthermore, while last year's effort was largely symbolic, signaling the start of the track's multi-million dollar make over, this year's is not. It is critical, in fact, to Force's ongoing bid to secure an unprecedented 10th consecutive NHRA Funny Car title.

A three-time winner already this year, the veteran from Yorba Linda, Calif., comes in as he has in all but one of the last 12 seasons as the Funny Car points leader. This time, though, there are multiple challenges to his continue reign including those posed by Castrol teammates Tony Pedregon and Gary Densham.

Last year, Force rolled into northern California enjoying a 348-lead over second place Del Worsham. This year, there are six drivers within 300 points and Pedregon is just 34 points back after taking his Castrol SYNTEC Mustang to the final round in the last two events and winning last week at Seattle, Wash.

Nevertheless, Force looks forward to the challenge. In fact, now that a new

-more-

Force/Sonoma 2222

600-foot concrete launch pad has replaced the oft-maligned 100-footer it replaced, he even looks forward to the Fram/Autolite Nationals, an event in which he has been a spectator after the first round three of the last four years including 2001.

Ironically, despite his recent problems, Force won five times on the old track, the one he gleefully helped bulldoze last August.

"When you're at sea level, Crew Chiefs like Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly, John Medlen, Jimmy Prock, they make an awful lot of horsepower," Force said, "but in the past, we couldn't use it because the asphalt was worn out and the concrete (launch) pad was so short. This new track could be a record-setter, though."

Winner of a record 101 NHRA tour events, 14 more than anyone else in drag racing history and 66 more than any other Funny Car driver, Force has dominated the series like no other driver before him.

In fact, he has dominated his sport like few in any sport.

No individual or team, for instance, ever won nine consecutive championships, as Force has done with a better than average chance this year of extending that mark to 10.

In the major motor racing disciplines, only NASCAR legends Richard Petty (200 Winston Cup victories) and David Pearson (105) have more tour titles to their credit.

Even in their heydays, neither the New York Yankees, the Boston Celtics, nor the Montreal Canadiens were able to win 11 championships in 12 seasons, but that's what Forcehas done with a series of Castrol GTX Funny Cars.

A non-winner for the first nine years of his NHRA career, the 53-year-old icon has won three or more events in 14 of the last 16 seasons. His victories this season have come at Pomona, Calif. (in the season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals), Houston (his 100th in the O'Reilly Spring Nationals) and Madison, Ill. (the Sears Craftsman Nationals).

-www.johnforceracing.com-

FORCE at Fram/Autolite Nationals... *Has lost in the first round three of the last four years including 2001 when he was eliminated in the initial round by Jim Epler. *Five-time champion (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2000). *Once reached the final round in seven consecutive appearances (1990-1996).

FORCE Highlights... *With NASCAR legends Richard Petty and David Pearson, is one of only three drivers to win 100 career events in a major motorsports series. *NHRA national record holder at 4.731 seconds. *1996 Driver of the Year for all American moto rracing. *Is seeking his 12th series title in the last 13 years and his 10th in succession.

* * * *

DID YOU KNOW? John this week will try to extend to 292 the number of consecutive NHRA national events for which he has qualified a Castrol GTX Funny Car. The last time he failed to make the 16-car lineup was, appropriately enough, on Halloween October, 31,1987 at the Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Calif. Ronald Reagan was president at the time; the Minnesota Twins were the champions of baseball and Julius Erving still was playing basketball...John has won at least one NHRA national event in each of the last 16 seasons....John has been a member of the last 10 Auto Racing All-America Teams selected by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association....John again is a finalist this year for the Car Craft Magazine All-Star Drag Racing Team. Also on the final ballot are Gary Densham, his Crew Chief, Jimmy Prock, and Force's co-Crew Chiefs, Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly, along with Castrol. Force and Coil have been All-Star team members the last 10 years; Fedderly the last eight.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , John Force , Gary Densham , Richard Petty , Austin Coil , John Medlen , David Pearson