CASTROL QUICK STATS from........ Event: 12th annual NHRA Advance Auto Parts Nationals Track: Heartland Park-Topeka Site: Topeka, Kansas Date: October 1, 2000 FORCE WIDENS LEAD IN RACE FOR 10TH TITLE; BEATS CAPPS IN TOPEKA FINAL TOPEKA,...
CASTROL QUICK STATS from........
Event: 12th annual NHRA Advance Auto Parts Nationals
Track: Heartland Park-Topeka
Site: Topeka, Kansas
Date: October 1, 2000
FORCE WIDENS LEAD IN RACE FOR 10TH TITLE; BEATS CAPPS IN TOPEKA FINAL
TOPEKA, Kansas - John Force moved a step closer to clinching his 10th NHRA Winston Funny Car Championship Sunday by driving his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to its ninth victory of the season and its fourth win in the last five years at the Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park-Topeka.
In beating Ron Capps in the finals for the fourth time this year, Force opened up a 272-point lead on semifinal victim Jerry Toliver driving his Castrol GTX Ford to the final round for the 10th time in 19 races this season, Force opened up a 252-point lead on second place Jerry Toliver whose last hope of ending the champion's seven-year reign may have evaporated in a semifinal loss. That means that Force has a 13-round cushion with only four races remaining in the season.
Force, who is stuck on a career record 89 tour victories, lost in the final round for the second time this year after winning eight times in succession. He lost to Capps for the first time in 13 meetings and for the first time in four 2000 final rounds.
"We did what we had to do," said the eight-time Auto Racing All-America selection. "We won more rounds than Toliver. That's how you have to play the game. But they ran good. That 4.89 (Toliver's time in the first round) got our attention."
While Force was going to the final round for the 137th time in his career, Castrol teammate Tony Pedregon was making an early exit in his Castrol SYNTEC Ford due to a supercharger failure. Pedregon, the No. 4 qualifier, was beaten by Toliver in round two and fell even further behind third place Capps.
The Castrol Super Clean Chevy S-10 Pro Stock Truck driven by Steve Johns qualified second but was victimized in round one by the similar machine of John Coughlin. Despite the loss, Johns remained fifth in season points.
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WINNERS: Top Fuel, Gary Scelzi beat Doug Kalitta; Funny Car, John Force beat Ron Capps; Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin Jr. beat Darrell Alderman; Pro Stock Truck, Bob Panella Jr. beat David Spitzer. NEXT EVENT: 13th annual AutoZone Nationals, Memphis Motorsports Park, Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 6-8.
JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 1st at 4.853 seconds, 307.23 mph. Race Results: Beat Phil Burkart, Jim Epler, Jerry Toliver and Ron Capps. Notable: Force increased his lead over second place Jerry Toliver to 272 points by winning for the ninth time this year. Quotable: "Getting past Toliver was big. Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly made the right calls again." - John Force
TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 4th at 4.927 seconds, 303.64 mph. Race Results: Beat Gary Densham; lost to Jerry Toliver. Notable: Pedregon led Toliver to 1,100 feet before the engine dropped a cylinder and the supercharger exploded, destroying the carbon fiber Mustang body. Quotable: "I didn't know who won (the race with Toliver). The blower came off and it was in my line of sight to the win light. I knew I was ahead but obviously he caught me at the finish." - Tony Pedregon.
<pre> Unofficial 2000 Winston Funny Car Points (19 of 23 races complete)
1. John Force, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang (9) 1,591 2. Jerry Toliver, WWF Firebird (3) 1,319 3. Ron Capps, U.S. Tobacco Camaro 1,264 4. Tony Pedregon, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang (1) 1,167 5. Jim Epler, WWF Camaro (2) 1,090 6. Scotty Cannon, Oakley Camaro 1,025 7. Del Worsham, CSK Firebird 1,015 8. Whit Bazemore, Kendall GT-1 Camaro (1) 853 9. Dean Skuza, Matco Tools Avenger 843 10. Bruce Sarver, e-moola.com Firebird (1) 819
Note: season victories in parentheses (Bob Gilbertson and Cruz Pedregon also have won races this season)
STEVE JOHNS, Castrol Super Clean Chevy S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: 2nd at Race Results: Lost to John Coughlin. Notable: No. 2 qualifying performance was second best start of the year for Johns who started the season-opening Winternationals from the No. 1 spot. Quotable: "There's no margin for error (in the truck class) whether you're No. 1 or No. 16. We did about what we expected (in the first round). (Coughlin) just took a chance and this time it worked for him (a .416 reaction time, best of the day)."
ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean Chevy S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: DNQ Notable: Slavinski was qualified fifth after the first session on Friday. After that, he was besieged by mechanical woes which steadily pushed him farther back in the field. Quotable: "We've got a vibration gremlin somewhere in the drivetrain and it's driving us crazy. We'll work on it this week and try to get ready for Memphis."
<pre> Official 2000 Winston Pro Stock Truck Points (11 of 14 races complete)
1. Bob Panella (5) 1,129 2. Randy Daniels (5) 957 3. John Coughlin (1) 702 4. Greg Stanfield 614 5. Steve Johns 572 6. Brian Self 534 7. Mike Coughlin 463 8. Rick Jones 454 9. John Lingenfelter 444 10. Jeff Gracia 434