Topeka John Force Review

JOHN FORCE, 50, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTX® Ford Mustang, won his ninth race of the 1999 season and the 79th of his career by beating Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round of the 11th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals ...

JOHN FORCE, 50, of Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTX® Ford Mustang, won his ninth race of the 1999 season and the 79th of his career by beating Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round of the 11th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals completed Monday at Heartland Park-Topeka following a one day postponement brought on by cold temperatures which produced unsafe track conditions. En route to victory, John re-set the Heartland Park track record, lowering it first to 4.843 seconds and, finally, to 4.797 seconds. Heartland Park becomes the fourth different track on which John has officially broken the 4.80 second barrier. He also ran in the 4.70s at Phoenix during pre-season testing of his new Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. It was John's 10th final round of the current season and it enabled him to all but clinch his seventh straight Winston Championship and ninth of the current decade. Of his six victories at Heartland Park, this was the first from a starting position other than No. 1. After qualifying third behind Whit Bazemore and Castrol teammate Tony Pedregon, John beat Ron Capps, Del Worsham, Tony and Tommy Johnson Jr. to up his season record to 45-9, the ninth time in 10 years that he has won 45 or more rounds of racing.

CHASING THE RECORD: John entered the Advance Auto Parts Nationals tied with Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson for second place in career victories behind only Bob Glidden (85). With his win, John now has 79 career victories. WJ went out in the second round of Pro Stock, beaten by his son Kurt.

WINSTON SHOWDOWN: In addition to his eight Winston Series victories, John also won the $200,000 Winston Showdown at Bristol, Tenn., an event which pitted Funny Cars against Top Fuel dragsters in a modified heads-up format.

RECORDS: In addition to John's track ET record, Tony Pedregon drove the Castrol SYNTEC Ford to a Heartland Park speed record of 318.99 mph before a mechanical failure brought his bid to an abrupt halt at halftrack in a semifinal showdown with his boss. Tony owns the quickest time in Funny Car history at 4.779 seconds; John is the official NHRA national record holder for both time (4.788 seconds) and speed (324.05 miles per hour).

VERSUS TOMMY JOHNSON JR.: The final round victory was John's second in as many meetings with Tommy Johnson Jr., who took over the Joe Gibbs racing ride from Cruz Pedregon in mid-season. John now is 19-12 against Gibbs' drivers since the former NFL coach came into the sport in 1995. He's now 7-4 in final round meetings with Joe Gibbs Racing.

PREVIOUSLY AT HEARTLAND PARK-TOPEKA: This was John's ninth final in 16 years at Heartland Park and his sixth in 11 years in the Advance Auto Parts race. DID YOU KNOW: John now has qualified for 226 consecutive races. The last time he failed to qualify for an NHRA national event was Nov. 1, 1987 at the Winston Finals at Pomona, Calif.....John is the only drag racer to have won the Driver of the Year Award for all of American motor racing (1996) ....this is the fourth time in the last seven years that John has won as many as nine races in a season. NO OTHER DRIVER has won nine races in a season in either Top Fuel or Funny Car. Following is a list of the most productive seasons in NHRA racing history:

John Force      1996 Funny Car          13
D. Alderman     1991 Pro Stock          11
John Force      1993 Funny Car          11
John Force      1994 Funny Car          10
Jim Yates       1997 Pro Stock          9
W. Johnson      1998 Pro Stock          9
John Force      1999 Funny Car          9
Bob Glidden     1987 Pro Stock          8
Bob Glidden     1989 Pro Stock          8
W. Johnson      1992 Pro Stock          8
W. Johnson      1993 Pro Stock          8
Jim Yates       1996 Pro Stock          8

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Bob Glidden , Cruz Pedregon , Tommy Johnson Jr.
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing