BAYTOWN, Texas. -- John Force has made it a habit to break records during his career. Now the National Hot Rod Association's all-time winningest driver is starting to collect on the career marks. Earlier this season, Force eclipsed Bob...
BAYTOWN, Texas. -- John Force has made it a habit to break records during his career. Now the National Hot Rod Association's all-time winningest driver is starting to collect on the career marks.
Earlier this season, Force eclipsed Bob Glidden's mark of 85 career wins. On Sunday at Houston Raceway Park, Force equaled Glidden's 10 Winston Drag Racing Championships.
"It's really good," Force said. "Two teams, 22 guys, and three unbelievable crew chiefs -- Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly, and John Medlen -- all worked together to get this done. I have to thank the fans for their support and tip my hat to Jerry Toliver and the WWF guys and Ron Capps and his U.S. Tobacco Co. team. They pushed us hard all year and gave us a real run for our money.
"Winston is gonna give us $200,000 for this and it's all going right back into this hot rod. Thanks to all my sponsors and thanks to the fans."
Force clinched the title when Bob Gilbertson upset Ron Capps in the second round on Sunday. Force then defeated Gilbertson, advancing to the finals against teammate Tony Pedregon. Pedregon outran his boss for his 10th career win, 4.906 seconds at 309.27 mph to Force's 5.293/287.41 mph.
Cory McClenathan is looking for a new team in 2001 and he added to his stock by blasting to the Houston win, defeating Bill Walsh, Doug Kalitta and Bob Vandergriff before getting a bye in the finals when Bobby Baldwin broke on his burnout. Cory Mac took the opportunity to thrill the crowd with a 4.564-second/318.24 mph pass.
The Top Fuel category saw the return of championship contenders Larry Dixon and Tony Schumacher, both injured in severe crashes at Memphis three weeks ago. Schumacher removed himself from the event after his first qualifying attempt when he didn't feel his left leg was up to the demands of the race.
However, Dixon and points leader Gary Scelzi both dropped out in the first round, leaving Scelzi with a 151-point lead over Schumacher and 225 points over Dixon with two races remaining.
Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. suffered a rare first-round loss at Houston, opening the door for Warren Johnson, on Goodyear tires, to collect his second win of the season. W.J. used every ounce of horsepower to catch and pass Brad Jeter in the finals, registering a 6.914-second pass to Jeter's 6.975-second effort, despite the fact that Jeter earned a huge .430 to .464 starting line edge. Johnson's previous win, at the Mac Tools Gatornationals in March, was also on Goodyear Eagles.
David Rampy continued to roll over the competition in the Competition Eliminator division with his Goodyear Eagles. He earned his 38th career victory Sunday, defeating Fred Allen by 0.289 seconds. The win moves Rampy into the top 10 of the NHRA's all-time career winners. That's quite a feat for a Sportsman driver.
It took all year, but Keith Roggen can enjoy the offseason after winning his first career NASCAR race in the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series finale at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga. Roggen and B.J. Mackey exchanged the lead four times during the final 42 laps as the pair led all but two laps in the 150-lap event. Mackey had the lead during the final restart but Roggen dove down to the inside of Turn One and held off Mackey over the final eight laps. Rounding out the all-Goodyear top five finishers were Cam Strader, Justin Hobgood and Ricky Bryant.
Robert Huffman finished in seventh, more than enough to give the Claremont, N.C., driver his third consecutive Goody's Dash championship and fourth of his career. Huffman won four of the first six races this season, and he only finished out of the top 10 three times.
The rookies have learned quite a bit in the USAR Hooter's ProCup Series, and the payff came at Concord, N.C. First-year drivers Clay Rogers and Brian Vickers finished 1-2 in the race after on-track winner Hal Goodson was disqualified following the event. Fellow rookies Sean Studer and Neil Browder came in fourth and fifth, with John Kinder breaking up the parade in third.
Sammy Swindell wants to keep second place in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws championship and Mark Kinser is trying to take it away. The pair came to Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, for the penultimate race and were hard to separate all weekend.
Daryn Pittman started the weekend on a proper note, winning from the pole in Friday's preliminary event.
The next night was all Swindell, who led by nearly four seconds midway through the race. A late caution allowed Mark Kinser to tuck in behind Swindell for a final two-lap dash to the finish, but Sammy pulled away for a 2.2-second victory. The finish gives Swindell a 12-point lead heading into the finale at Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway's road course was also the final Y2K run for the Goodyear-shod GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Corvettes on the American Le Mans Series calendar. The No. 4 car of Chris Kneifel and Justin Bell overcame a weekend of handling problems to finish on the podium.
"The car got better as the race went on for us," said Bell, who made up a 1 1/2-minute deficit in the final 40 minutes to grab third place on the final lap.
The No. 3 car of Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim dropped out of the race just past half distance after Pilgrim had a long spin, flat-spotting all four tires through the plies. The driver decided to stay out for one more lap and the right-rear tire expired on the front straight just past pit entrance.