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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Force Captures No. 100 While Bernstein,
Edwards And Treble Celebrate
Wins at OíReilly Spring Nationals

By NHRA Communications

BAYTOWN, Texas - John Force became the third driver in auto racing history to claim 100 victories by winning the O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. Forceís 100th victory came with a pass of 4.991 seconds at 310.20 mph and outran Tommy Johnson Jr. who ran a slower 5.170 at 288.77.

Kenny Bernstein, Mike Edwards and Craig Treble also won their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the fifth of 23 races in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

With the milestone victory, Force, 52, joins two other auto racing legends as the only drivers in history to earn 100 victories or more in a major motorsports series. NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105) claimed the majority of their wins in the 1960ís and '70ís. Force, the most successful driver in the modern era, has scored all 100 victories in the last 15 years, an impressive feat in itself.

"Iím glad to get it over," said Force, the owner and driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. "The driver always gets all the credit, and thatís why I brought (crew chief Austin) Coil here with me. I hired Coil 17 years ago and weíve won all 100 of our races with Austin and Castrol GTX."

By comparison, Darrell Waltrip won 84 times during a brilliant NASCAR career, while the late Dale Earnhardt claimed 76 victories. Two of the most versatile and talented race drivers in history -- A.J. Foyt (77) and Mario Andretti (65) -- won often, but never reached the 100-win plateau.

After starting his career in 1978 with little success, Force lost nine final round decisions during a nine-year span before he won for the first time in 1987. Force made winning a habit soon after and several more victories opened the door to the first of many championships in 1990. This season Force is chasing his 12th Funny Car series crown, and 10th consecutively -- both NHRA records.

"I want to give credit to Austin Coil." Force said. "He never panics in the heat of battle, like me. He always puts this thing together with the combination of John Medlen, Jimmy Prock now, Dickie Venables and Bernie Fedderly, talking to him in the car making changes. They adapted to what it took to win."

During an 11-win season in 1993 Force won for the 36th time, and overtook Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme as the most successful Funny Car driver ever. Force enjoyed perhaps his greatest season in 1996 when he won 13 times, advanced to 16 finals in 19 races and was named Driver of the Year by a select panel of national motorsports media. He remains the only drag racer ever to receive the prestigious honor. In 2000, he passed Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden as the winningest driver in NHRA history, earning his 86th victory. He has compiled an astonishing round win-loss record of 768-255 during his career and currently holds the national performance record for a quarter-mile run at 4.731 seconds.

Force beat Dale Creasy Jr. Del Worsham, and Whit Bazemore before facing Johnson Jr. in the final round. Force often gives credit to Austin Coil, but Coil gives credit to the team that Force has compiled over the years.

"The team is doing a great job and they give us the time to concentrate on the problem at hand," Coil said. "What keeps this machine keep on rolling is just buckets of money. As long as the sponsors keep feeding John the buckets of money, he keeps spending it on his race team. Some guys are prone to try to sock it away for their old age. For all the budget meetings weíve had, there isnít anything left over at the end of the year."

The win extends Forceís lead in the 2002 NHRA POWERade Funny Car points. Forceís 423 points leads second place Del Worsham by 83 points.

Bernstein won his 62nd career NHRA national event in Top Fuel as his Budweiser King dragster covered the quarter-mile in 4.695 at 319.37 to defeat Tony Schumacher who was late on the starting line and ran 4.900 at 304.94.

In a season where rival Larry Dixon has advanced to the final round in each of the first four races, Bernstein was able to make up some ground on Dixon. Dixon was the victim of an upset earlier in the day, losing to Mitch King in the first round.

"We got a break today when Larry went out in the first," said Bernstein, the only NHRA driver to win championships in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. "The door opened up and it gave us a chance to make up a little room. You hope that you can take advantage of it.

By Bernstein earning the win, he closed the gap between he and Dixon to 65 POWERade points. Entering the OíReilly Spring Nationals Bernstein trailed Dixon by 105 points. The win marks the first win in 2002, Bernsteinís final year as a driver entitled ĎForever Red, A Run to Rememberí.

"It doesnít make it hard (to retire)," Bernstein said. "My focus is still on winning the NHRA POWERade championship. This is only the fifth race out of 23 and we have a long way to go. The decision was made two years ago to do what we are doing now and we laid out the game plan. Iím looking to the future."

Edwards earned his 10th career Pro Stock victory with a pass of 6.892 at 199.70, edging out fellow Chevrolet Cavalier driver Kurt Johnson and his pass of 6.910 at 200.77.

"This is a great win for not only our team but for the kids that come out here and get to see this car and get to watch this thing go down the track," Edwards said. "Itís been an awesome day for us. I got my first win here and got my tenth win here. Itís pretty special."

Edwards becomes the fifth different Pro Stock winner in as many races joining George Marnell, Bruce Allen, Darrell Alderman and Ron Krisher as event winners. Not since 1990 and 1974 have there been five different Pro Stock winners to open the season. There have never been six different winners in Pro Stock in the first six races.

Treble picked up his second win in a row and the third of his career in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. Trebleís Suzuki was quicker than Geno Scali, running a 7.246 at 184.37 to Scaliís Kawasaki 7.322 at 179.33. The two wins puts Treble solidly in the first place in the NHRA POWERade points standings.

"Like a wise bracket racer once told me, just do them one at a time," Treble said. "WeĎll take a look back at the end and when all the smoke settles, weíll see where we are at."

The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the second annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals, April 26-28 at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the 15th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. The $1.9 million race is the fifth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

1. Kenny Bernstein; 2. Tony Schumacher; 3. Cory McClenathan; 4. David Grubnic; 5. John Smith; 6. Mitch King; 7. Doug Kalitta; 8. Mark Kinsella; 9. Bruce Litton; 10. Melanie Troxel; 11. Scott Weis; 12. Doug Herbert; 13. Andrew Cowin; 14. Darrell Russell; 15. Larry Dixon; 16. Ken Zeal.

FUNNY CAR:

1. John Force, Ford Mustang; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., Chevy Camaro; 3. Whit Bazemore, Pontiac Firebird; 4. Tony Pedregon, Mustang; 5. Del Worsham, Firebird; 6. Johnny Gray, Firebird; 7. Gary Scelzi, Toyota Celica; 8. Scotty Cannon, Firebird; 9. Ron Capps, Camaro; 10. Dale Creasy Jr., Firebird; 11. Dean Skuza, Dodge Stratus R/T; 12. Gary Densham, Mustang; 13. Todd Paton, Camaro; 14. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird; 15. Bob Gilbertson, Firebird; 16. Frank Pedregon, Firebird.

PRO STOCK:

1. Mike Edwards, Chevy Cavalier; 2. Kurt Johnson, Cavalier; 3. Jim Yates, Pontiac Grand Am; 4. Warren Johnson, Grand Am; 5. Greg Anderson, Cavalier; 6. Darrell Alderman, Dodge Neon R/T; 7. Bruce Allen, Grand Am; 8. V. Gaines, Cavalier; 9. Ron Krisher, Cavalier; 10. Troy Coughlin, Cavalier; 11. Steve Schmidt, Grand Am; 12. Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier; 13. George Marnell, Grand Am; 14. Tom Hammonds, Cavalier; 15. John Geyer, Neon R/T; 16. JR Carr, Pontiac Firebird.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

1. Craig Treble, Suzuki; 2. Geno Scali, Kawasaki; 3. Angelle Savoie, Suzuki; 4. Steve Johnson, Suzuki; 5. Shawn Gann, Suzuki; 6. Antron Brown, Suzuki; 7. Matt Hines, Suzuki; 8. Mike Berry, Suzuki; 9. Thomas Miceli, Suzuki; 10. Reggie Showers, Suzuki; 11. Michael Phillips, Suzuki; 12. Blaine Hale, Suzuki; 13. Brian DeLong, Suzuki; 14. Chris Reuter, Suzuki; 15. Terry Kizer, Suzuki; 16. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Sunday's final results from the 15th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. The $1.9 million race is the fifth of 23 in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Kenny Bernstein, 4.695 seconds, 319.37 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 4.900 seconds, 304.94 mph.

Funny Car -- John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.991, 310.20 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Chevy Camaro, 5.170, 288.77.

Pro Stock -- Mike Edwards, Chevy Cavalier, 6.892, 199.70 def. Kurt Johnson, Cavalier, 6.910, 200.77.

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.246, 184.37 def. Geno Scali, Kawasaki, 7.322, 179.33.

Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Steve Gasparrelli, Pontiac Firebird, 5.725, 253.14 def. Jay Payne, Chevy Camaro, 5.710, 250.64.

Top Alcohol Dragster -- Duane Shields, 5.472, 261.17 def. Alan Bradshaw, 5.616, 256.06.

Competition Eliminator -- David Rampy, Ford Bantam, 7.226, 176.72 def. Scott Tidwell, Chevy Camaro, 7.834, 173.43.

Super Stock -- Peter Biondo, Pontiac Firebird, 10.283, 128.47 def. Jeff Hefler, Pontiac Grand Am, 11.346, 110.83.

Stock Eliminator -- Jeff Hefler, Pontiac Firebird, 11.345, 108.01 def. Marion Stephenson, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 13.379, 94.95.

Super Comp -- Jim Hughes, Dragster, 8.904, 158.82 def. Larry Scarth, Chevy Beretta, 8.885, 159.12.

Super Gas -- Joe Harper, Dodge, 9.880, 159.72 def. Gary Risk, Buick, 9.868, 150.43.

Super Street -- Jeremy Wilson, Chevy Corvette, 10.924, 134.58 def. Paul Martinez, Chevy Chevelle, 10.889, 121.10.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Final round-by-round results from the 15th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park, the fifth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE -- David Grubnic, 4.847, 285.47 def. Scott Weis, 4.896, 287.78; John Smith, 4.898, 272.56 def. Darrell Russell, 5.265, 202.12; Mark Kinsella, 4.777, 306.81 def. Doug Herbert, 4.897, 263.72; Tony Schumacher, 4.755, 308.99 def. Melanie Troxel, 4.800, 303.23; Kenny Bernstein, 4.668, 319.98 def. Bruce Litton, 4.773, 314.24; Mitch King, 6.314, 172.72 def. Larry Dixon, 7.175, 223.65; Cory McClenathan, 4.699, 312.28 def. Andrew Cowin, 4.905, 305.15; Doug Kalitta, 4.730, 311.13 def. Ken Zeal, 12.524, 78.60;

QUARTERFINALS -- Schumacher, 5.038, 298.01 def. King, 5.768, 168.20; McClenathan, 4.766, 306.88 def. Kinsella, 6.618, 132.39; Bernstein, 4.660, 322.19 def. Smith, 4.861, 267.22; Grubnic, 5.491, 279.04 def. Kalitta, 6.506, 197.80;

SEMIFINALS -- Schumacher, 4.788, 312.64 def. Grubnic, 6.836, 112.99; Bernstein, 4.655, 318.84 def. McClenathan, 4.823, 302.75;

FINAL -- Bernstein, 4.695, 319.37 def. Schumacher, 4.900, 304.94.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE -- Scotty Cannon, Pontiac Firebird, 5.222, 254.66 def. Gary Densham, Ford Mustang, 7.124, 123.83; Tony Pedregon, Mustang, 4.985, 294.43 def. Todd Paton, Chevy Camaro, 8.014, 103.46; Whit Bazemore, Firebird, 10.511, 79.40 def. Frank Pedregon, Firebird, broke; John Force, Mustang, 4.944, 309.91 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Firebird, 5.019, 300.66; Del Worsham, Firebird, 5.063, 301.67 def. Bob Gilbertson, Firebird, 10.303, 67.23; Tommy Johnson Jr., Camaro, 4.967, 305.36 def. Dean Skuza, Dodge Stratus R/T, 5.168, 276.07; Johnny Gray, Firebird, 5.008, 306.95 def. Ron Capps, Camaro, 5.018, 293.41; Gary Scelzi, Toyota Celica, 5.326, 264.86 def. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird, 8.152, 105.44;

QUARTERFINALS -- Bazemore, 5.087, 292.52 def. Scelzi, 5.499, 228.69; T. Pedregon, 5.049, 299.86 def. Gray, 5.182, 298.87; Force, 4.922, 285.89 def. Worsham, 5.125, 294.05; Johnson Jr., 5.286, 229.35 def. Cannon, 7.042, 110.95;

SEMIFINALS -- Johnson Jr., 5.177, 289.14 def. T. Pedregon, 5.423, 267.75; Force, 5.067, 300.13 def. Bazemore, 5.208, 295.46;

FINAL -- Force, 4.991, 310.20 def. Johnson Jr., 5.170, 288.77.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE -- V. Gaines, Chevy Cavalier, 6.926, 200.80 def. JR Carr, Pontiac Firebird, 7.461, 145.05; Kurt Johnson, Cavalier, 6.895, 200.77 def. Tom Hammonds, Cavalier, foul; Darrell Alderman, Dodge Neon R/T, 6.879, 202.03 def. George Marnell, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.926, 200.08; Mike Edwards, Cavalier, 6.976, 175.16 def. Steve Schmidt, Grand Am, 6.889, 195.79; Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 6.889, 199.88 def. Ron Krisher, Cavalier, 6.836, 202.06; Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 6.852, 201.85 def. Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.907, 200.89; Greg Anderson, Cavalier, 6.855, 201.67 def. Troy Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.888, 199.46; Jim Yates, Grand Am, 6.867, 201.40 def. John Geyer, Neon R/T, 7.018, 198.03;

QUARTERFINALS -- Edwards, 6.889, 199.35 def. Allen, 6.933, 199.73; Jim Yates, 6.855, 201.55 def. Gaines, 7.067, 166.83; K. Johnson, 6.902, 200.71 def. Anderson, 6.875, 201.25; W. Johnson, 6.872, 201.04 def. Alderman, 6.897, 201.31;

SEMIFINALS -- K. Johnson, 6.915, 200.38 def. W. Johnson, 6.891, 201.73; Edwards, 6.904, 199.91 def. Jim. Yates, 6.871, 201.10;

FINAL -- Edwards, 6.892, 199.70 def. K. Johnson, 6.910, 200.77.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE -- Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.336, 181.67 def. Terry Kizer, Suzuki, foul; Mike Berry, Suzuki, 7.337, 183.00 def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.439, 188.67; Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.209, 184.98 def. Thomas Miceli, Suzuki, foul; Angelle Savoie, Suzuki, 8.599, 105.99 def. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, broke; Antron Brown, Suzuki, 7.229, 189.68 def. Reggie Showers, Suzuki, 7.387, 182.23; Matt Hines, Suzuki, 7.237, 190.48 def. Blaine Hale, Suzuki, 7.440, 171.90; Geno Scali, Kawasaki, 7.277, 186.61 def. Chris Reuter, Suzuki, foul; Shawn Gann, Suzuki, 7.222, 188.81 def. Brian DeLong, Suzuki, 7.518, 181.89;

QUARTERFINALS -- Savoie, 7.203, 186.56 def. Berry, 7.324, 184.45; Scali, 7.270, 184.65 def. Hines, 7.264, 186.20; Treble, 7.232, 184.77 def. Brown, foul; Johnson, 7.344, 179.37 def. Gann, foul;

SEMIFINALS -- Scali, 7.254, 188.25 def. Johnson, 7.366, 181.25; Treble, 7.285, 174.46 def. Savoie, 7.259, 185.74;

FINAL -- Treble, 7.246, 184.37 def. Scali, 7.322, 179.33.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 15th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park, the fifth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel

1. Larry Dixon, 486; 2. Kenny Bernstein, 421; 3. Tony Schumacher, 375; 4. Cory McClenathan, 355; 5. Doug Kalitta, 272; 6. David Grubnic, 243; 7. Doug Herbert, 183; 8. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 182; 9. (tie) Clay Millican, 179; Darrell Russell, 179.

Funny Car

1. John Force, 423; 2. Del Worsham, 340; 3. Gary Densham, 322; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., 321; 5. Tony Pedregon, 312; 6. Ron Capps, 285; 7. Gary Scelzi, 281; 8. Scotty Cannon, 249; 9. Whit Bazemore, 239; 10. Johnny Gray, 236.

Pro Stock

1. Jim Yates, 360; 2. Warren Johnson, 349; 3. George Marnell, 331; 4. Darrell Alderman, 319; 5. Mike Edwards, 303; 6. Ron Krisher, 287; 7. Bruce Allen, 285; 8. Kurt Johnson, 281; 9. Tom Hammonds, 274; 10. Jeg Coughlin, 219.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

Craig Treble, 229; 2. Angelle Savoie, 174; 3. Shawn Gann, 134; 4. Geno Scali, 126; 5. Steve Johnson, 125; 6. Matt Hines, 113; 7. Antron Brown, 110; 8. Mike Berry, 106; 9. Reggie Showers, 104; 10. Terry Kizer, 64.

NHRA Communications

 

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