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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Force, Herbert Among Winners At Pep Boys 50th Anniversary Nationals At Historic Pomona Raceway

By nhra.com

POMONA, Calif. -- John Force, NHRA's most prolific winner, led the victory parade Saturday at the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals presented by American Racing Wheels as the drag racing organization celebrated its golden anniversary under the lights at legendary Pomona Raceway.

Doug Herbert, Jeg Coughlin and Angelle Savoie also were winners at the $2 million race, the 13th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Force earned his 96th career Funny Car victory and moved closer to a record 11th Winston championship, defeating rival Whit Bazemore in a classic Ford-Pontiac final round match-up. Force's Castrol GTX Mustang flickered brilliantly under the illuminated stadium as it sped to a 4.953 at 317.64 leaving Bazemore's Matco Tools Firebird in its wake. Bazemore's machine lost power past mid-track and limped to the finish in 5.691 at 168.51.

The usually energetic Force was emotional and reflective following his accomplishment and dedicated the victory to NHRA's founder, Wally Parks.

"Wally Parks created all of this 50 years ago and this was a special race for the NHRA honoring its past," said Force, who beat Jerry Toliver, Del Worsham, and Bruce Sarver in the opening rounds. "On behalf of all the racers, I want Wally to have this trophy. He made it possible for me to go to a place I never thought I would be. This is his stadium, his night, and I'm just really proud to be a part of it."

With the victory -- his fourth of the season -- Force increased his Winston points lead to 335 over closest challenger Del Worsham.

Herbert scored his sixth career victory and first of the season in a thrilling Top Fuel final against Gary Scelzi. Herbert drove his Snap-On Tools dragster to a 4.600 at 320.58 to pull away from Scelzi, who lost traction early and ran 5.574 at 305.42 in his Team Winston dragster.

"Pomona has always been my favorite track and this win really helps to reinforce that feeling," said Herbert, a Southern California native, who beat Gary Clapshaw, Andrew Cowin and Darrell Russell to advance to his first final round since 1999. "This is a great win for our team because we've been struggling a little this year. Our car has been running well all year and we've been qualifying good, but it was just a matter of putting a win together. Finally we had a little bit of luck and the car ran good and we put it all together."

Kenny Bernstein suffered a second round loss but remained in the Winston points lead, 62 ahead of Larry Dixon. 

Coughlin earned his third Pro Stock win of the season by outpowering Mike Edwards in a battle between Chevrolet Cavaliers. Coughlin covered the distance in 6.911 at 199.26 in his Jeg's Mail Order entry, while Edwards was a tick off the pace at 6.923 at 200.05 in his Young Life machine.

"It's really exciting to win the 50th anniversary race," said Coughlin, who defeated Darrell Alderman, Jim Yates, and Kurt Johnson to advance to the final. "We had a great day and we're all very excited. The car did exactly what we wanted it to do. What a way to end the weekend. It's tough out there and the team did its job. I'll be smiling for days."

Warren Johnson was upset in the first round by V. Gaines, but maintained a 53-point lead over Jim Yates in the Winston standings.

Savoie claimed her 18th career Pro Stock Motorcycle victory and in the process tied three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney for most victories by a female in NHRA history. Savoie clocked a 7.246 at 180.14 on her Team Winston Suzuki, but didn't need the horsepower as Antron Brown fouled at the start on his Team 23 Suzuki. 

With her category leading third victory of the season, Savoie extended her Winston points lead to 54 over Brown. 

"This is such an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as Shirley Muldowney," Savoie said. "I don't think I ever could have imagined this in my wildest dreams, but I think I would trade these 18 wins in for the three NHRA Winston championships (Muldowney) won."

Last season, Savoie collected her first seasonal championship, joining Muldowney as the only female professional champions in NHRA history. Savoie is one of just six women to win a NHRA national event in the sanctioning body's 50-year history. The others are Muldowney, Lori Johns (four wins), Shelley Anderson (four), Lucille Lee (one), and Cristen Powell (one).

Jack Harris defeated Rance McDaniel in the special nostalgia top fuel exhibition. Harris drove his front-engine dragster to a 6.152 at 234.45 to hold off McDaniel, who clocked a 6.305 at 223.14.

The next NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series event is the 22nd annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, July 19-22 at Bandimere Speedway, Denver.

POMONA, Calif. -- Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the Inaugural Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals presented by American Racing Wheels at Pomona Raceway. The $2 million race is the 13th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL: 
1. Doug Herbert; 2. Gary Scelzi; 3. Larry Dixon; 4. Darrell Russell; 5. Tony Schumacher; 6. Kenny Bernstein; 7. Bobby Baldwin; 8. Andrew Cowin; 9. Doug Kalitta; 10. Rhonda Hartman-Smith; 11. David Grubnic; 12. John Smith; 13. Mike Dunn; 14. Tim Gibson; 15. Gary Clapshaw; 16. Robert Reehl. 

FUNNY CAR: 
1. John Force, '01 Ford Mustang; 2. Whit Bazemore, Pontiac Firebird; 3. Gary Densham, Mustang; 4. Bruce Sarver, Firebird; 5. Del Worsham, Firebird; 6. Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Camaro; 8. Scotty Cannon, Firebird; 9. Frank Pedregon, Firebird; 10. Jerry Toliver, Firebird; 11. Al Hofmann, Firebird; 12. Dean Skuza, Dodge R/T; 13. Bob Gilbertson, Camaro; 14. Chuck Etchells, Camaro; 15. Jim Epler, Camaro; 16. Tony Pedregon, Mustang. 

PRO STOCK: 
1. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cavalier; 2. Mike Edwards, Cavalier; 3. Ron Krisher, Cavalier; 4. Kurt Johnson, Cavalier; 5. V. Gaines, Cavalier; 6. Jim Yates, Pontiac Grand Am; 7. George Marnell, Grand Am; 8. Bruce Allen, Grand Am; 9. Warren Johnson, Grand Am; 10. Troy Coughlin, Cavalier; 11. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am; 12. Darrell Alderman, Dodge R/T; 13. Mark Osborne, R/T; 14. Larry Morgan, R/T; 15. Tom Martino, Grand Am; 16. Brad Jeter, Grand Am. 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 
1. Angelle Savoie, Suzuki; 2. Antron Brown, Suzuki; 3. Craig Treble, Suzuki; 4. Geno Scali, Suzuki; 5. Matt Hines, Suzuki; 6. GT Tonglet, Suzuki; 7. Shawn Gann, Suzuki; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki; 9. Reggie Showers, Suzuki; 10. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki; 11. Chris Bostick, Suzuki; 12. Mike Berry, Suzuki; 13. Greg Underdahl, Suzuki; 14. Blaine Hale, Kawasaki; 15. Ron Ayers, Suzuki; 16. Brian DeLong, Suzuki. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Saturday's final results from the Inaugural Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals presented by American Racing Wheels at Pomona Raceway. The $2 million race is the 13th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Top Fuel -- Doug Herbert, 4.600 seconds, 320.58 mph def. Gary Scelzi, 5.574 seconds, 305.42 mph. 

Funny Car -- John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.853, 317.64 def. Whit Bazemore, Pontiac Firebird, 5.691, 168.51. 

Pro Stock -- Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cavalier, 6.911, 199.26 def. Mike Edwards, Cavalier, 6.923, 200.05. 

Pro Stock Bike -- Angelle Savoie, Suzuki, 7.246, 180.14 def. Antron Brown, Suzuki, 7.354, 181.62. 

Nostalgia Top Fuel -- Jack Harris, 6.152, 234.45 def. Rance McDaniel, 6.305, 223.14. 

Federal-Mogul Dragster -- Brian Hough, 5.500, 257.87 def. Rick Santos, 5.414, 261.02. 

Federal-Mogul Funny Car -- Bucky Austin, Chevy Camaro, 5.808, 243.85 def. Steve Gasparrelli, Pontiac Firebird, 6.152, 175.09. 

Comp Eliminator -- Andy Mana Jr., Pontiac Trans Am, 8.504, 156.79 def. Rick Braun, Pontiac Firebird, 7.970, 170.04. 

Super Stock -- Tony Hewes, Ford Mustang, 9.969, 132.99 def. William Bennett, Chevy Camaro, 10.065, 133.29. 

Stock -- Ken Etter, Plymouth Volare, 11.822, 111.50 def. Jody Lang, Chevy Malibu, 12.827, 102.96. 

Super Comp -- Rod Fuller, Dragster, 8.891, 167.80 def. Jerry Denton Jr., Dragster, 8.883, 158.45. 

Super Gas -- John Peterson, Pontiac Grand Prix, 9.883, 150.00 def. Troy Moyle, Chevy Corvette, 9.922, 154.39. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Final round-by-round results from the Inaugural Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals presented by American Racing Wheels at Pomona Raceway, the 13th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL: 

ROUND ONE -- Tony Schumacher, 5.070, 279.09 def. Mike Dunn, 5.184, 270.48; Darrell Russell, 4.717, 312.50 def. Doug Kalitta, 4.727, 301.54; Bobby Baldwin, 4.830, 304.94 def. David Grubnic, 5.137, 255.58; Doug Herbert, 4.887, 264.03 def. Gary Clapshaw, 7.249, 112.24; Kenny Bernstein, 4.731, 313.15 def. Robert Reehl, broke; Andrew Cowin, 5.070, 299.60 def. Tim Gibson, 6.750, 127.61; Larry Dixon, 4.692, 305.63 def. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 4.923, 294.43; Gary Scelzi, 4.644, 313.37 def. John Smith, 5.149, 232.55; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Herbert, 6.083, 151.92 def. Cowin, 6.384, 153.30; Russell, 4.653, 310.91 def. Bernstein, 4.768, 307.44; Dixon, 4.660, 310.20 def. Baldwin, 5.794, 166.50; Scelzi, 4.665, 320.05 def. Schumacher, 4.672, 313.66; 

SEMIFINALS -- Scelzi, 4.551, 317.72 def. Dixon, 4.601, 318.24; Herbert, 4.634, 320.51 def. Russell, 6.157, 136.48; 

FINAL -- Herbert, 4.600, 320.58 def. Scelzi, 5.574, 305.42. 

FUNNY CAR: 

ROUND ONE -- Gary Densham, Ford Mustang, 5.067, 284.99 def. Bob Gilbertson, Chevy Camaro, 9.067, 99.44; Ron Capps, Camaro, 6.466, 137.01 def. Tony Pedregon, Mustang, broke; Scotty Cannon, Pontiac Firebird, 5.146, 277.09 def. Chuck Etchells, Camaro, 9.833, 94.64; John Force, Mustang, 4.945, 310.48 def. Jerry Toliver, Firebird, 5.183, 283.97; Whit Bazemore, Firebird, 5.071, 300.86 def. Al Hofmann, Firebird, 6.773, 128.82; Del Worsham, Firebird, 4.981, 306.40 def. Dean Skuza, Dodge R/T, 7.967, 110.52; Bruce Sarver, Firebird, 4.972, 305.77 def. Jim Epler, Camaro, 10.156, 93.47; Tommy Johnson Jr., Camaro, 4.939, 308.07 def. Frank Pedregon, Firebird, 5.028, 305.63; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Densham, 4.961, 311.27 def. Capps, 6.969, 120.44; Sarver, 4.964, 301.07 def. Cannon, foul; Bazemore, 5.051, 274.72 def. Johnson Jr., 9.607, 107.86; Force, 4.959, 288.33 def. Worsham, 4.971, 308.64; 

SEMIFINALS -- Bazemore, 4.850, 316.45 def. Densham, 6.181, 147.65; Force, 5.003, 282.90 def. Sarver, foul; 

FINAL -- Force, 4.853, 317.64 def. Bazemore, 5.691, 168.51. 

PRO STOCK: 

ROUND ONE -- George Marnell, Pontiac Grand Am, 7.019, 197.86 def. Tom Martino, Grand Am, 10.022, 94.09; V. Gaines, Chevy Cavalier, 7.044, 198.64 def. Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 6.999, 199.05; Ron Krisher, Cavalier, 6.988, 199.29 def. Mark Osborne, Dodge R/T, 7.095, 188.54; Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier, 7.039, 198.44 def. Darrell Alderman, R/T, 7.037, 197.88; Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 6.997, 197.83 def. Troy Coughlin, Cavalier, 7.012, 198.20; Mike Edwards, Cavalier, 6.999, 198.58 def. Brad Jeter, Grand Am, 15.549, 84.96; Jim Yates, Grand Am, 6.983, 198.67 def. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am, 7.019, 198.64; Kurt Johnson, Cavalier, 6.976, 198.85 def. Larry Morgan, R/T, 7.095, 195.28; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Edwards, 6.974, 198.61 def. Marnell, 6.988, 199.11; Krisher, 6.952, 199.32 def. Allen, 7.687, 137.47; J. Coughlin, 6.958, 198.79 def. Yates, 6.969, 199.32; K. Johnson, 6.968, 197.83 def. Gaines, 6.966, 199.37; 

SEMIFINALS -- J. Coughlin, 6.945, 199.35 def. K. Johnson, 6.938, 200.32; Edwards, 6.955, 199.43 def. Krisher, 6.922, 200.17; 

FINAL -- J. Coughlin, 6.911, 199.26 def. Edwards, 6.923, 200.05. 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 

ROUND ONE -- GT Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.374, 180.77 def. Reggie Showers, Suzuki, 7.418, 180.74; Shawn Gann, Suzuki, 7.470, 172.81 def. Blaine Hale, Kawasaki, 7.497, 179.35; Geno Scali, Suzuki, 7.379, 181.28 def. Ron Ayers, Suzuki, 7.556, 172.98; Angelle Savoie, Suzuki, 7.280, 180.31 def. Brian DeLong, Suzuki, broke; Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.406, 179.37 def. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 7.473, 176.56; Antron Brown, Suzuki, 7.338, 178.42 def. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 7.469, 183.05; Matt Hines, Suzuki, 7.363, 183.57 def. Greg Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.488, 177.30; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.430, 180.96 def. Mike Berry, Suzuki, 7.482, 177.32; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Treble, 7.360, 180.89 def. Johnson, broke; Scali, 7.338, no speed def. Hines, 7.357, 183.54; Brown, 7.316, 181.89 def. Gann, foul; Savoie, 7.259, 184.19 def. Tonglet, foul; 

SEMIFINALS -- Brown, 7.308, 179.66 def. Treble, 7.353, 183.42; Savoie, 7.295, 18.39 def. Scali, 7.503, 176.56; 

FINAL -- Savoie, 7.246, 180.14 def. Brown, foul. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the Inaugural Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals presented by American Racing Wheels at Pomona Raceway, the 13th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL: 
1. Kenny Bernstein, 1,108; 2. Larry Dixon, 1,046; 3. Doug Kalitta, 894; 4. Mike Dunn, 881; 5. Darrell Russell, 859; 6. Gary Scelzi, 845; 7. Tony Schumacher, 690; 8. Doug Herbert, 681; 9. David Grubnic, 524; 10. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 472.

FUNNY CAR: 
1. John Force, 1,149; 2. Del Worsham, 814; 3. Bruce Sarver, 799; 4. Whit Bazemore, 777; 5. Tony Pedregon, 761; 6. Ron Capps, 738; 7. Frank Pedregon, 656; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 655; 9. Dean Skuza, 603; 10. Gary Densham, 588.

PRO STOCK: 
1. Warren Johnson, 917; 2. Jim Yates, 864; 3. Jeg Coughlin, 819; 4. Mark Pawuk, 780; 5. Mike Edwards, 703; 6. Kurt Johnson, 659; 7. Mark Osborne, 654; 8. Ron Krisher, 653; 9. Bruce Allen, 618; 10. Brad Jeter, 532.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 
1. Angelle Savoie, 733; 2. Antron Brown, 679; 3. Matt Hines, 628; 4. Craig Treble, 562; 5. Geno Scali, 455; 6. GT Tonglet, 432; 7. Reggie Showers, 423; 8. Shawn Gann, 422; 9. Steve Johnson, 379; 10. Joe DeSantis, 299.

-- nhra.com

 

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