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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

NHRA Advance Auto Parts Nationals Results

By motorsport.com

TOPEKA, Kan. - Gary Scelzi scored his seventh victory of the season Sunday at the Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, breaking the longstanding NHRA single-season win record in the 6,000 horsepower category. John Force, Jeg Coughlin and Bob Panella also were winners in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race at Heartland Park Topeka, the 19th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

The record-breaking win was a nice payback for Scelzi after the two spectacular crashes he experienced here one year ago. "To do anything where your name is mentioned with (Don) Garlits is big," said Scelzi of breaking the record that Garlits first established in 1985 and seven others have tied over the years. "To do it here at Topeka, especially after last year, is a special win for me. This one is right up there with my first Top Fuel win and my first win in Federal-Mogul Dragster. I think I've got three favorites now." 

The Fresno, Calif. driver took a holeshot start in his Team Winston dragster and never looked back, defeating final round opponent Doug Kalitta. Scelzi covered the quarter-mile distance in 4.672 seconds at 303.64 mph to edge Kalitta's MGM Grand dragster at the finish line, which recorded a 4.676 at 303.16. "Since I had lost the last two races by a few inches I decided to stage the car a little deeper in the final round to get a little bit of a head start," said Scelzi, who posted an incredible .438 reaction time in the final. 

"I knew he was going to be quick, so I was ready. What a day. This is awesome." Scelzi increased his Winston lead to 49 over Tony Schumacher, who lost in the semifinals. "I came into the race with only an eight point lead, and to leave with 49 is a little better, but it's still not enough," Scelzi said. "I just hope we can continue this hot streak and race smart and hopefully get us another Winston championship."

Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., claimed his 90th career Funny Car victory and seventh at HPT, as he drove away from the tire-smoking U.S. Tobacco Chevy Camaro of Ron Capps in the final. Force ran 4.933 at 291.82 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang as Capps' machine limped to the finish in 8.875 at 91.65. "I really don't think about winning 90," said Force, the all-time NHRA win leader, who defeated Phil Burkart in a close first round affair, then edged Jim Epler in another photo finish before beating championship rival Jerry Toliver in the semifinals. 

He was definitely battle-tested for the final against Capps, who hasn't won since this event in '98. "We knew (Ed) McCulloch (Capps crew chief) was going to load it up for the final and that Capps would be good on the tree, and he was," Force continued. "We made the right calls and won the race. It feels good. There was some great racing out here today in all the classes." Capps, who is 0 for 6 in finals this season, stayed positive despite the runner-up finish. 

"It's very frustrating to be in as many final rounds and not be able to win," said Capps. "We can't hold our heads too low because we have to realize that being in the final round is a pretty big achievement with as much talent as we have in Funny Car right now." 

Force dedicated the victory to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park track owner Vinnie Napp, who passed away Saturday morning after a lengthy battle with cancer. "If you believe like I do, you know that loved ones who have moved on are up there watching over you," Force said. "Vinnie gave me my first chance to match race on the East Coast and was one of the guys who I really looked up to and respected as a business man. We're going to miss him and this race is for him." 

Force extended his Winston points lead to 272 over Toliver as he prepares to close the deal on his 10th NHRA Winston championship. "I want to win that tenth championship real bad," said Force. "We're still not done, but we're trying."

Coughlin, from Columbus, Ohio, earned his ninth Pro Stock victory of the season, outrunning veteran Darrell Alderman in the final. Coughlin overcame a holeshot start by Alderman and drove his Oldsmobile Cutlass to the win by posting a 7.022 at 195.36. Alderman's Dodge Avenger covered the same distance in 7.083 at 194.58. The victory puts Coughlin in position to wrap up his first Winston championship at the AutoZone Nationals presented by Pennzoil next weekend (Oct. 5-8) at Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park. 

"Everyone on the team is really focused and we have the car running really consistent," said Coughlin, who leads second place challenger Kurt Johnson by 425. "The car is a lot of fun to drive. This win means a lot because the championship is winding down and this gets another one under our belt. We've got four great races left and hopefully we can get the job done here pretty soon."

Panella, from Stockton, Calif., scored his fifth victory of the season in Pro Stock Truck and moved closer to his second Winston series title, clocking a 7.672 at 175.16 in his Chevy S-10 to take the win over first time finalist Dave Spitzer, who posted a 7.698 at 174.37 in a GMC Sonoma. With the victory, he moves 172 points ahead of Randy Daniels with three Truck races remaining on the schedule. 

"We just tried to make four good runs today," said Panella, who outran Jim Naiser, Mike Coughlin and points rival Daniels to advance to the final round. "We were trying not to think about the championship, but it was definitely in the back of my mind. We're just going to try and win some more races and keep plugging away."

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The $1.9 million race is the 19th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

1. Gary Scelzi; 2. Doug Kalitta; 3. Tony Schumacher; 4. Cory McClenathan; 5. Joe Amato; 6. Bob Vandergriff; 7. Larry Dixon; 8. Melanie Troxel; 9. Kenny Bernstein; 10. Doug Herbert; 11. Rhonda Hartman-Smith; 12. Don Lampus; 13. David Grubnic; 14. Tim Gibson; 15. Paul Romine; 16. Luigi Novelli.

FUNNY CAR:

1. John Force, '00 Ford Mustang; 2. Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro; 3. Del Worsham, Pontiac Firebird; 4. Jerry Toliver, Firebird; 5. Tony Pedregon, Mustang; 6. Jim Epler, Camaro; 7. Frank Pedregon, Firebird; 8. Scotty Cannon, Camaro; 9. Whit Bazemore, Camaro; 10. Gary Densham, Firebird; 11. Al Hofmann, Firebird; 12. Tim Wilkerson, Firebird; 13. Phil Burkart, Camaro; 14. Bob Gilbertson, Camaro; 15. Bruce Sarver, Firebird; 16. Cristen Powell, Camaro.

PRO STOCK:

1. Jeg Coughlin, Oldsmobile Cutlass; 2. Darrell Alderman, Dodge Avenger; 3. Warren Johnson, Pontiac Firebird; 4. Mark Pawuk, Firebird; 5. Kurt Johnson, Chevy Camaro; 6. Scott Geoffrion, Avenger; 7. Jim Yates, Firebird; 8. Rickie Smith, Camaro; 9. Bruce Allen, Firebird; 10. Ron Krisher, Firebird; 11. Troy Coughlin, Cutlass; 12. Larry Morgan, Avenger; 13. V. Gaines, Camaro; 14. Brad Jeter, Firebird; 15. Richie Stevens, Firebird; 16. George Marnell, Firebird.

PRO STOCK TRUCK:

1. Bob Panella Jr, Chevy S-10; 2. David Spitzer, GMC Sonoma; 3. Randy Daniels, S-10; 4. John Coughlin, S-10; 5. Todd Patterson, Dodge Dakota; 6. Brian Self, S-10; 7. Mike Coughlin, S-10; 8. Jeff Gracia, S-10; 9. John Lingenfelter, Sonoma; 10. Don Smith, S-10; 11. Greg Stanfield, S-10; 12. Steve Johns, S-10; 13. Bart Price, S-10; 14. Mark Whisnant, S-10; 15. Jeff Naiser, S-10; 16. Larry Kopp, S-10.

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Sunday's final results from the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The $1.9 million race is the 19th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Gary Scelzi, 4.672 seconds, 303.64 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 4.676 seconds, 303.16 mph.

Funny Car -- John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.933, 291.82 def. Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro, 8.875, 91.65.

Pro Stock -- Jeg Coughlin, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 7.022, 195.36 def. Darrell Alderman, Dodge Avenger, 7.083, 194.58.

Pro Stock Truck -- Bob Panella Jr, Chevy S-10, 7.672, 175.16 def. David Spitzer, GMC Sonoma, 7.698, 174.37.

Federal-Mogul Dragster -- Gary Ormsby, Jr., 5.548, 251.02 def. Billy Bybee, 5.639, 252.28.

Federal-Mogul Funny Car -- Pat Austin, Pontiac Firebird, 5.758, 250.09 def. Cy Chesterman, Pontiac Trans Am, 6.631, 153.91.

Comp Eliminator -- David Rampy, 1932 Roadster, 7.611, 150.63 def. Larry Mayes, Oldsmobile Achieva, foul.

Super Stock -- Scott Pearson, AMX, 11.070, 108.20 def. Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 11.000, 119.25.

Stock -- Bub Miller, AMC, 13.620, 84.78 def. James Paul, Plymouth Valiant, foul.

Super Comp -- Allen Firestone, Chevrolet Beretta, 8.906, 153.61 def. Tony Collier, Dragster, 8.888, 157.52.

Super Gas -- Bill Mitchell, Chevy Corvette, 9.909, 138.80 def. Brian Folk, Chevy Cavalier, 9.891, 143.80.

Super Street -- Dwight Downing, Plymouth Arrow, 10.918, 124.65 def. Randy Davin, Chevy Camaro, 11.020, 141.06.

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Final round-by-round results from the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the 19th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE -- Bob Vandergriff, 4.804, 298.14 def. Don Lampus, 4.897, 270.75; Melanie Troxel, 4.685, 312.06 def. David Grubnic, 5.190, 187.65; Larry Dixon, 4.663, 30.10 def. Doug Herbert, 4.714, 303.16; Cory McClenathan, 4.706, 308.14 def. Tim Gibson, 8.796, 86.90; Gary Scelzi, 4.610, 311.70 def. Luigi Novelli, 10.208, 86.53; Tony Schumacher, 4.638, 313.07 def. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 4.719, 304.74; Joe Amato, 4.673, 311.77 def. Kenny Bernstein, 4.685, 309.34; Doug Kalitta, 4.632, 307.44 def. Paul Romine, 9.010, 75.92;

QUARTERFINALS -- McClenathan, 4.675, 303.37 def. Amato, 4.717, 298.93; Schumacher, 4.708, 303.64 def. Troxel, 8.030, 108.56; Kalitta, 4.624, 303.57 def. Dixon, 7.731, 93.68; Scelzi, 4.617, 310.48 def. Vandergriff, 4.738, 291.45;

SEMIFINALS -- Kalitta, 4.651, 302.69 def. Schumacher, 4.692, 303.78; Scelzi, 4.662, 305.56 def. McClenathan, 4.718, 298.93;

FINAL -- Scelzi, 4.672, 303.64 def. Kalitta, 4.676, 303.16.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE -- Jerry Toliver, Pontiac Firebird, 4.899, 302.75 def. Tim Wilkerson, Firebird, 5.013, 299.66; Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro, 4.958, 296.50 def. Bob Gilbertson, Camaro, 5.203, 263.26; John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.970, 292.08 def. Phil Burkart, Camaro, 5.018, 305.22; Frank Pedregon, Firebird, 4.934, 293.92 def. Al Hofmann, Firebird, 4.993, 300.20; Tony Pedregon, Mustang, 4.935, 295.46 def. Gary Densham, Firebird, 4.945, 308.28; Scotty Cannon, Camaro, 5.702, 171.90 def. Cristen Powell, Camaro, 8.666, 98.83; Del Worsham, Firebird, 4.973, 267.22 def. Bruce Sarver, Firebird, 6.468, 135.14; Jim Epler, Camaro, 4.927, 303.43 def. Whit Bazemore, Camaro, 4.938, 305.84;

QUARTERFINALS -- Capps, 4.987, 294.82 def. Cannon, foul; Toliver, 4.950, 295.66 def. T. Pedregon, 4.975, 290.82; Force, 4.939, 298.01 def. Epler, 4.976, 298.47; Worsham, 5.016, 298.01 def. F. Pedregon, 5.223, 234.74;

SEMIFINALS -- Capps, 4.938, 290.32 def. Worsham, 4.992, 290.19; Force, 4.923, 293.47 def. Toliver, 5.943, 164.13;

FINAL -- Force, 4.933, 291.82 def. Capps, 8.875, 91.65.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE -- Scott Geoffrion, Dodge Avenger, 6.999, 196.82 def. Bruce Allen, Pontiac Firebird, 6.986, 196.70; Mark Pawuk, Firebird, 6.997, 196.73 def. Richie Stevens, Firebird, 7.046, 194.72; Darrell Alderman, Avenger, 6.965, 196.56 def. V. Gaines, Chevy Camaro, 7.026, 195.79; Jim Yates, Firebird, 6.962, 196.79 def. George Marnell, Firebird, 8.048, 126.36; Warren Johnson, Firebird, 6.960, 197.28 def. Brad Jeter, Firebird, 7.028, 196.24; Kurt Johnson, Camaro, 6.973, 197.13 def. Troy Coughlin, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 7.014, 196.76; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 7.004, 196.33 def. Ron Krisher, Firebird, 7.003, 196.22; Jeg Coughlin, Cutlass, 6.964, 196.33 def. Larry Morgan, Avenger, 7.017, 196.44;

QUARTERFINALS -- Pawuk, 7.003, 196.03 def. Smith, 7.070, 194.80; Alderman, 7.004, 195.25 def. K. Johnson, 7.043, 196.53; J. Coughlin, 6.991, 196.47 def. Geoffrion, 7.044, 196.33; W. Johnson, 7.021, 195.51 def. Yates, 7.049, 196.22;

SEMIFINALS -- Alderman, 7.089, 195.19 def. Pawuk, broke; J. Coughlin, 7.014, 195.85 def. W. Johnson, 7.028, 196.44;

FINAL -- J. Coughlin, 7.022, 195.36 def. Alderman, 7.083, 194.58.

PRO STOCK TRUCK:

ROUND ONE -- Mike Coughlin, Chevy S-10, 7.641, 176.17 def. Bart Price, S-10, 7.642, 176.30; Todd Patterson, Dodge Dakota, 7.633, 175.50 def. John Lingenfelter, GMC Sonoma, 7.608, 175.98; David Spitzer, Sonoma, 7.635, 175.32 def. Mark Whisnant, S-10, 7.649, 175.75; John Coughlin, S-10, 7.661, 175.64 def. Steve Johns, S-10, 7.628, 176.26; Jeff Gracia, S-10, 7.659, 175.87 def. Larry Kopp, S-10, 7.705, 174.68; Brian Self, S-10, 7.681, 174.19 def. Greg Stanfield, S-10, 7.626, 176.56; Bob Panella Jr, S-10, 7.581, 177.11 def. Jeff Naiser, S-10, 7.698, 174.80; Randy Daniels, S-10, 7.599, 176.81 def. Don Smith, S-10, 7.619, 176.10;

QUARTERFINALS -- Spitzer, 7.652, 174.87 def. Self, 7.699, 174.68; J. Coughlin, 7.702, 175.39 def. Patterson, 7.693, 174.41; Daniels, 7.629, 176.24 def. Gracia, 7.760, 175.59; Panella Jr, 7.643, 175.46 def. M. Coughlin, 7.703, 175.37;

SEMIFINALS -- Spitzer, 7.668, 174.57 def. J. Coughlin, 7.756, 174.39; Panella Jr, 7.617, 176.88 def. Daniels, 7.702, 175.05;

FINAL Panella Jr, 7.672, 175.16 def. Spitzer, 7.698, 174.37.

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the 19th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

1. Gary Scelzi, 1,548; 2. Tony Schumacher, 1,499; 3. Larry Dixon, 1,348; 4. Joe Amato, 1,224; 5. Doug Kalitta, 1,193; 6. Kenny Bernstein, 1,155; 7. Cory McClenathan, 954; 8. Bob Vandergriff, 830; 9. Doug Herbert, 797; 10. David Grubnic, 700.

FUNNY CAR:

1. John Force, 1,591; 2. Jerry Toliver, 1,319; 3. Ron Capps, 1,264; 4. Tony Pedregon, 1,167; 5. Jim Epler, 1,090; 6. Scotty Cannon, 925; 7. Del Worsham, 905; 8. Whit Bazemore, 853; 9. Dean Skuza, 843; 10. Bruce Sarver, 819.

PRO STOCK:

1. Jeg Coughlin, 1,710; 2. Kurt Johnson, 1,285; 3. Ron Krisher, 1,233; 4. Warren Johnson, 1,187; 5. Mark Pawuk, 999; 6. Troy Coughlin, 957; 7. Richie Stevens, 902; 8. Jim Yates, 892; 9. Darrell Alderman, 780; 10. Tom Martino, 714.

PRO STOCK TRUCK:

1. Bob Panella Jr, 1,129; 2. Randy Daniels, 957; 3. John Coughlin, 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.

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