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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Dixon, Coughlin, And Savoie Clinch Titles and Win
Event; Force Defeats T. Pedregon at The Strip

By NHRA Communications

LAS VEGAS - Larry Dixon, Jeg Coughlin, and Angelle Savoie all clinched NHRA POWERade championships and won their respective categories Sunday at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

John Force also won in Funny Car at the $2 million race, the 23rd of 24 races in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Dixon clinched his first series crown with a second round win over Rhonda Hartman-Smith after Kenny Bernstein was upset in the first round. Shirley Muldowney made a career-best pass (4.585 seconds) and upset Bernstein in the opening round of eliminations giving Dixon the opportunity to build an insurmountable lead with only one event remaining on the schedule. Dixon was one of three champions to put an exclamation on their series title by winning the event. The 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year earned his record-tying ninth win of the season (Gary Scelzi 2000) when his Miller Lite dragster raced down the quarter-mile in 4.613 seconds at 320.28 mph ahead of Tony Schumacher's U.S. Army dragster which recorded a slower pass of 4.674 at 314.75. It was Dixon's 25th career win tying him with Scelzi for fifth all-time in Top Fuel victories.

"Down at the finish line when I saw the win light flash on in my lane, it was more of a relief than it was excitement," said Dixon. "It's been a fight all season with Kenny. We started off so strong then we started to struggle and Kenny has kept us honest all year. I'm just thrilled to have this thing wrapped up here so we can just go to Pomona and race. I told Shirley when she beat Kenny earlier this year that I would mow the lawn at her place. Now I have to go paint her house or something.

"I told Kenny last year when he beat us in the semifinals to clinch the championship that I was glad he was racing another season," said Dixon. "That way I could have a heads up battle with him and try and race him for it. Luckily, there was a rematch, and I won the rematch. It truly is an honor to be the first champ since POWERade came on. They are going to take us to the next level. I'm just glad I can give this to (Don) Snake (Prudhomme), who has planes and big old houses. Now I can give him the No. 1 on the car here in his 40th year of racing."

Dixon started the 2002 season off by winning seven of the first 11 races of the year and became just the third Top Fuel driver ever to lead the standings for the entire season (Gary Ormsby, 1989; Kelly Brown, 1978). It is the first championship for team-owner Prudhomme since he won the last of his four titles as a driver in 1978.

"On behalf of the POWERade brand and everyone in the Coca-Cola system, I congratulate Larry on his hard earned championship," said Sandy Douglas, president and chief operating officer, North America Division, The Coca-Cola Company.

Force scored his category-leading seventh win of the season and the 105th of his career when he blasted his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang down the track in 4.820 at 305.22 to defeat teammate Tony Pedregon's Castrol Syntec Mustang and its numbers of 4.869 at 301.94. It was a highly anticipated matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 drivers in the POWERade standings. The win puts Force 31 points ahead of Pedregon with the championship to be determined at the season finale, the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway, Nov. 7-10.

"We have always tried to help each one of my three teams climb in the standings if we met head-to-head in the past," said Force. "But once the championship was locked up, we just wanted to keep it away from GM. It's hard because I was rooting for Tony to take out Worsham (in the second round), and there I am against Densham and if he takes me out, Densham moves up in the points. But, I'm still trying to win 10 straight championships and Tony says he's just trying to win one straight. We just gave (the fans) some good old drag racing.

"It's hard for me because we have been teammates for such a long time and (Tony) is such a good kid and he can really drive a race car. I know it was big for me to win here in Vegas. You never know when the winning is going to stop."

Coughlin locked up his second Pro Stock title en route to his 31st career win as his Chevy Cavalier left the line first and made it to the end of the track in 6.969 at 198.55, just ahead of Warren Johnson's Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am which posted a quicker run of 6.929 at 199.23.

"This 2002 Pro Stock season has been unbelievable," said Coughlin. "With the Coca-Cola Company and POWERade coming on board, it's just been an honor to represent the NHRA and Team Jeg's in Pro Stock and win the first championship. This feels unbelievably great since the competition has been phenomenal.

"This POWERade series this year has been full of remarkable feats. The qualifying records, low elapsed time records, top speed records, and for us to win eight races so far this season is just remarkable and we're very proud of it. I have the greatest family in motorsports and it also takes a big team effort behind the scenes to succeed."

"The competition this year in the Pro Stock category was incredible, and Jeg's championship defines what perseverance, dedication, and teamwork are all about," said Douglas. "On behalf of the POWERade brand and everyone in the Coca-Cola system, I congratulate Jeg on a great season and a well deserved POWERade championship."

Savoie won her third consecutive title when Craig Treble was mathematically eliminated when he left the starting line early against Savoie in the semifinals. She tied Muldowney for the most series titles earned by a female competitor in NHRA history. Her victory over Treble set up her final round meeting with Matt Hines. Savoie left the starting line first and scored the 28th victory of her career when she shut the clocks off at 7.247 at 183.99 and outran Hines' quicker numbers of 7.218 at 190.65 for her sixth win this year atop her Mohegan Sun Suzuki.

"This has probably been the roughest year of my career," said Savoie. "There were a couple of times during the season when I wasn't sure if I was going to make it mentally with everything going on in my life. The first championship was definitely the best, but this one I have worked the hardest for, more than the first two put together. Now that I've tied Shirley, I feel legitimate because that's big. What she has done for women in our sport is amazing. It is really an honor to be equal to her.

"To beat Matt on a holeshot is an awesome feeling too. That was our fastest run of the weekend in the final and Matt was still faster. I don't know what they did, but they had an awesome tune-up to get a 21 out there. I hope that (.401) reaction time wasn't a fluke, but the longer he took to stage, the more focused I became."

"On behalf of the POWERade brand and everyone in the Coca-Cola system, I congratulate Angelle on her incredible performance this season," said Douglas. "Her third straight Pro Stock Bike series championship truly epitomizes the 'Very Real Power' of POWERade and the NHRA."

LAS VEGAS -- Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the Second annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The $2 million race is the 22nd of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:
1. Larry Dixon; 2. Tony Schumacher; 3. Andrew Cowin; 4. Doug Herbert; 5. Shirley Muldowney; 6. Rhonda Hartman-Smith; 7. Darrell Russell; 8. Doug Kalitta; 9. Cory McClenathan; 10. Scott Weis; 11. Yuichi Oyama; 12. Melanie Troxel; 13. David Grubnic; 14. Kenny Bernstein; 15. John Smith; 16. Mike Strasburg.

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

PRO STOCK:
1. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cavalier; 2. Warren Johnson, Pontiac Grand Am; 3. Allen Johnson, Dodge Neon R/T; 4. Greg Stanfield, Neon R/T; 5. Kurt Johnson, Cavalier; 6. Ron Krisher, Cavalier; 7. Tom Hammonds, Cavalier; 8. Gene Wilson, Neon R/T; 9. Bruce Allen, Grand Am; 10. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am; 11. Mike Edwards, Cavalier; 12. V. Gaines, Cavalier; 13. Scott Geoffrion, Ford Mustang; 14. George Marnell, Grand Am; 15. Larry Nance, Cavalier; 16. Tom Lee, Neon R/T.

PRO STOCK BIKE:
1. Angelle Savoie, Suzuki; 2. Matt Hines, Suzuki; 3. Craig Treble, Suzuki; 4. Shawn Gann, Suzuki; 5. Geno Scali, Kawasaki; 6. Antron Brown, Suzuki; 7. Reggie Showers, Suzuki; 8. Fred Camarena, Suzuki; 9. Andrew Hines, Suzuki; 10. Michael Phillips, Suzuki; 11. Sam Hurwitz, Suzuki; 12. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki; 13. Thomas Miceli, Suzuki; 14. John Smith, Suzuki; 15. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki; 16. Sean Conner, Suzuki.

LAS VEGAS -- Sunday's final results from the second annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The $2 million race is the 22nd of 23 in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Larry Dixon, 4.613 seconds, 320.28 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 4.674 seconds, 314.75 mph.

Funny Car -- John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.820, 305.22 def. Tony Pedregon, Mustang, 4.869, 301.94.

Pro Stock -- Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cavalier, 6.969, 198.55 def. Warren Johnson, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.929, 199.23.

Pro Stock Bike -- Angelle Savoie, Suzuki, 7.247, 183.99 def. Matt Hines, Suzuki, 7.218, 190.65.

Competition Eliminator -- Adam Bowdish, Trans Am, 9.474, 111.57 def. Jeff Gillette, Dragster, 8.521, 110.84.

Super Stock -- Jerry Jenkins, Plymouth Barracuda, 9.038, 148.02 def. Korey Mawhee, Oldsmobile Achieva, 10.261, 130.82.

Stock Eliminator -- Al Corda, Pontiac Firebird, 10.534, 121.97 def. Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 10.813, 109.80.

Super Comp -- Grant Pederson, Dragster, 9.056, 169.91 def. Dick Vander Meer, Dragster, 9.013, 168.05.

Super Gas -- Bill Leber Jr, Chevy Corvette, 10.091, 146.69 def. John Peterson, Pontiac Grand Prix, 10.066, 144.47.

Super Street -- Ray Todd, Chevy II, 11.087, 131.29 def. Vince Porter, Datsun, foul.

LAS VEGAS -- Final round-by-round results from the Second annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 22nd of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series -

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE -- Darrell Russell, 4.804, 292.39 def. David Grubnic, 9.007, 82.51; Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 4.646, 316.97 def. Cory McClenathan, 4.633, 319.22; Andrew Cowin, 4.569, 328.38 def. John Smith, 10.981, 101.36; Shirley Muldowney, 4.585, 317.64 def. Kenny Bernstein, 9.051, 78.26; Tony Schumacher, 4.598, 326.48 def. Yuichi Oyama, 6.118, 140.61; Doug Kalitta, 4.592, 321.81 def. Melanie Troxel, 6.401, 135.73; Doug Herbert, 4.621, 317.94 def. Mike Strasburg, 12.258, 95.52; Larry Dixon, 4.626, 321.81 def. Scott Weis, 4.867, 294.24;

QUARTERFINALS -- Dixon, 4.589, 323.35 def. Hartman-Smith, 4.671, 308.50; Schumacher, 4.647, 319.22 def. Muldowney, 4.643, 322.34; Herbert, 4.615, 293.98 def. Russell, 11.295, 84.12; Cowin, 4.621, 321.42 def. Kalitta, 11.752, 84.66;

SEMIFINALS -- Schumacher, 4.641, 317.94 def. Herbert, 5.185, 213.30; Dixon, 4.622, 323.12 def. Cowin, foul;
FINAL -- Dixon, 4.613, 320.28 def. Schumacher, 4.674, 314.75.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE -- John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.920, 304.87 def. Frank Pedregon, Pontiac Firebird, 7.662, 115.42; Whit Bazemore, Firebird, 5.045, 322.11 def. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird, 6.774, 130.59; Tony Pedregon, Mustang, 4.858, 314.31 def. Bob Gilbertson, Firebird, 8.218, 99.51; Bruce Sarver, Toyota Celica, 4.879, 300.40 def. Bob Bode, Firebird, 9.545, 82.70; Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.817, 321.04 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Firebird, 7.187, 117.04; Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro, 4.890, 316.45 def. Scotty Cannon, Firebird, 5.332, 200.44; Del Worsham, Firebird, 5.584, 242.41 def. Dean Skuza, Dodge Stratus R/T, 6.698, 131.75; Tim Wilkerson, Firebird, 4.936, 302.82 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Camaro, 7.655, 108.28;

QUARTERFINALS -- Capps, 4.883, 317.49 def. Bazemore, 6.737, 131.04; Wilkerson, 4.884, 311.63 def. Sarver, broke; Force, 4.803, 323.19 def. Densham, 8.035, 106.61; T. Pedregon, 4.897, 307.72 def. Worsham, 4.888, 317.42;

SEMIFINALS -- T. Pedregon, 4.923, 310.63 def. Capps, 4.962, 297.48; Force, 4.846, 320.51 def. Wilkerson, 4.844, 313.80;

FINAL -- Force, 4.820, 305.22 def. T. Pedregon, 4.869, 301.94.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE -- Allen Johnson, Dodge Neon R/T, 6.976, 198.55 def. George Marnell, Pontiac Grand Am, 7.006, 197.05; Tom Hammonds, Chevy Cavalier, 6.967, 197.65 def. V. Gaines, Cavalier, foul; Gene Wilson, Neon R/T, 6.960, 198.38 def. Mike Edwards, Cavalier, 6.987, 197.88; Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.938, 198.55 def. Scott Geoffrion, Ford Mustang, 6.999, 194.52; Ron Krisher, Cavalier, 6.932, 198.96 def. Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 6.971, 197.62; Greg Stanfield, Neon R/T, 6.947, 198.15 def. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am, 6.982, 197.48; Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 6.932, 198.82 def. Tom Lee, Neon R/T, foul; Kurt Johnson, Cavalier, 6.945, 199.26 def. Larry Nance, Cavalier, foul;

QUARTERFINALS -- Stanfield, 6.947, 198.20 def. Wilson, 6.972, 198.15; A. Johnson, 6.966, 199.08 def. K. Johnson, 6.923, 199.64; W. Johnson, 6.938, 199.02 def. Hammonds, 6.968, 197.57; J. Coughlin, 6.948, 198.50 def. Krisher, 6.952, 198.99;

SEMIFINALS -- J. Coughlin, 6.984, 198.23 def. A. Johnson, foul; W. Johnson, 6.932, 198.67 def. Stanfield, foul;
FINAL -- J. Coughlin, 6.969, 198.55 def. W. Johnson, 6.929, 199.23.

PRO STOCK BIKE:

ROUND ONE -- Fred Camarena, Suzuki, 7.410, 183.29 def. Sam Hurwitz, Suzuki, 7.440, 175.94; Geno Scali, Kawasaki, 7.486, 181.42 def. John Smith, Suzuki, 8.052, 128.75; Reggie Showers, Suzuki, 7.394, 184.30 def. Andrew Hines, Suzuki, foul; Angelle Savoie, Suzuki, 7.308, 179.90 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 8.855, 103.64; Matt Hines, Suzuki, 7.274, 189.34 def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.355, 185.51; Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.319, 181.57 def. Thomas Miceli, Suzuki, foul; Antron Brown, Suzuki, 7.344, 184.77 def. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 7.443, 180.91; Shawn Gann, Suzuki, 7.413, 184.83 def. Sean Conner, Suzuki, broke;

QUARTERFINALS -- Gann, 7.393, 185.64 def. Brown, 7.422, 183.17; Treble, 7.303, 181.76 def. Showers, foul; Savoie, 7.293, 182.72 def. Scali, 7.405, 181.94; M. Hines, 7.298, 188.75 def. Camarena, foul;

SEMIFINALS -- M. Hines, 7.339, 183.72 def. Gann, foul; Savoie, 7.288, 181.98 def. Treble, foul;
FINAL -- Savoie, 7.247, 183.99 def. M. Hines, 7.218, 190.65.

LAS VEGAS -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the second annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 22nd of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel

1. Larry Dixon, 1,914; 2. Kenny Bernstein, 1,724; 3. Tony Schumacher, 1,397; 4. Doug Kalitta, 1,369; 5. Cory McClenathan, 1,310; 6. Darrell Russell, 1,305; 7. Doug Herbert, 1,260; 8. Andrew Cowin, 1,062; 9. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 943; 10. John Smith, 815.

Funny Car

1. John Force, 1,658; 2. Tony Pedregon, 1,627; 3. Del Worsham, 1,407; 4. Gary Densham, 1,376; 5. Whit Bazemore, 1,175; 6. Ron Capps, 1,094; 7. Scotty Cannon, 1,091; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 1,038; 9. Dean Skuza, 964; 10. Johnny Gray, 890.

Pro Stock

1. Jeg Coughlin, 1,592; 2. Jim Yates, 1,380; 3. Greg Anderson, 1,292; 4. Warren Johnson, 1,218; 5. Ron Krisher, 1,134; 6. Kurt Johnson, 1,041; 7. Mike Edwards, 953; 8. Allen Johnson, 916; 9. Mark Whisnant, 830; 10. George Marnell, 825.

Pro Stock Bike

1. Angelle Savoie, 1,308; 2. Craig Treble, 1,094; 3. Antron Brown, 950; 4. Matt Hines, 941; 5. Shawn Gann, 901; 6. Geno Scali, 644; 7. Reggie Showers, 605; 8. Mike Berry, 540; 9. John Smith, 505; 10. Steve Johnson, 472.

NHRA Communications

 

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