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Wed, Nov 18, 09:45 AM

1998 NHRA Winston, Federal-Mogul Champions Honored
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

CERRITOS, Calif. - Gary Scelzi, John Force, Warren Johnson, Matt Hines and Larry Kopp were honored Tuesday for winning championships in their respective professional categories at the 1998 NHRA Winston Drag Racing awards ceremony at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

While the NHRA family celebrated the accomplishments of drivers for the 1998 season, it also took a look to the future, unveiling its 25th anniversary logo for next season. NHRA and series sponsor Winston will enter their 25th year as partners in presenting professional drag racing in 1999.

Two-time Top Fuel champion Scelzi and eight-time Funny Car champ Force each received checks from Winston for $200,000. Johnson netted $125,000 for his fourth Pro Stock championship, Hines was presented $30,000 for his second consecutive Pro Stock Motorcycle title and inaugural Pro Stock Truck champion Kopp received $25,000.

NHRA Federal-Mogul Series champions were also honored. Frank Manzo (Federal-Mogul Funny Car), Rick Santos (Federal-Mogul Dragster), Bob Andrews (Competition), Dan Fletcher (Super Stock), Jeff Hefler (Stock), Gary Stinnett (Super Comp) and Jimmy Lewis (Super Gas) all earned 1998 titles.

Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin headed the list of special award winners, claiming the Winston Rookie of the Year title. Top Fuel's Doug Kalitta captured the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award.

The Good Hand award was renamed the T. Wayne Robertson Good Hand award, in memory of the late president of R.J. Reynolds' Sports Marketing Enterprises, who was killed in an early January boating accident in southern Louisiana. Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Steve Johnson accepted the newly named award on behalf of the friends of John Myers. Myers, a three-time NHRA bike champion, was killed in an early August non-racing motorcycle accident. The group came to the aid of Myers' family following the accident, and raised more than $120,000 for the John Myers Memorial Fund.

For his many years of dedication and commitment to the sport of drag racing, 87-year-old C.J. 'Pappy' Hart was presented the Don Prudhomme award.

Funny Car racer Del Worsham and his family were presented the Blaine Johnson award, recognizing the team for its continued perseverance and dedication to NHRA Winston Drag Racing.

Mike Stryker, crew chief for Warren Johnson's GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird, was named the Parts America Mechanic of the Year for his efforts in helping Johnson to a fourth Winston Pro Stock championship.

For the third consecutive year, Pontiac earned the NHRA Manufacturers Cup.

Erik Arneson of USA Today was presented the NHRA media award.

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