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NHRA LODRS IHRA Drag News Photos
Sun, 31 Oct 1999, 11:42 PM

Dixon, Force, Smith and Mullen Cruise to Victory
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

At Record-Setting Houston Raceway Park



BAYTOWN, Texas - John Force put an exclamation point on an already impressive season with his eleventh victory of the year Sunday at the third annual Matco Tools Supernationals presented by Racing Champions.

Larry Dixon, Rickie Smith and Tony Mullen were also winners in their respective categories at the $1.7 million race at Houston Raceway Park. The event was the 21st of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Yorba Linda, Calif.'s Force, who clinched his ninth NHRA Winston Funny Car championship last week, covered the quarter-mile in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang in 4.844 at 318.02 which was more than enough to earn the win over Jim Epler who lost traction and cruised to 6.508 at 132.99. "You want to win for the guys on the team," said Force. "They all work hard. We made our car run what we thought it could run. The conditions were real good today."

Force and his teammate, Tony Pedregon, won all four races this year in the state of Texas, with Force winning both events in Houston. Force sped past Scott Weiss, Pedregon and Jerry Toliver on his way to the final. Force now has 81 career national event victories and is four short of Bob Glidden's all-time record.

"If I could reach 85 I would be happy," said Force. "Records like Glidden's you go after for fun. But how can you compare...I'm pushing for it." Dixon, from San Diego, won for the second time this year when he sped down the track in his Top Fuel dragster in 4.595 seconds at 314.61 mph to out last Gary Scelzi and his run of 4.702 at 289.14. It was the second Top Fuel victory for crew chief Dick LaHaie. He was the tuned Doug Herbert's dragster who won the event held here in April.

"I'm especially happy for Dick LaHaie," said Dixon. "He kind of got thrown into this so (former crew chief Dale) Armstrong could go work on (teammate Ron) Capps' Funny Car. We're working on the year 2000. Maybe we are a little bit ahead of schedule."

Dixon drove past Mike Smith, Kenny Bernstein and Bob Vandergriff on his way to victory.

"The kid did a helluva job," said team owner Don Prudhomme. "We're just really proud of him."

Runner-up Scelzi did manage to gain an extra 20 points in the Winston points chase when he set a new national elapsed time record with his 4.480 semifinal victory over current points leader Tony Schumacher. It was the fourth national record set at the always-quick Houston Raceway. All Schumacher need to clinch his first Winston championship is qualify at the last race of the year.

Smith, from King, N.C., won his first event since 1993 on a hole shot in his Howard & Williams Racing Pontiac Firebird when he went the distance in 6.928 at 199.29 to defeat Tom Martino and his run of 6.898 at 198.55. Prior to Martino, Smith advanced to the final by defeating Kurt Johnson, Troy Coughlin and Mike Thomas earlier in the day."

"Today we shined and I demonstrated I can still do this," said Smith. "We just haven't had a ride and I haven't had a sponsorship since about 1994. I've been up and down handling different crew chief jobs, but when you run only three or four races a year, you're going to have good races and bad races...The other racers know that I'm here most of the time. I just appreciate everyone staying behind me. It worked out good for me."

The already crowned NHRA Winston Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson set a new national record for speed when he reached 202.36 during qualifying.

Hometown favorite Mullen, from Houston, earned his first career victory when his opponent David Schultz left the line too early. Mullen managed to run a 7.249 at 184.09. Mullen defeated Chris Reuter, teammate Antron Brown, and Angelle Seeling before meeting Schultz in the final.

"Dave has been my idol since I was racing in sportsman motorcycles," said Mullen. To be able to beat him in the finals of an NHRA event, I just don't know how that happened. It's been a long time coming and it's sweet, real sweet. It's consistency that has paid off."

Matt Hines set a Pro Stock Motorcycle national record for elapsed time for the second time this year. He blistered to 7.514 pass on his first round victory over Brian Ayers. In his second round victory, his speed of 191.48 was also a new national record. Hines is 14 points behind Seeling in the NHRA Winston points standings with one race remaining.

The NHRA's next event is the last event of the year, the 35th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, in Pomona, Calif.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Sunday's final results from the 3rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions at Houston Raceway Park. The $1.7-million race is the 21st of 22 events in the $40-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel - Larry Dixon, San Diego, 4.595 seconds, 314.61 mph def. Gary Scelzi, Fresno, Calif., 4.702 seconds, 289.14 mph.

Funny Car - John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Ford Mustang, 4.844, 318.02 def. Jim Epler, Phoenix, Pontiac Firebird, 6.508, 132.99.

Pro Stock - Rickie Smith, King, N.C., Pontiac Firebird, 6.928, 199.29 def. Tom Martino, Farmingdale, N.J., Firebird, 6.898, 198.55.

Pro Stock Bike - Tony Mullen, Bradenton, Fla., Suzuki GSXR, 7.249, 184.09 def. David Schultz, Fort Myers, Fla., Suzuki, foul.

Federal-Mogul Dragster - Rick Santos, San Leandro, Calif., 5.439, 256.26 def. Melanie Troxel, Littleton, Colo., 5.429, 259.46.

Federal-Mogul Funny Car - Pat Austin, Tacoma, Wash., Pontiac Firebird, 5.634, 256.36 def. Tony Bartone, Manhasset, N.Y., Chevrolet Camaro, 5.640, 250.78.

Comp Eliminator - Joey Tanksley, Greenwell Sprgs, La., Dragster, 6.931, 189.92 def. Buddy Nickens, Houston, Dodge Avenger, 7.605, 166.60.

Super Stock - Smylie Little, Crystal Sprgs, Miss., Oldsmobile Achieva, broke def. Terry Pearson, Spanish Fort, Ala., Achieva, foul.

Stock - Toby Lang, Auburn, Wash., Chevrolet Chevelle, 12.437, 74.96 def. Ronnie West, Lafayette, La., Dodge, 13.183, 56.65.

Super Comp - Steve Lambert, Highlands, Texas, Dragster, 8.916, 169.02 def. David Rampy, Piedmont,, Ala., Dragster, 8.909, 162.49.

Super Gas - Gary Don Free, Dallas, Pontiac Firebird, 9.937, 150.08 def. Mitch Truman, Hurst, Texas, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 9.939, 151.75.

Super Street - Bryan Sandlin, Baytown, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 10.954, 121.09 def. Paul Martinez, Houston, Chevrolet Chevelle, 10.924, 123.09.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Final round-by-round results from the 3rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions at Houston Raceway Park, the 21st of 22 events in the $40-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE -- Tony Schumacher, Park Ridge, Ill., 4.569, 323.04 def. Randy Parks, Lombard, Ill., 4.669, 312.57; Doug Kalitta, Ann Arbor, Mich., 4.583, 306.05 def. Cory McClenathan, Anaheim, Calif., 4.628, 288.64; Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest, Calif., 4.567, 317.12 def. Joe Amato, Exeter, Pa., 10.774, 87.72; Gary Scelzi, Fresno, Calif., 4.514, 319.37 def. Jim Head, Columbus, Ohio, 11.788, 72.52; Bob Vandergriff, Cumming, Ga., 6.328, 248.29 def. Doug Foxworth, Lytle, Texas, 10.191, 88.23; Doug Herbert, Cherryville, N.C., 4.612, 310.98 def. Mike Dunn, Wrightsville, Pa., 10.590, 80.28; Larry Dixon, San Diego, 4.593, 312.93 def. Mike Smith, Round Rock, Texas, 10.581, 82.66; Tim Gibson, Irvine, Calif., 6.397, 129.05 def. Eddie Hill, Wichita Falls, Texas, No Show;

QUARTERFINALS -- Vandergriff, 4.594, 315.86 def. Kalitta, 4.567, 310.20; Schumacher, 4.585, 325.30 def. Herbert, 11.682, 88.41; Dixon, 4.577, 312.21 def. Bernstein, broke; Scelzi, 4.554, 320.51 def. Gibson, 6.118, 160.40;

SEMIFINALS -- Dixon, 4.584, 314.09 def. Vandergriff, 4.708, 314.68; Scelzi, 4.480, 312.21 def. Schumacher, 11.351, 77.26;

FINAL -- Dixon, 4.595, 314.61 def. Scelzi, 4.702, 289.14.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE -- Jerry Toliver, Huntington Beach, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette, 5.057, 298.73 def. Dean Skuza, Brecksville, Ohio, Dodge Avenger, 5.078, 259.81; Kenny Sayers, Houston, Corvette, 6.098, 187.03 def. Whit Bazemore, Indianapolis, Chevrolet Camaro, 7.846, 128.05; John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Ford Mustang, 4.847, 319.07 def. Scott Weis, Ashland, Va., Mustang, 13.715, 81.58; Tommy Johnson Jr., Ottumwa, Iowa, Pontiac Firebird, 6.022, 293.92 def. Del Worsham, Costa Mesa, Calif., Firebird, broke; Scotty Cannon, Lyman, S.C., Camaro, 5.415, 256.06 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Lansing, Ill., Firebird, 12.249, 89.20; Cory Lee, Sierra Del Oro, Calif., Avenger, 5.959, 212.93 def. Al Hofmann, Umatilla, Fla., Firebird, 8.049, 102.85; Jim Epler, Phoenix, Firebird, 5.373, 245.63 def. Frank Pedregon, Alta Loma, Calif., Firebird, 13.062, 86.36; Tony Pedregon, Gardena, Calif., Mustang, 4.964, 312.06 def. Gary Densham, Bellflower, Calif., Firebird, 8.284, 101.21;

QUARTERFINALS -- Johnson Jr., 5.071, 282.13 def. Lee, 5.101, 290.38; Toliver, 5.324, 222.33 def. Cannon, 5.671, 176.03; Force, 5.069, 279.85 def. T. Pedregon, 9.437, 89.43; Epler, 5.025, 305.08 def. Sayers, 5.097, 254.62;

SEMIFINALS -- Force, 4.913, 312.13 def. Toliver, 7.652, 116.87; Epler, 4.910, 310.27 def. Johnson Jr., 13.534, 79.76;

FINAL -- Force, 4.844, 318.02 def. Epler, 6.508, 132.99.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE -- Jim Yates, Alexandria, Va., Pontiac Firebird, 6.899, 199.43 def V. Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, 6.922, 200.38; Mark Pawuk, Bath, Ohio, Firebird, 6.857, 200.86 def. Richie Stevens, New Orleans, Firebird, 6.872, 199.85; Tom Martino, Farmingdale, N.J., Firebird, 6.848, 201.13 def. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Dodge Avenger, 6.920, 199.85; Rickie Smith, King, N.C., Firebird, 6.886, 199.82 def. Kurt Johnson, Lawrenceville, Ga., Camaro, 6.956, 200.71; Troy Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.859, 200.50 def. Mike Edwards, Broken Arrow, Okla., Camaro, 6.897, 199.85; Warren Johnson, Buford, Ga., Firebird, 6.865, 202.36 def. John Nobile, Melville, N.Y., Cutlass, 6.945, 199.49; Jeg Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Cutlass, 6.857, 200.86 def. Don Beverley, Chester, Va., Firebird, 6.883, 199.88; Mike Thomas, Knoxville, Tenn., Firebird, 6.888, 199.64 def. Bruce Allen, Arlington, Texas, Firebird, 6.945, 200.17;

QUARTERFINALS -- Thomas, 6.901, 198.67 def. Yates, 6.895, 199.37; Smith, 6.909, 199.37 def. T. Coughlin, 6.882, 198.41; J. Coughlin, 6.866, 199.94 def. Pawuk, 6.903, 199.79; Martino, 6.855, 200.83 def. W. Johnson, 6.890, 200.47;

SEMIFINALS -- Smith, 6.877, 199.55 def. Thomas, 6.925, 199.02; Martino, 6.843, 201.22 def. J. Coughlin, 6.837, 200.77;

FINAL -- Smith, 6.928, 199.29 def. Martino, 6.989, 198.55.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE -- Angelle Seeling, New Orleans, Suzuki GSXR, 7.215, 184.09 def. Ron Ayers, Greenville, N.C., Suzuki, 7.574, 158.54; Craig Treble, Chandler, Ariz., Suzuki, 7.294, 182.45 def. John Smith, Minneapolis, Suzuki, 7.290, 183.05; Larry Cook, West Linn, Ore., Suzuki, 7.338, 184.09 def. Steve Johnson, Chatsworth, Calif., Suzuki, 7.392, 186.28; Matt Hines, Trinidad, Colo., Suzuki, 7.154, 185.89 def. Brian Ayers, Greenville, N.C., Suzuki, 7.451, 178.99; Antron Brown, Chesterfield, N.J., Suzuki, 7.196, 191.02 def. Joe DeSantis, Rootstown, Ohio, Suzuki, 7.364, 176.19; Fred Collis, Americus, Ga., Suzuki, 7.230, 185.05 def. Gary Tonglet, Metairie, La., Suzuki, 7.418, 179.49; David Schultz, Fort Myers, Fla., Suzuki, 7.215, 187.36 def. Greg Underdahl, Minneapolis, Suzuki, 7.340, 183.69; Tony Mullen, Bradenton, Fla., Suzuki, 7.237, 184.17 def. Chris Reuter, Gretna, Neb., Suzuki, broke;

QUARTERFINALS -- Seeling, 7.204, 188.86 def. Cook, 11.240, 71.60; Schultz, 7.256, 185.79 def. Collis, 7.329, 185.18; Mullen, 7.245, 183.59 def. Brown, 7.272, 183.62; Hines, 7.201, 191.48 def. Treble, 7.339, 180.38;

SEMIFINALS -- Mullen, 7.330, 180.40 def. Seeling, foul; Schultz, 7.256, 184.04 def. Hines, 7.231, 190.83;

FINAL -- Mullen, 7.249, 184.09 def. Schultz, foul.

Points Standings:

TOP FUEL: 1. Tony Schumacher, 1,411; 2. Gary Scelzi, 1,302; 3. Joe Amato, 1,291; 4. Doug Herbert, 1,249; 5. Doug Kalitta, 1,212; 6. Mike Dunn, 1,210; 7. Kenny Bernstein, 1,207; 8. Larry Dixon, 1,179; 8. Cory McClenathan, 1,115; 10. Bob Vandergriff, 1,099.

FUNNY CAR: 1. John Force, 1,975; 2. Tony Pedregon, 1,549; 3. Whit Bazemore, 1,379; 4. Frank Pedregon, 995; 5. Dean Skuza, 924; 6. Del Worsham, 896; 7. Jim Epler, 883; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr. 850; 9. Ron Capps, 833; 10. Cory Lee, 822.

PRO STOCK: 1. Warren Johnson, 1,706; 2. Kurt Johnson, 1,401; 3. Jeg Coughlin Jr., 1,344; 4. Jim Yates, 1,233; 5. Richie Stevens, 1,068; 6. Mike Edwards, 1,019; 7. Troy Coughlin, 988; 8. Mark Pawuk, 950; 9. Allen Johnson, 885; 10. Greg Anderson, 785.

PRO STOCK Truck: 1. Bob Panella, 1,045; 2. Brad Jeter, 989; 3. Mark Osborne, 938; 4. Mike Coughlin, 825; 5. Randy Daniels, 764; 6. Tim Freeman, 607; 7 Larry Kopp, 570; 8. Todd Patterson, 556; 9. Craig Eaton, 531; 10. Jerry Haas, 493.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Angelle Seeling, 1,144; 2. Matt Hines, 1,130; 3. Antron Brown, 916; 4. David Schultz, 903; 5. Tony Mullen, 794; 6. John Smith, 726; 7. Craig Treble, 688; 8. Greg Underdahl, 671; 9. Steve Johnson, 606; 10. Gary Tonglet, 558.



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