POMONA, Calif. --
Ironically, the Funny Car championship will be the only series title unclaimed when the NHRA returns to the Golden State for the 38th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Nov. 7-10, at historic Pomona Raceway. The $2 million race is the final of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Force is an 11-time NHRA Funny Car champion with the last nine coming consecutively. The only year Force hasn't been atop the final standings in his category was in 1992, when he lost the title to Cruz Pedregon. Not only is Force in jeopardy of being knocked off his throne, it might be another Pedregon that does it. Force's own teammate, Tony Pedregon, enters the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals 31 points behind his boss in the Funny Car standings and is a serious threat to be the driver that ends Force's dominance.
"I'm trying to win 10 straight and (Tony) says he's just trying to win one straight," said the 53-year-old Force, whose 105 career victories is the most by an NHRA competitor. "It's not over yet. We still have some fighting to do."
A DNQ (did not qualify) also is a possibility for Force, but highly unlikely as he has not recorded a DNQ since the 1987 NHRA Finals. If he qualifies for this year's annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, it will be his 300th consecutive start in eliminations. The NHRA record for consecutive starts is 303 by Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson, which was snapped earlier this season at Sonoma, Calif.
"Pomona is where this thing is going to be decided and become final," said Force, who kept Pedregon out of the points lead by defeating him in the final round of the event prior to the Pomona race. "That's good for the fans, hard on my heart, but that's what we're going to do. I understand the media hype, but the story is we're racing, and after Pomona, we'll know."
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