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Tue, 5 Dec 2006, 10:51 AM

Force Named to 2006 All-America Team by Auto Racing Writers, Broadcasters
Courtesy of Dave Densmore
Photo copyright 2006 NHRA

NHRA Funny Car Champ a First Team Selection for 14th Time

BURBANK, Calif. --

John Force
John Force, who drove the Castrol GTXR Ford Mustang to a season-ending victory in the Auto Club Finals that secured an unprecedented 14th NHRA Funny Car Championship, was one of 17 drivers from six different racing disciplines selected to the 2006 Auto Racing All-America team by the membership of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

Force, drag racing's most prolific winner, was named to the team for the 13th time in the last 14 seasons, joining NHRA POWERade Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher in a lineup that also included Champ Car titleist Sebastien Bourdais, IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr. and NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson.

A record number of drivers earned first team recognition because five were selected from a road racing category in which multiple drivers share duties in the same race car.

Drag racers on the second team were NHRA Top Fuel standout Doug Kalitta, IHRA Top Fuel champion Clay Millican and NHRA Pro Stock Champ Jason Line.

"It's always an honor to be recognized by the media," Force said of his selection to the first team for the 14th time in his career. "To be included with all these other great drivers from NASCAR and Indy Car and everywhere else, that's really special. But, bottom line, there were a lot of really deserving drivers out there and my hat's off to all of them."

Force, who on an unprecedented four occasions has won the Jerry Titus Memorial Award as the driver receiving the most All-America votes (1996, 1999, 2000, 2002), will be recognized, along with the other team members, at the AARWBA banquet at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Indianapolis on Saturday, Jan. 13.

It's the 14th consecutive year that a Team Castrol driver has been named to the first team. Tony Pedregon, Force's former teammate, drove the Castrol SYNTEC Ford to the 2003 NHRA Funny Car title and was rewarded with a first team berth.

Force, winner of a record 122 NHRA tour events, led a 1-2-4 finish for John Force Racing and Team Castrol in the 2006 season. Teammate and son-in-law Robert Hight was second in an Auto Club Ford that started from No. 1 a category best nine times and Eric Medlen finished fourth in the SYNTEC Ford, his third consecutive Top 5.

Force, who has qualified for a record 392 consecutive NHRA tour events, won three times in 2006, the 17th consecutive year he has earned three or more tour victories.

AARWBA Auto Racing All-American Team, 2006 first team members: Sebastien Bourdais, Sam Hornish Jr., Open Wheel; Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Stock Car; Jorg Bergmeister, Rinaldo Capello/Allan McNish, Scott Pruett/Luis Diaz, Road Racing; John Force, Tony Schumacher, Drag Racing; Donny Schatz, Josh Wise, Short Track; Todd Bodine, Frank Kimmel, Tour Series; J.R. Hildrebrand, Travis Pastrana, At-Large.

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