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Fri, 22 Dec 2000, 10:24 AM

Force, Scelzi Headline AARWBA All-America Selections
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

GLENDORA, Calif. - John Force and Gary Scelzi were named first team selections in the drag racing category for the 2000 American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association All-America Auto Racing Team, as announced Dec. 10 by the media association.

Force and Scelzi will be honored along with 10 other first team selections from other categories of auto racing on Jan. 13 at the AARWBA awards ceremony, held at the Sheraton Fairplex. Prior to the ceremony, the AARWBA reception will be held at the NHRA's Motorsports Museum to commemorate the NHRA's 50th Anniversary. Both Force and Scelzi will be among the five candidates eligible for the Jerry Titus Award, given annually by AARWBA members to the association's driver of the year. Newly crowned NHRA Winston Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., from Columbus, Ohio, used 10 event victories and his first series title to earn second team honors.

It is the eighth consecutive first team appearance for Force, and ninth overall. Force earned his way on the team by claiming 11 victories in his familiar Castrol GTX Ford Mustang and earning him his record-tying tenth NHRA Winston championship. The Yorba Linda, Calif., driver passed the legendary Bob Glidden to become the all-time win leader finishing the season with 92 victories.

It is Scelzi's fourth AARWBA All-America team honor and third first-team appearance. The 40-year-old Team Winston dragster driver recorded nine victories, a Top Fuel single-season record, en route to his third NHRA Winston championship. Scelzi also led all Top Fuel competitors with nine No. 1 qualifying positions, 11 final round appearances and had the lowest elapsed time at an event eight times.

Coughlin, driver of the Jeg's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass, was named to the second team following his first Winston crown. Coughlin's season was highlighted by winning six of the first seven events of the year and finishing the 2000 season with 10 victories, the second highest single-season total in Pro Stock. His 14 final round appearances and his 62 wins during eliminations led all competitors in professional categories.

Other first team honorees include NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart (Stock Car); CART's Gil de Ferran and IRL's Buddy Lazier (Open Wheel); SCCA Trans-Am champ Brian Simmo and American Le Mans Series Prototype champion Allan McNish (Road Racing); World of Outlaws champ Steve Kinser and NASCAR Busch Series champion Jeff Green (Short Track); Dayton Indy Lights champ Scott Dixon and Buddy Rice, the CART-Toyota Atlantic champ (At Large).

The AARWBA membership is comprised of more than 300 motorsports journalists from the U.S., Canada and Europe. Two winners from each racing category earn First Team and Second Team honors based on votes by AARWBA members. Other drivers receive Honorable Mention designations.

The AARWBA All-America Team awards banquet is open to the public. For further information call (818) 842-7005.

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