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NHRA: Report from Revell Nationals at Texas Motorplex

27 October 1998


	ENNIS, Texas -- John Force led a stampede of record-setting performances
in winning the 13th annual Revell Nationals 
presented by HiLo-O'Reilly Auto Parts Oct. 25 at the state-of-the-art Texas
Motorplex, the world's only all-concrete 
	 Gary Scelzi, Warren Johnson, Larry Kopp were also professional category
winners and record-setters at the $1.7 
million race, the 20th of 22 events in the $30-million NHRA Winston Drag
Racing Series.
	Force, of Yorba Linda, Calif., capped a powerful weekend with a final
round 4.860 at 320.17 in his Castrol GTX 
Ford Mustang, outrunning Dean Skuza, who posted a 4.915 at 311.95 in his
Matco Tools Dodge Avenger. It was Force's 
70th career win.
	"It was a nice weekend for us and we made a big move," said Force, who set
both ends of the Motorplex Funny 
Car record. "And if there's a place to do it, it's here at the Motorplex.
The track was there for us this weekend and we 
stepped on it. What we did here this weekend hasn't sunk in yet."
	Force's impressive weekend included his No. 1 qualifying effort of 4.787
seconds, the quickest Funny Car pass in 
NHRA history, as well as his top speed of 322.81 mph. Force used three
other four-second runs to defeat Dale Creasy Jr., 
Al Hofmann and Ron Capps to advance to his ninth final of the season.
	He cruised to a 4.848 second single over Hofmann, who couldn't get his GM
Performance Parts Pontiac Firebird 
started for their second round match. In a show of respect for his
arch-rival, the lane-choice holding Hofmann offered his 
side of the track to Force when his car wouldn't start. Force, however,
couldn't move over to take advantage of the offer.
	"We really wanted a chance to be able to go after the record on that run
when Al couldn't get his car started in 
the other lane," said Force, who failed to back up his 4.787 second pass
within one percent as required by NHRA rules to 
become a national record. "But that was really nice of Al to offer me his
lane. That just shows you the kind of competitor 
he is. He told me to go ahead and take the good lane so I could set the
record. He wanted to see it. We just didn't have 
time to make the lane switch.
	"I talked with Al after the run and asked him if he liked me now. He still
said no. But we're good buddies 
anyway. That's just 25 years of beatin' the roads on this tour together. We
know each other pretty good."
	With the $50,000 victory, Force increased his Winston points lead to 90
over Capps. 
	Fresno, Calif.'s Scelzi earned $104,000 for his fifth Top Fuel victory of
the season. In addition to the $50,000 
winner's share, he earned a $50,000 bonus from MBNA for setting the Top
Fuel elapsed time record at 4.525 seconds. He 
earned an additional $4,000 for being the category's top qualifier.
	"We took every Winston point we could possibly get this weekend," said
Scelzi, who received a 20 point bonus 
for setting the elapsed time mark. "You go to every race trying to get
everything you can. In my 22 years of drag racing, 
I've never had a weekend like this."
	For the fourth time this season Scelzi defeated Mike Dunn in the final. 
	Scelzi ran 4.653 at 300.00 in the Team Winston dragster, while Dunn's Team
Mopar dragster lost traction and 
ran 8.582 at 84.53.
	While his final round win was crucial, Scelzi says the key to his day was
his first round win over upset-minded 
Randy Parks. Parks took the holeshot start, but lost traction. Scelzi's
engine sputtered near mid-track during the run but 
his 5.202 was good enough for the victory.
	"As hard as these races are to win, when you do, you have to have a lucky
round," said Scelzi, who also defeated 
Eddie Hill and Joe Amato in his march to the final round. "For us today, it
was the win over Parks. That opened the door 
for us and allowed us to gain some ground later in the day."
	The victory put Scelzi back in the driver's seat in the intense battle for
the Winston championship. With two 
races remaining, Scelzi leads Cory McClenathan by 73 points. Joe Amato is
also in contention, 137 points back in third.
	"This year the battle for the Winston championship is ripping my heart
out," Scelzi said. "There's no room for 
error. These guys are too good."
	Johnson, from Duluth, Ga., claimed his ninth Pro Stock victory of the
season, outrunning rival Jim Yates in the 
final. The victory was worth $30,000.
	Johnson's GM Goodwrench Pontiac Firebird covered the distance in 6.950 at
199.82, while Yates' Pontiac slowed 
near mid-track and ran 7.961 at 128.36.
	"It doesn't get any better than this," said Johnson of a season where he
has already clinched his fourth Winston 
championship. "But we're not going to rest with another victory. We've got
a great research and development program and 
we feel like if we can keep our nose to the grindstone, then we can
continue the success we've experienced this year."
	Johnson's 72nd win was the icing on a near-perfect weekend, that also
included a top qualifying run that set both 
ends of the Pro Stock national record (6.867 seconds at 201.34 mph).
	Said defending Winston champion Yates of his fifth final round appearance
of the season: "You have to give 
Warren credit. He's on his game. He's running like we were last year. All
we can do is strive to catch up with him."
	Kopp, from Baltimore, ran 7.654 seconds at 174.85 mph taking the win over
Jerry Haas in a battle of Chevrolet 
S-10s. Haas ran a slower 7.729 at 173.24 for the runner-up finish, his
third of the season.
	"We came here with the same attitude we've had all year, to be fast and
get the win," Kopp said. "That was a 
good final. When I got into fourth gear I knew I was ahead of him. I really
needed the win, especially for my crew -- 
they've worked really hard all year."
	It was Kopp's fifth victory of the season and increased his Winston points
lead to 116 over second place driver 
John Lingenfelter heading into the Winston Finals. 
	Kopp, who advanced to the final with round wins over Don Nicholson, Grant
Lewis and Brad Jeter, earned a 20 
point bonus for setting the Pro Stock Truck elapsed time record at 7.594
seconds, also good enough for his sixth No. 1 
qualifying effort of the season.
	"The conditions were perfect for a run like that," said Kopp of the
quickest truck run in NHRA history. "The 
track was decent, the air was decent and low and behold, we did it."
	With their victories, Sclezi, Force and Johnson earn starting positions in
the inaugural Winston Showdown, 
NHRA's all-star event, to be held July 8-10 at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway.
	The four-day estimated attendance was 137,200.
	The next NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series event will be the second annual
Matco Tools Supernationals, Oct. 
29-Nov. 1 at Houston Raceway Park.

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