Force reaches milestone 1,000th round-win in Madison

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One week after his daughter made Funny Car history with a breakthrough victory in Atlanta, John Force celebrated his 59th birthday Sunday by becoming the first driver to win 1,000 competitive rounds in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

When Force drove his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to a 4.862, 320.20 to beat defending event champion Ron Capps in the first round of Sunday's 12th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Castrol, it propelled him to what may be his ultimate accomplishment in the sport.

NHRA officials interrupted first-round competition to bring Force back to the starting-line area, where he was congratulated by NHRA Senior Vice President-Racing Operations Graham Light and presented a crystal trophy commemorating his accomplishment.

“You can't win without a good crew, sponsors like Castrol, Ford, the Auto Club, and Old Spice and crew chiefs like Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly,” Force said. “Five hundred races [a milestone he achieved in Atlanta] just means you showed up a lot. But winning a thousand rounds, that means that at a point in time, we were pretty good!”

John Force's historically significant round-wins:
First win: Tom McEwen, first round, Baton Rouge, La., June 1, 1979, runner-up
100th win: Brad Tuttle, first round, Brainerd, Aug. 21, 1988, winner
200th win: Mike Dunn, semifinals, Englishtown, July 7, 1991, semifinalist
250th win: Del Worsham, semifinals, Denver, July 26, 1992, runner-up
300th win: Gordie Bonin, semifinals, Memphis, May 16, 1993, winner
400th win: Dale Pulde, second round, Seattle, Aug. 6, 1995, winner
500th win: Ray Higley, second round, Dallas, May 4, 1997, runner-up
600th win: Whit Bazemore, second round, Richmond, May 2, 1999, winner
700th win: Tim Wilkerson, first round, Pomona, Nov. 14, 1999, runner-up
750th win: Bob Gilbertson, first round, Reading, Oct. 7, 2001, winner
800th win: Wilkerson, semifinals, Las Vegas, Oct. 27, 2002, winner
900th win: Bazemore, first round, Atlanta, May 15, 2005, winner
1,000th win: Ron Capps, first round, Madison, May 4, 2008, quarterfinalist

The next 10

Warren Johnson, Pro Stock 846
*Bob Glidden, Pro Stock 597
*Kenny Bernstein, Top Fuel, Funny Car 681
Kurt Johnson, Pro Stock 473>br> Larry Dixon, Top Fuel 465
Jim Yates, Pro Stock 412
Tony Pedregon, Top Fuel, Funny Car 410
Cory McClenathan, Top Fuel 409
Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel 394
*Don Prudhomme, Top Fuel/Funny Car 389

*No longer racing

Did you know?
– Force has beaten 114 drivers to achieve 1,000 round-wins
– Force has won 180 rounds versus NHRA world champions
– Force has won 61 rounds against JFR teammates
– Force has won rounds at 24 racetracks
– Force has won rounds in 18 states
– Force has won 805 rounds in Steve Pleuger-built cars and 195 in Murf McKinney cars
– Force has won 21 rounds outside the United States, all in Quebec, Canada
– The most rounds Force ever won in a single season was 65 (1996
– The most consecutive rounds won during the streak was 21 (beginning June 26, 1994, in Topeka and concluding with a second-round loss to K.C. Spurlock in Indianapolis Sept. 5, 1994
– Force has won 100 rounds at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the most at any single track
– Force has won 62 rounds in Brainerd, the most at any single event
– Force once won 33 consecutive first-round races (beginning in Brainerd Aug. 20, 1995, and concluding with a loss to Cruz Pedregon in Columbus, Ohio, June 15, 1997)
– Of Force's 1,000 round-wins, more than half (506) have been in Ford Mustangs
– Force has won 954 rounds since Castrol came onboard as his principal sponsor in 1987
– Although he has had a half dozen crew chiefs, 969 of Force's round-wins have been earned with Austin Coil turning the wrenches
– Force won 420 rounds with a one-car team before adding a second car in 1996, a third in 2001, and a fourth in 2007
– Force won more rounds at 47 (63) than at any other age
– Force won almost a quarter (240) of his 1,000 rounds in four spectacular seasons: 65 wins in 1996, 61 in 1999, 58 in 2000, and 56 in 1993
– Force has won 10 rounds against female drivers
– Force has won a single racing round against daughter Ashley, the current POWERade points leader
– Force has won 111 rounds against drivers with surnames beginning with the letter B
– 263 of Force's 1,000 round-wins have been without facial hair

Note: Courtesy of NHRA

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