| ||Associated Press|
CLERMONT, Ind. -- John Force raced to his fifth career
Budweiser Shootout victory Sunday in the 46th annual U.S. Nationals
at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
The nine-time NHRA Winston champion outran Jim Epler to claim
the $100,000 top prize in the special event that showcases the
eight fastest Funny Car competitors from the last year.
Force, who beat Del Worsham and teammate Tony Pedregon in the
first two rounds, powered his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a
4.996-second run at a top speed of 307.72 in the final.
Epler's WWF Chevy Camaro lost traction, finishing in 8.075
seconds at 105.05 mph.
With a victory Monday, Force would earn a $50,000 double-up
bonus from the NHRA. The 51-year-old driver earned the bonus in
1993 and '96.
Doug Kalitta, Tommy Johnson Jr., Mark Osborne, Angelle Seeling
and Mike Coughlin will lead their division into Monday's
eliminations. The $2.6 million race is the 17th of 23 events in the
NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
Kalitta earned his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season
in Top Fuel with a run of 4.622 seconds at 310.84 mph in his MGM
Grand dragster. Kalitta will face three-time Winston champion
Shirley Muldowney in the first round.
Johnson earned his first top qualifying effort of the season in
Funny Car, driving his Hofmann Racing Pontiac Firebird to the top
of the 16-car order with pass of 4.963 seconds at 301.27 mph.
Osborne took the top spot in Pro Stock, Seeling had her fourth
No. 1 Pro Stock Motorcycle effort, and Coughlin is the No. 1
qualifier in Pro Stock Truck.