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Auto racing briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 13, 2000

Champs win again in NHRA

POMONA, Calif. -- Gary Scelzi and John Force, both champions this year, ended the season in style by winning the Auto Club NHRA finals Sunday.

Scelzi edged Tony Schumacher for his ninth Top Fuel victory of the year, and Force powered past Bruce Sarver to take his 11th win of the season in Funny Car.

Kurt Johnson (Pro Stock), Tony Mullen (Pro Stock Bike) and Greg Stanfield (Pro Stock Truck) also won at the $2-million event, the final of 23 events in the $45-million NHRA Drag Racing Series.

Force drove his Ford Mustang to a close, side-by-side victory over Sarver, clocking a run of 4.855 seconds at 316.90 mph and crossing the finish line just in front of Sarver, who posted a 4.892 at 308.92.

Scelzi posted a 4.547 at 319.75, while Schumacher slowed near the finish at 4.676 at 310.27.

Rain on Saturday delayed qualifying in the event until Sunday.

The $100,000 Budweiser Shootout, also scheduled Saturday, was postponed until February.

"We looked at a variety of options," said Graham Light, NHRA vice president of racing operations. "We feel the best option, the most fair option for the sponsor and the racers and for the other race teams, was to move the remaining portion of the Budweiser Shootout to the Saturday at the Winternationals (in 2001)."

"Obviously, that's going to delay the outcome of that race but that was in fairness to everybody."

The shootout pits Scelzi, Schumacher, Kenny Bernstein and Joe Amato against each other.

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