Funny Car star John Force ended a 20-month victory drought Sunday, winning the 50th running of the Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals.
Force's holeshot win _ 4.124 seconds at 298.67 mph to Ron Capps' 4.123 at 305.08 _ was his NHRA-record 127th of his career and first in 40 races dating to Topeka in 2008.
"This is really huge," the 60-year-old Force said. "This is big for me coming back from the cellar _ and I was in the cellar. You used to think that winning was easy and then it got real tough. To win this race, it's special because it's my home. I've worked hard and got back on my game because I really wanted it."
Force leads the standings for the first time since Nov. 12, 2006, the last day of the 2006 season when he celebrated the last of his 14 championships.
Larry Dixon and Mike Edwards also won their divisions in the first event in the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
In Top Fuel, Dixon (3.808 at 316.60) beat Doug Kalitta (3.848 at 310.05) for his fourth Winternationals win and fifth victory at storied Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
In Pro Stock, defending champion Edwards left the line second, but made up the difference (6.577 at 210.47 to Anderson's 6.618 at 209.62) to win by 0.003 seconds at the stripe in his Pontiac GXP.
(This version CORRECTS SUBS 6th graf to correct Dixon's track history.)
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