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Llewellyn records a first; Force seriously injured

September 24, 2007|From the Associated Press

ENNIS, Texas -- Peggy Llewellyn raced to her first NHRA national event victory Sunday, topping the pro stock motorcycle field at Texas Motorplex in the competition marred by a wreck that seriously injured funny car star John Force.

Force, 58, was alert and conscious Sunday after suffering serious injuries in a wreck with Kenny Bernstein during the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals.

Team spokesman Elon Werner said Force broke his left ankle and his left wrist and suffered a severe abrasion to his right knee. Force, a 14-time champion, was airlifted to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where Werner said doctors planned surgery Sunday night.

The wreck occurred just after the two cars crossed the finish line in the second round of eliminations.

Llewellyn, from San Antonio, shared a somber winner's circle with new NHRA Powerade Series points leaders Larry Dixon and Tony Pedregon, as well as pro stock star Dave Connolly, who collected his fourth trophy in a row.

Llewellyn needed to win her first NHRA national event to make it into the Countdown to One field, and she delivered with a huge holeshot victory over points leader Andrew Hines. Hitting the Christmas Tree with a 0.010 reaction time in front of Hines' 0.045-second start, Llewellyn managed to hold off a hard-charging Hines to take the win with a 7.020-second run at 190.00 mph to Hines' quicker but losing 7.007 at 191.16 mph.

Matt Smith and Chip Ellis will also run for the title in the pro stock motorcycle class, which finished the second phase of its playoffs over the weekend.

Dixon used his third victory of the season to take the top fuel lead in the Countdown to Four, driving to the 41st win of his career in 4.629 seconds at 310.91 mph.

Bob Vandergriff extended his record streak of futility in final rounds to 0 for 11, but he did move to within 21 points of the top four. The Countdown to Four field now shows Dixon with 2,297 points, Rod Fuller with 2,252 points, Tony Schumacher with 2.247 points and Brandon Bernstein with 2,221 points.

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