Cruz Pedregon to compete in Chili Bowl

Cruz Pedregon, who normally drives the Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Funny Car on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit, will take a turn behind the wheel of a midget sprint car Jan. 5-8 during the 19th annual Chili Bowl at the Tulsa Expo...

Cruz Pedregon, who normally drives the Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Funny Car on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit, will take a turn behind the wheel of a midget sprint car Jan. 5-8 during the 19th annual Chili Bowl at the Tulsa Expo Raceway.

Pedregon will be piloting his own ride, sponsored by Advance Auto Parts, under the tutelage of West Coast open-wheel standout Cory Kruseman -- a the two-time and defending Chili Bowl winner.

"I love midget and sprint car racing," said Pedregon, who started his racing career around the local ovals of Southern California. "I was a track champion in Ventura, Calif., back in the 1980s before I got into drag racing. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time.

"There's a lot of driving talent in drag racing and I think out sport needs to be represented. It's definitely a challenge to drive a 380-horsepower race car that weighs only 900 pounds. You have to steer with the throttle, but it's something I've learned through throttling the Funny Car. I have been practicing out at Ventura Raceway, a quarter-mile dirt track, at Cory Kruseman's Sprint Car Driving School. I've made several hundred laps since the season ended."

NHRA drivers Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi competed in the Chili Bowl last year. This year's edition will be star-studded as well, with NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne, along with World of Outlaws legend, Steve Kinser, submitting entries.

"There will be a lot of great drivers in this event so I'm trying to manage my expectations," said Pedregon, who made four final-round appearances this season. "I'm also a big fan of Steve Kinser and he's a great guy. He's a Quaker State Racing teammate and we recently talked about running in the Chili Bowl. I'm really looking forward to this."

According to Pedregon, this isn't a one-time activity.

"I would like to run a few more dirt track races when time permits," Pedregon said. "This will also be an opportunity to allow my stepson Josh to get started in racing."

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About this article
Series Midget , NHRA
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Cruz Pedregon , Kasey Kahne , Steve Kinser , Cory Kruseman