Sammy Swindell to Pilot Cruz Pedregon Racing's Toyota-Powered Midget at Chili Bowl Nationals; Tune-up Race Slated for Ventura Raceway on September 29 INDIANAPOLIS (September 21, 2007) -- Cruz Pedregon Racing today announced that legendary, Sammy...
Sammy Swindell to Pilot Cruz Pedregon Racing's Toyota-Powered Midget at Chili Bowl Nationals; Tune-up Race Slated for Ventura Raceway on September 29
INDIANAPOLIS (September 21, 2007) -- Cruz Pedregon Racing today announced that legendary, Sammy Swindell, a four-time Chili Bowl Midget Nationals champion and three-time World of Outlaws champion, will join Cruz Pedregon Racing's midget team for the 22nd Annual Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway in Tulsa, Okla., January 8-12, 2008.Swindell will round out the trio that includes rising NASCAR star, Josh Wise and NHRA Champion, Cruz Pedregon.As a tune-up for the Chili Bowl Nationals, Swindell, Wise and Pedregon will compete in the USAC Western Midget Series race at Ventura Raceway on Sept. 29, 2007.
For Pedregon, a former NHRA World Funny Car Champion, it's a dream come true to have auto racing icon, Sammy Swindell, in the seat of his Toyota-powered, Advance Auto Parts sponsored USAC midget.
"I am honored to have Sammy drive one of my cars," said Pedregon. "I've wanted Sammy to drive for me for a couple of years now, but he's an elusive guy to get to drive your car. This is really a dream come true for me.With Josh Wise and now with the addition of Sammy Swindell, we'll have a great one-two punch at the Chili Bowl."
Swindell brings an unmatched Chili Bowl win record to Pedregon Racing and looks forward to the tune-up race at Ventura Raceway.
"Ventura Raceway is a new venue for me," said Swindell. "Getting in a different car that I don't normally run and being at a different track with different drivers will definitely be a challenge. I hope I can give the team some good feedback on the cars, set-up and the motors. We'll use this race at Ventura to check things out and make sure everyone is on the same page so when we get to the Chili Bowl in Tulsa we'll be ready."
The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is, perhaps, the greatest midget race in the world.Despite his four championships at this event, Swindell has a great respect for the event, the competition and the race format.
"I've won the Chili Bowl four times and there's probably another four or five I could have won," said Swindell.b^0x001cAnd I've had some second and third place finishes there.Everything has to go right. It's a tough event because the track is so tight and there are so many cars running.You have to be in the right position just to make it to the A Main.
"It is a big challenge for me and some other guys because it's the only midget race I do for the whole year.We are probably a little disadvantaged, compared to the others as that's all they do is run the midgets.It's great that I've been competitive over the years, but to put it together for one race and come out with a good result is really rewarding. That's what we hope to do with Cruz Pedregon Racing starting with the USAC event at Ventura Raceway."
Cruz Pedregon is no stranger to sliding into the corners on dirt. The 2008 Chili Bowl marks Pedregon's fourth year competing on the famous, 0x00bc mile banked Tulsa Expo Raceway oval.In June of this year, he raced the 800 hp, Advance Auto Parts Late Model in Tony Stewart's Prelude to the Dream Late Model race at the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.Racing against many of the top stars in NASCAR, Pedregon finished a respectable 19th.JJ"The Ventura Midget race will be Chili Bowl tune up for me," said Pedregon.b^0x001cLast year, I ran the Chili Bowl without any seat time in the car so I really got a work out.Every year, I feel like I'm more competitive and the USAC race at Ventura Raceway will help with my conditioning program and get me some valuable seat time in the midget."
Cruz Pedregon Racing has the talent and the mechanical package-- which includes Toyota engines-- necessary to find victory lane.
"When Cruz told me there was a chance that Sammy might drive one of his Toyota-powered midgets at Ventura and the Chili bowl, I thought he was joking!," said Gary Reed, Vice President of Special Racing Projects, TRD, U.S.A., (Toyota Racing Development). b^0x001cBut when I realized that he was serious, I couldn't help but think how fast our Toyota midget engine program has progressed. Not much more than a year and a half ago, there was no such thing as a Toyota-powered midget, and now we have one of the greatest open wheel dirt drivers of all time trusting us to give him the power he needs to win races. Trust me. Sammy is not doing this for the PR. He doesn't need it. He's doing it because he wants to win, and the crew at TRD will do everything we can do to help make that happen!"