COMMERCE, Ga. - When Frank Pedregon parted ways with Worsham Racing at the end of the 2001 season, everyone knew it would just be a matter of time before the talented 39-year-old Southern California native would be back behind the wheel of a ...
COMMERCE, Ga. - When Frank Pedregon parted ways with Worsham Racing at the end of the 2001 season, everyone knew it would just be a matter of time before the talented 39-year-old Southern California native would be back behind the wheel of a 6,000-horsepower Funny Car. It's what Pedregon does, he drag races.
Following the third event of the 2002 NHRA POWERade season, Pedregon was reunited with his former boss Jim Dunn and announced as the new driver of the K&N Filters Pontiac Firebird.
The K&N Filters Racing team will return to Atlanta Dragway, where Pedregon is the defending Funny Car winner, for the 22nd annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac, May 2-5. The $1.8 million race is the seventh of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Pedregon made his professional NHRA debut in 1998, joining his younger brothers Cruz and Tony, in the Funny Car ranks. Pedregon made a quick impact winning back-to-back events in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Louis and finishing a respectable 12th in the points chase. He joined Jim Dunn for the '99 season and won the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis en route to finishing a career-best fourth in the final standings. Pedregon then joined Worsham Racing prior to the start of the 2000 season as the driver of the second Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird, creating one of the more formidable two-car teams on the circuit. In addition to his win at Atlanta, Pedregon collected the lucrative $100,000 bonus for winning the Budweiser Shootout and finished in the Top 10 in the standings for the second time in his career.
At the conclusion of the 2001 season, Pedregon and the Worsham's ended their association, with Pedregon wanting to pursue other options. When a position opened up on Dunn Racing for a new driver, Pedregon was a perfect fit.
"We know Frank and his abilities," said Dunn, who was voted No. 27 last year among the NHRA's 50 greatest drivers. "When we looked for a new driver, it was only natural to consider someone we knew would work well with the team, and Frank was our first choice. Frank is one of the best drivers in drag racing, and he is well liked by everyone. It was an easy decision for us not only to sign Frank as our driver, but also to expand our agreement to a multi-year relationship. (We began) with Frank a little late in the game, but I'm confident that with his talents and our K&N hot rod, we can still be a contender in the points chase."
After missing the first three events of the season, Pedregon made his return to the drag strip in April at Las Vegas where he qualified in the No. 13 spot and lost in the first round to the eventual event winner, Gary Densham. Despite the loss, it was a move in the right direction.
"I'm excited to be associated with Jim Dunn Racing again," said Pedregon. "It's a first-class operation, and we really want to put on a good showing. I firmly believe that with K&N's backing and 'Big Jim's' know-how, our team will be in the winner's circle soon. I've always had a good relationship with the Dunns throughout my drag racing career, and I'm looking forward to continuing as their driver. A multi-year deal is a good start."