TONY PEDREGON QUALIFIES ...
TONY PEDREGON QUALIFIES #2, BUT SUFFERS EARLY ROUND LOSS IN HOUSTON
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 1, 2007) -- 2003 NHRA Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon has won three times and also has a runner up at this event. So it was no surprise that expectations were high after Pedregon qualified the Q Power Nitro Funny Car in second position (4.798 seconds at 304.25 mph) going into Sunday's Final Eliminations at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston.
It was also a very emotional week for Tony Pedregon and the entire NHRA community as everyone continued to mourn the untimely passing of fellow Funny Car driver Eric Medlen. Eric Medlen succumbed to injuries last week after a testing accident in Gainesville.
"We all miss Eric terribly" stated Pedregon. This weekend wasn't the same without him or the entire Force Racing Team."
After more than a three hour rain delay, NHRA drivers and teams finally got underway. Pedregon faced Tony Bartone in the opening round. Pedregon had the advantage off the starting line, but quickly dropped a cylinder and got into tire shake. Pedregon tried to pedal and hook back up, but Bartone at that point was far enough ahead to take the win (Bartone 4.911 seconds 301.20 mph vs. Pedregon 6.458 seconds 150.51 mph).
"It's disappointing after we qualified so well" stated Pedregon. "We had two Q Power cars in the top two spots (brother and teammate Cruz Pedregon qualified #1) and had high expectations for Sunday. It is great that Cruz went to the Finals, but again disappointing that we did not go rounds. We know we are capable of a much better performance than what we showed today. We will make the proper adjustments and get back on track for Las Vegas. I won the championship there, so once again expectations will be high for putting this Q Power Funny Car in the winner's circle"
Crew Chief Dickie Venables added "There was a dramatic change in weather conditions from the morning to when we finally started the race in the afternoon. We thought we made the right adjustments, but we dropped a cylinder early in the run and that was pretty much it for the day. We well get at it in Las Vegas"
NEXT RACE: NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, April 12-15, 2007