Bristol: Cruz Pedregon preview

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 3, 2007) -- Cruz Pedregon, driver of the Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car and his team, are heading to famous Thunder Valley in Bristol, Tennessee for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, July 6-8, 2007, the 12th of 23 ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 3, 2007) -- Cruz Pedregon, driver of the Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car and his team, are heading to famous Thunder Valley in Bristol, Tennessee for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, July 6-8, 2007, the 12th of 23 powerhouse events of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Following a semifinal round appearance in Norwalk last weekend, Pedregon moves up to 10th in Countdown to the Championship points. He is finding consistent performance necessary to carry him into the Championship rounds that begin with the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

"Everyone is feeling positive," said Pedregon of his team's performance in Norwalk. "We had a low ET of the first round, so we have definitely stepped it up. It will take this kind of performance to solidify our position in the top eight. We're looking to move as far up in the points standings as possible so we can be in position for the Championship."

With his 8,000 horsepower funny car glued to the track, Pedregon qualified 13th with a 4.862 and went on to win rounds over Tommy Johnson, Jr. (4.848) and "Fast" Jack Beckman (4.890) before falling short to Mike Ashley in the semifinals.

"We recently added a new camshaft that has given us more horsepower," said Wayne Dupuy, crew chief. "After pulling our tune-up back to what worked in Houston, we are much closer to a consistent engine/clutch combination that will help us go rounds. We just have to remain patient and continue to give Cruz the best car that gives him an opportunity to do what he does best. We like our chances at Bristol."

During his funny car rookie season in 1992, Pedregon won the NHRA World Championship. With this accomplishment he became the only racer other than John Force to win the championship in the 90s. In 1997, Pedregon was also the first motorsports athlete to receive the "Premio De Oro," the only national award for Hispanic athletes. Born into a racing family, Pedregon's father, Frank, raced Top Fuel dragsters in the 1960s. Cruz's brothers, Tony and Frank, also compete in the Nitro Funny Car ranks. In 1980, Cruz won his first official drag race at the age of 15, driving a 1953 Kenworth truck.

After conquering the Nationals in Bristol, the NHRA warriors head to Denver, Colo. for the NHRA Nationals, July 13-15, 2007.

-credit: cp

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Tommy Johnson , Cruz Pedregon , Jack Beckman , Mike Ashley