Tony Pedregon Makes History At Atlanta Dragway Commerce, GA, May 14, 2004 -- Defending Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon made history today during the first day of qualifying at Atlanta Dragway for the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce,...
Tony Pedregon Makes History At Atlanta Dragway
Commerce, GA, May 14, 2004 -- Defending Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon made history today during the first day of qualifying at Atlanta Dragway for the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga.
Pedregon powered his brand new Quaker State Chevrolet Monte Carlo with a special "Shrek 2" promotion paint scheme, to the fastest speed in NHRA history and a track record elapsed time of 4.765 seconds at 329.83 mph in the second session today to earn the number one qualifying spot.
"It was one of those runs that everything just went right," said Pedregon. "It was a combination of Dickie (Venables) and Kurt (Elliott) reading the conditions right. We got the pole nabbed from us from a couple of the teams in that last session and Dickie made a last minute adjustment and we had a great run. I could tell by the way the engine was revving up that it was a good pass. Afterwards I got on the radio and said that it at least felt like a 4.78 and they got on the radio and said it was a 4.76. Then he said it went 325 mph, and I'm thinking 'alright that's great.' Then he said 329 mph and I got a little loud after that.
"In the first session it dropped a cylinder and still ran a 4.82. We knew there was more out there, especially when it cooled off by seven, eight degrees for the evening session. The conditions were there and we took advantage of it."
"This is our first race with the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and one thing I noticed was that it drives better and I think that's because it's got better frontal down force," explained Pedregon.
"It's more stable and its quieter inside the car and I think that's because there's not as much going on underneath the car.
Our car makes a lot of power and we've just needed something to harness that and the Monte Carlo does that. I think you can contribute a lot of that run to the technology that GM has invested into this new body. For the first six races we've been running a 5-6 year old design (Chevy Camaro) and we've made some upgrades, as many as we could in the rear wing and underneath the car but at least now we're at the same level of aerodynamics of the other cars.
Pedregon won his first race at Atlanta Dragway in his first final round in 1996. He also won this event last year. Pedregon will need to run a speed of 326.54 mph sometime throughout this weekend to hold on to the national speed record.
Two more qualifying sessions are slated for Saturday May 15, at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for Sunday, May 16, at 11:00 a.m.
Qualifying coverage of the NHRA Southern Nationals can be seen on ESPN from 8:00 -- 10:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, May 15. Final eliminations can be seen on ESPN2 from 7:00 -- 10:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, May 16.