Strong Debut for the STP Armor All Nitro Funny Car in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (April 3) -- Doing things as quickly as possible is the name of the game in NHRA Full Throttle drag racing. That goes for getting down the track as well as getting the car ready to go for the upcoming round. That was truer than ever during raceday at the 12th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The already quick turn around time between rounds was shortened even more on Sunday for television purposes and due to that veteran Nitro Funny Car driver Tony Pedregon and his STP Armor All Chevy Impala missed the call for their semifinal round match up with Johnny Gray.
"Tough way to go out, no question about that," Pedregon said. "Luckily there is a silver lining though and it's that we made it to the semifinals. I think it was a great debut and the overall reaction of our audience is more than I expected. I credit that to the strength of the STP Armor All brand."
Pedregon started the day from the ninth position in the field. He was matched up with Bob Tasca III in the opening round of eliminations and made the most of the match up when Tasca smoked the tires and Pedregon clocked a 4.226-second pass at 299.20 MPH.
In the quarterfinals he took out his former team owner and 15-time Funny Car champ John Force on a holeshot. Force's 4.259-second run at 290.63 MPH was quicker than Pedregon's 4.314-second pass at 281.83 MPH but since Pedregon left the starting line and crossed the finish line before Force, it gave him enough room to edge him out. The margin of victory was just one thousandth of a second. Pedregon also hurt the motor when he took out Force and unfortunately the team was not able to put the car back together in time for the semifinal round.
"There's not a lot of margin of error in a shortened turn around," Pedregon said. "We have to make a couple adjustments in on our end to make and that's something we can do. I'm coming out of this weekend confident in our team."
All in all it was a great weekend for the STP Armor All team and everyone at Tony Pedregon Racing. The two-time Funny Car champ is looking forward to the next race and will be holding his head high heading home from Las Vegas.
"This is a great morale booster for our team," Pedregon said. "I've always believed that we're more capable than what we have done in the past and I think today we proved that we can."