Englishtown: Cruz Pedregon preview

The best is yet to come for former E-town winner Pedregon ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 18) -- Most racers would be happy with a scorecard that shows averages of a third-place ranking in the POWERade points, a semifinal or better finish each race, and...

The best is yet to come for former E-town winner Pedregon

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 18) -- Most racers would be happy with a scorecard that shows averages of a third-place ranking in the POWERade points, a semifinal or better finish each race, and a fifth-best qualifying effort per event. But most racers haven't won a championship before.

Advance Auto Parts Funny Car professional Cruz Pedregon has, which might explain why he's wanting more out of his 2008 season despite being one of the elite players on tour.

"I really feel as though we haven't turned it on all the way yet," the 1992 champion said. "I'm really happy with our start but I think if you asked (crew chief) Rahn Tobler or any of the guys on this team, myself included, we'd all tell you the same thing; the best is yet to come."

A 27-time national event winner, Pedregon would love to return to the winner's circle at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at this weekend's 39th annual Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals. Two of Pedregon's 23 Funny Car victories have come at Old Bridge. He also has three No. 1 qualifying efforts and a runner-up result at the historic northern New Jersey racetrack.

"When we were kids, the Summer Nationals in Englishtown was always one of those big-time races," said Pedregon, the son of legendary Funny Car shoe "Flamin'" Frank Pedregon. "For Funny Car racers, E-town is just bigger than other places. It's right up there with Indy, Pomona, and the Gators as far as prestige and history goes.

"I love the facility. It's always been top-notch. One of the most memorable wins of my career came there in 2000 when I returned to racing after a little bit of a layoff and won my first event as a team owner. That was huge for me. It proved I could do it on my own."

Pedregon has been a picture of consistency this year, which explains his lofty ranking. He trails only Tim Wilkerson and Ashley Force in the standings and is immediately ahead of 14-time titlist John Force and his brother Tony Pedregon, the reigning Funny Car champion, who is currently fifth overall.

"We have the consistency," Cruz said. "We just need to put it all together on race day and get a win. It's time. We're 10 races in and before you know it the Countdown to the Championship field will be set. I'm confident we'll be one of the 10 cars eligible for the '08 title but a few wins between now and Indy would solidify a spot.

"We're acting as though it's already crunch time because in the big picture we know we're right on brink of turning the corner and picking up some trophies. I think what's got me the most excited is the fact Rahn is just in his first full year tuning a Funny Car. He's already so good but he's pushing himself to be even better. It's such a cool time to be racing and E-town would be a perfect place to start a winning streak."

-credit: pr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Tony Pedregon , John Force , Cruz Pedregon , Tim Wilkerson , Ashley Force