Englishtown, NJ, June 14, 2004 - It may be hard to believe that the NHRA POWERade tour is already going into the 11th race of its 23-event schedule. It may also be hard to believe how far the Quaker State racing team has come in its first ...
Englishtown, NJ, June 14, 2004 - It may be hard to believe that the NHRA POWERade tour is already going into the 11th race of its 23-event schedule. It may also be hard to believe how far the Quaker State racing team has come in its first season. But defending Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon and the rest of the team expect more and are chomping at the bit for that first victory. New Jersey could be the place to find it.
This weekend the team heads to Englishtown in The Garden State for the NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Park. Pedregon won it all in 2001, was top-qualifier at five of his last seven starts ('96, '99, '01, '02, '03) and advanced to the semifinals three times. The team wants to make it four in a row for that top-qualifier award. It's an achievable goal. Quaker State racing has top qualifier honors at three events so far this season.
"It's important to qualify well at every event," said Pedregon. "You want to be in the top-half of the field for lane choice on race day. The competition is always tough no matter where you qualify, but I think there is some slight advantage in qualifying close to the top. Of course we would like to earn that number one spot this weekend, he added. I've been able to do it the last three seasons and I'd like to do it again.
"The whole team is doing outstanding work, Quaker State included. With their new race oil our engines are in the best shape ever at tear down and the horsepower is up. That's huge for us in time and performance. The crew is running data from two cars every race, working every part of this. We are so close to breaking through, we know it's going to happen."
Pedregon holds the elapsed time track record at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park -- 4.760 seconds, set last season. This is Tony's 197th Funny Car race. He looks to earn his 29th career top-qualifier award and 28th career victory.
The Quaker State team starts racing Friday, June 18 with two qualifying sessions scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (ET) Two more session are slated for Saturday, June 19, at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. (ET). Final eliminations will be held on Sunday, June 20, beginning at 11:00 a.m.
ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying coverage on Saturday June 19, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (ET). Television coverage of final eliminations can be seen on Sunday, June 20, from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.