Pedregon wins second race in a row, assumes points lead LAS VEGAS (Nov. 2) -- After not winning an NHRA drag race in two and a half years, Cruz Pedregon has put together back-to-back victories in his Advance Auto Parts Toyota Solara at the most...
Pedregon wins second race in a row, assumes points lead
LAS VEGAS (Nov. 2) -- After not winning an NHRA drag race in two and a half years, Cruz Pedregon has put together back-to-back victories in his Advance Auto Parts Toyota Solara at the most critical time of the season to jump from sixth place to first with one race left in the season.
With the No. 1 spot in the points on the line Sunday in Las Vegas, Pedregon took out John Force Racing pro Robert Hight in a thrilling final that capped one of the biggest days in Pedregon's career. The final numbers from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway showed Pedregon leaving the starting line first -- .010 to .047 seconds -- and driving away to win with a 4.100 at 304.67 mph to Hight's 4.111 at 304.67 mph.
Pedregon is now a slim 12 points ahead of former No. 1 Tim Wilkerson, who smoked his tires in Round 1 and opened the door wide for Pedregon to make up what had been a 69-point deficit. Pedregon wasted little time in taking advantage of the situation, erasing No. 2 point earner Jack Beckman himself in the opening stanza and then marching through to his 25th win in his 59th career final.
"I'm worn out," Pedregon said. "My circle track friends always kid with me that we only work for five seconds at a time and I know that's the number on the scoreboard but the stress you go through on a day like this is tremendous.
"I barely slept last night because I knew I had Beckman in Round 1 and he was one of the guys ahead of us in the points at the start of the day. Then I had Gary Densham, who has been tough all year, and then John Force, who is the Dale Earnhardt of drag racing. I get by him and I have Robert and his car is always killer, especially when it's cooler. It was stressful all day.
"I feel like we took their best shots today and came out on top. That makes this win very special."
There are still five other racers mathematically alive in the POWERade rankings. Pedregon's biggest threats will come from Wilkerson, third-place Hight (-39 points back), his brother Tony Pedregon (-62), and Beckman (-64).
"To make up five spots and 115 points in two races is incredible," Pedregon said. "I have the best crew chief in the sport in Rahn Tobler and the guys working on this Advance Auto Parts Toyota Solara haven't made any mistakes, especially when the pressure has been at its highest point.
"We're excited to have the lead back but we have some work to do to win this championship. It's so close now that any one of the top teams can win it all. The good news is we're the ones out front with one race left."