Madison: Cruz Pedregon preview

ST. LOUIS, June 24, 2003 - Can history repeat itself? Cruz Pedregon would like to think so. And he's doing everything possible to be able to drive his Advance Auto Parts Pontiac Funny Car into the winner's circle of the Sears Craftsman...

ST. LOUIS, June 24, 2003 - Can history repeat itself?

Cruz Pedregon would like to think so. And he's doing everything possible to be able to drive his Advance Auto Parts Pontiac Funny Car into the winner's circle of the Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway, Friday through Sunday.

This is the 12th in NHRA's 23-race POWERade Series and the only one to be run at night, from qualifying through eliminations.

"I like night racing," said Pedregon, whose racecar will feature a special paint scheme of The Hulk, the summer blockbuster film, at this event. "I haven't done much of it, but I do remember winning a race at night in Topeka (Kan.) in 1996. And, interestingly enough, I drove a movie-themed car at that race, too. It was Batman Forever."

The paint scheme's not the only thing that will be new in Pedregon's camp when he lines up for Friday's first qualifying session, but it'll definitely be the most visible one for the fans. The other alterations are in the racecar's tune-up. Pedregon and co-crew chiefs Rob Flynn and Dave Fletcher decided to make some changes to the set up.

"We've been qualifying 10th, 11th or 12th recently but we want to kick it up a notch or two," Pedregon said. "We are always evaluating our performance and always looking for ways to improve. We plan to test the new combination at Indianapolis before going to St. Louis.

"And the Hulk will be riding with us. The message was clear in the movie - don't mess with the Hulk," Pedregon added. "I think this paint scheme looks awesome and I think the fans will like it, too. It's a different look from our regular Advance Auto Parts paint scheme."

A 22-race winner and 1992 NHRA Funny Car champion, Pedregon has qualified for all 11 races this year. He is 11th with 429 points, but only 42 points (approximately two round wins) behind Frank Pedregon, his older brother.

"From the fans' perspective, I think night racing's cool because you can see the header flames," said Pedregon. "As eliminations continue, the track temperatures will be getting cooler. We're going to start when it's hot (at 4:30 p.m. Sunday) and track conditions should start getting better as it cools down."

In addition to winning with the Batman Forever movie-themed racecar, Pedregon also drove the Small Soldiers car to victory at Sonoma, Calif., in 1998.

Race qualifying is scheduled at 6 and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday with Sunday's eliminations beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Action Performance Companies, in cooperation with Marvel Enterprises, Inc. and Universal Pictures, is showcasing The Hulk film by highlighting a distinct vision of Hulk, the unstoppable engine of destruction and power spawned from gamma-ray nuclear energy, on Pedregon's car at the Sears Craftsman Nationals.

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is based in Roanoke, Va., and is the second largest auto parts chain company in the nation. With approximately 2,400 stores in 38 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets. Additional information about the company, employment opportunities, services, as well as on-line purchase of parts and accessories can be found on the company's website at: ww.AdvanceAutoParts.com.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Cruz Pedregon