FIREBIRD FUNNY CARS FACE OFF IN FINAL ROUND MEMPHIS, Tenn. (October 11, 1998) Al Hofmann will face off against Cruz Pedregon in the final round of Funny Car eliminations at today's 11th Annual Pennzoil Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.
FIREBIRD FUNNY CARS FACE OFF IN FINAL ROUND
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (October 11, 1998) Al Hofmann will face off against Cruz Pedregon in the final round of Funny Car eliminations at today's 11th Annual Pennzoil Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.
This is the first time since the 1997 Winternationals in Pomona that two Pontiac Firebird Funny Cars have raced each other in a final round. In that race, John Force defeated Hofmann.
Hofmann's GM Performance Parts Firebird advanced to the final round after defeating Del Worsham in round one, John Force in round two and Dean Skuza in round three. Hofmann's last win was at the 1997 Revell Nationals in Dallas, Tex.
"The engine was weak first round but we jazzed it up for that run against Force," explained Hofmann. "It was better but it wasn't where it should have been. When this GM Performance Parts Firebird is right, it will run better than a 4.95.
"We've obviously had our trouble this year and hopefully we're past a lot of that now. We have some horsepower and a little bit of confidence, but Skuza was tough to beat. The car ran really good and my whole team did a heck of a job. I kind of felt like I won the first round, but that second round against Force, and that third round against Skuza was because of the crew chief, Jimbo Ermalovich. Against Force, It was mixing it up down towards the finish line and was nosing over some. It was out of spark plugs, but it was a good run and I'll take it. I didn't see the win light and I was trying to find somebody to tell me if we had won or lost. Force was right beside me. That's good drag racing and that's what the people come to see. It's an even better drag race when my win light's on."
Pedregon advanced to the final round after defeating Gary Densham in round one, Chuck Etchells in round two and Tony Pedregon in round three. He came in to today's race the No. 1 qualifier with low elapsed time of 4.916 seconds at 311.20 mph. Pedregon was runner-up at last year's race. His last win was at the 1998 Autolite Nationals in Sonoma, Calif. A win today would move into third place in the Winston points standings.
"This was our 10th No. 1 qualifying effort of the season and say's a lot about how good of a crew chief Wes Cerny is," said Pedregon. "I've had some good race cars in my career but this Interstate Batteries Firebird is definitely the best. Even though we've won only four races, the potential is always there.
"Our main focus now is to get this car in the winner's circle today and go last year one better.