Phoenix: Cruz Pedregon final summary

CRUZ PEDREGON AND THE ADVANCE AUTO PARTS RACE TEAM REACH QUARTERFINALS IN PHOENIX (Chandler, Ariz. -- February 27, 2006): Cruz Pedregon and the Advance Auto Parts Race Team came away from the NHRA Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway advancing...

CRUZ PEDREGON AND THE ADVANCE AUTO PARTS RACE TEAM REACH QUARTERFINALS IN PHOENIX

(Chandler, Ariz. -- February 27, 2006): Cruz Pedregon and the Advance Auto Parts Race Team came away from the NHRA Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway advancing to the quarterfinals in the Nitro Funny Car division after consistent runs throughout the weekend.

After two rounds of qualifying on Friday, the former event winner (1993) found himself in the #2 spot, keeping that position throughout Saturday. Pedregon, who was making his 240th start, was set up for an outstanding race day, and produced the quickest run during the first round of eliminations on Sunday at 4.741 sec. / 326.87 mph. Going head-to-head with John Force in round two, Pedregon ran a close race but was about a half-car-length behind Force at the stripe.

"We had a really good weekend," an optimistic Pedregon said of his Phoenix run. "We had a great Friday -- qualified second -- then Saturday was not so good. But we rebounded on race day and had low ET of the first round...excellent run. We knew we were right there, we just had to find the right setup."

Springtime in Phoenix tends to produce cold mornings and evenings, heating up to summer-like temperatures mid-day, and these fluctuations played a big role in the Advance Auto Parts Race Team plans for the weekend: "Our strategy was when the conditions changed and the track heated up, in this case it was 16 or 17 degrees hotter later in the day, we needed to make more adjustments to maintain traction. But we went too far with the setup and backed it down too much in the second round. It would have been nice to win that round but we are happy with our performance. It's nice to have a car that's fast at night in cool conditions, but you have to make sure that same good car is just as fast during the day when the track heats up. If we would have raced again, we could have beat some of the other cars that were out there because we knew where we wanted to go with the car."

One of the primary goals for the entire Advance Auto Parts Race Team in 2006 was to create an environment of consistency each weekend, and after the Phoenix event, they are once again on track.

"We got back our consistency, got back in our groove that we didn't have in Pomona," Pedregon explained. "We'll move on to Gainesville and jump right back into things from where we left off in Phoenix. Leaving that track in the top 10 in points was definitely important. If you stumble in the first race or two of the year, because everyone starts at zero, it could be a tough year to get back into the point chase. So we are really happy to have come out of Phoenix with a good result."

In 2005, Cruz Pedregon and the Advance Auto Parts Race Team finished for the second consecutive year in the top 10 in points, was #1 qualifier twice and recorded a career best ET speed of 4.680 seconds at 330.80mph.

NEXT RACE: ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla., March 16-19, 2006

-pr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Cruz Pedregon