Richmond: Tony Pedregon preview

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 1, 2007) -- Carrying the momentum and emotion of his national event win in Dallas, Tony Pedregon and his Q Horsepower NHRA Nitro Funny Car team travel to the Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va. for the Torco...

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 1, 2007) -- Carrying the momentum and emotion of his national event win in Dallas, Tony Pedregon and his Q Horsepower NHRA Nitro Funny Car team travel to the Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va. for the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals, October 5-7.It is the final race in the NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship's playoff segment, the Countdown to Four.After Richmond, only the top four drivers in points will advance to the Countdown to One, the next playoff segment held at Las Vegas and Pomona.

Pedregon jumped from outside the top four in points to first in the Countdown with his win in Dallas.He was crowned NHRA Nitro Funny Car champion in 2003 and knows the feeling of occupying the top spot heading toward the final three events of the season.

"There are several good cars that are close to us in points and they all want a shot at the Championship," explained Pedregon. "We are going to Richmond to work hard to keep the lead.We are going to take a close look at the track and the conditions and then do our best to get to the late rounds on Sunday.To win a Championship, you have to be ready to capitalize on the opportunities, especially now when everyone is contending for a spot in the Countdown."

With important Countdown races on the horizon and in the wake of John Force's incident in Dallas, Pedregon and the Q Horsepower team are implementing changes aimed at improving driver safety and chassis performance.

"We are going into Richmond with a new chassis," said Pedregon. "Ideally, we'd like to put a few testing runs on it, but we've done this several times before.In those instances, we've adapted to a new chassis almost immediately.We feel we've hit the limit in terms of the number of runs on our chassis.It's now time to run a new chassis, especially as we go into the Countdown.

"We are working in concert with custom chassis manufacturer, Murph McKinney," said Pedregon. "The new chassis will have upgrades to the area in front of the driver's legs that are designed to prevent it from failing like it did in John's [John Force] accident.It is another step to improve the safety of driver while improving the performance characteristics of the car."

On his way to the Winner's Circle in Dallas last weekend, his 35th national event win, Pedregon cut a razor-thin .09 light to defeat Jack Beckman in round one and then beat Tommy Johnson, Jr. on a holeshot in the quarterfinals.He received a bye in the semi's, but ran a stout, 4.867 E.T. to win lane choice for his final round match up with his brother, Cruz Pedregon.It was the second time in their careers that the Pedregon brothers squared off in the final round and the first match since they became teammates in 2004.They were in opposite lanes in the finals at Houston in 1997.

"It was an emotional win in my parents' home state," said Pedregon, reflecting back on his win in Dallas. "I was at the starting line and looked over to see my brother, Cruz, next to me in the final round and I thought, 'How proud our dad would have been of his sons competing against each other in the final round of an NHRA national event.'"

"NHRA Drag Racing fans are passionate about the sport," said Pedregon. "This was never more evident than last weekend when many fans were celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. I've received a positive response from many NHRA fans regarding my comment last weekend. A few misunderstood that my intent was only to inspire and motivate the entire racing audience.I think it's important to be a good role model and I think drag racing has the best fans in motorsports.

"My emotion came from knowing two members of a Latino family were paired against each other in the final round during this month of celebration- what a great achievement for our family."

-credit: pr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Tommy Johnson , Cruz Pedregon