Seattle Cruz Pedregon interview ( Funny Car)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 CRUZ PEDREGON SEEKS HOT STREAK TO CHALLENGE FORCE IN FUNNY CAR KENT, Wash. -- Cruz Pedregon suffered through a tough 1996 season by his standards, as he won just one...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

CRUZ PEDREGON SEEKS HOT STREAK TO CHALLENGE FORCE IN FUNNY CAR KENT, Wash. -- Cruz Pedregon suffered through a tough 1996 season by his standards, as he won just one race and finished runner-up three times in NHRA Winston Funny Car racing. On the surface, it appears that this season has been an improvement for Pedregon. He already recorded three runner-up finishes through the first 12 races of the season. But beneath the exterior, Pedregon's frustration level simmers even higher this year. That's because no mortal was going to stop John Force last season. Force piled up a record 13 wins in 19 races and crushed the field en route to his sixth NHRA Winston championship. But this year Force has been vulnerable. He won only twice in the first 12 races but still led the NHRA Winston standings by 152 points. "I would say leaving the door open and not taking advantage of opportunities is more frustrating whether it's Force or anyone else out there," Pedregon said. "He can be caught, but someone is going to have to take a run at him really soon." That someone could be Pedregon, from Camarillo, Calif. He is fourth in the NHRA Winston standings in the McDonald's Pontiac Firebird -- 221 points behind Force -- entering the 10th annual, $1,246,750 Northwest Nationals, Aug. 1-3 at Seattle International Raceway. The race is the 14th event of the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. It's no secret that a hot streak by Pedregon could incite fear in Force. Pedregon won five consecutive races late in the 1992 season as a rookie to pass Force for the NHRA Winston title. Pedregon is the only Funny Car driver other than Force to win a season title this decade. "If we can keep adding pressure to him, that's what it's all about," Pedregon said. "Pressure makes people act and think a little different than they normally would if they're dominating."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Cruz Pedregon