Two-time Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon, who will serve as analyst on FOX Sports’ NHRA coverage in 2016, is expecting records to fall this year.
FOX Sports opens its new partnership with the National Hot Rod Association with three hours of live Sunday Finals coverage from the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., on Sunday. And broadcast debutant Pedregon believes fans could witness higher speeds and lower ETs than ever before.
The commentary team members used the NHRA Nitro Spring Training sessions at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Arizona as their own warm-up, and after witnessing these tests, Pedregon told FOX Sports: “The most impressive run came from a Funny Car. In test conditions, Tommy Johnson Jr. made a run slightly quicker than the current record.
“Indications from the other Top Fuel and Funny Car teams are that it will be a performance-breaking year, as most cars were quick and consistent.”
He added: “Within a year, we’ve seen a sizable increase in elapsed time and speed. It will be interesting to see what the NHRA will do to contain the power the cars in the Fuel classes are making.”
Pedregon, who won the Funny Car title in 2003 and ’07, said of his new broadcasting role: “The timing seemed to be right. As much as I enjoy driving… I always had in the back of my mind that there are safer things in life than sitting behind a 10,000-horsepower motor.
“When the thought of being a part of the new FOX Sports broadcast team became a consideration, everything about it pointed to something very appealing and more and more like the next chapter of my career.”
FOX Sports will broadcast 16 of the 24 live this season, and will also cover the Lucas Oil Series, J&A Service Pro Mod Series and repeats of Mello Yello Series race coverage. Defending champions are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Del Worsham (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle), although PSM won't be racing at Pomona this weekend.
Qualifying coverage from Pomona premieres on FS1 on Friday, Feb. 12 (10.30pm ET) and continues Saturday night (Sunday morning) at 1.00am ET. Coverage is available in Canada through FOX Sports Racing, and streaming online in the U.S. through the FOX Sports GO app.
This weekend Pedregon will be joined by Dave Rieff on play-by-play, Bruno Massel and Jamie Howe in the pits, with Indianapolis Bureau Chief John Kernan providing feature reports and Lewis Bloom on statistics and features.
Don’t miss our NHRA Season Preview with three-time Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon, coming Wednesday.