Brainerd: Cruz Pedregon preview

Cruz Pedregon Holds Fond Memories of Brainerd Advance Auto Parts Team Looks to Keep Momentum BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2004) - Cruz Pedregon won the 1992 NHRA Funny Car World Championship, becoming the only driver to dent John Force's 12-year ...

Cruz Pedregon Holds Fond Memories of Brainerd
Advance Auto Parts Team Looks to Keep Momentum

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2004) - Cruz Pedregon won the 1992 NHRA Funny Car World Championship, becoming the only driver to dent John Force's 12-year dominance of the category until last year's triumph by his brother and now teammate, Tony Pedregon.

That's well documented. What's not often mentioned is how Pedregon completed his trek to the title. That's where Brainerd comes in, as the current Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo driver reminisced about the string of five-straight victories that swept Pedregon to his first ever World Championship, and how this year's Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway could turn out.

"Thinking back to the 1992 season, I'll never forget it," Pedregon said. "Brainerd was the place we started our terror of the category. Our victory at Brainerd started a succession of five-straight National Event victories. Literally, it was the main reason we won the championship.

"We're not out of the hunt for sure, and I think Brainerd poses a great opportunity for the Advance Auto Parts Funny Car team to springboard into the U.S. Nationals," continued Pedregon, on talking about this year's team. "And no matter how you've performed throughout the season, if you can go out and win the U.S. Nationals, it means you've been successful."

NHRA switched the schedule around at the beginning of this season, allowing for another race - Memphis Motorsports Park - to lie in between Brainerd and Indianapolis. Despite the change, Pedregon still knows the importance of running well this weekend, and how it plays into the rest of the season.

"Brainerd has always been considered the start of the final stretch run," Pedregon said. "There are a still eight races left, but this seems like the place a team really wants to build momentum. Typically, in the past, you go to Brainerd, complete a two-day test session at Indianapolis Raceway Park, and then head right into the biggest race of the year in the U.S. Nationals. This year we have an added bonus of going to Memphis, which is another very important race. Every race is important - and there is no race more important than another - but definitely, we are looking forward to these next two weekends."

Cruz talked about his team's recent surge, which has seen two final-round appearances (Denver and Seattle), a semifinal round run at (Gateway International in Madison, Ill.) and seven-straight, top half of the field qualifying efforts.

"We would like to continue what we started back at Columbus, where we earned our first number-one qualifying spot of the season," Pedregon said. "We've been qualifying well, taking home top-five efforts in six of the last seven races, and we want to continue our move through the field."

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is based in Roanoke, Va., and is the second largest auto parts chain in the nation. With over 2,500 stores in 39 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets. Additional information about the company, employment opportunities, services, as well as on-line purchase of parts and accessories can be found on the company's web site at

Advance Auto Parts Racing Notebook:

GETTING INTO THE GROOVE: Cruz Pedregon is excited about the possibilities for the rest of the season. His Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car has been very consistent, recently winning rounds in a variety of fashions.

Pedregon took a minute to reflect on recent success.

"If you look at the round wins we've had, and the fact we've navigated through some adversity, it's a telling thing," Pedregon said. "We've had some tough rounds. We've experienced engine damage and recovered from that, been able to win the close races and have posted some of the top times at each of the last few events. We posted those great times in race trim, which tells me a lot about this team."

Pedregon's numbers have been impressive. Posting a first round elapsed time of 4.854 seconds (the fourth quickest time of the weekend) during the most recent Fram Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and a 4.908-second elapsed time in the second round of eliminations at Pacific Raceways - that Sunday's sixth quickest pass.

"It gets everyone excited over here because we're not just winning the tire-smoke battles," Pedregon noted. "We have won those as well, and have been able to get the car down the track, but the fact we've been able to make those quick and fast runs as well, shows me a lot. We have been getting the round victories. No matter how, we have just been getting the job done. Those are the things I look at in a team that has everything in order. We're a team to be dealt with and I've wanted that for a long time now. It's finally here and we plan on keeping it."

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Cruz Pedregon