Bristol: Cruz Pedregon final summary

Cruz Pedregon Advances To Quarterfinals At Bristol Dragway Bristol, Tenn., May 3, 2004 -- After a rainy Sunday causing NHRA to cancel activities, final eliminations were completed today for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol...

Cruz Pedregon Advances To Quarterfinals At Bristol Dragway

Bristol, Tenn., May 3, 2004 -- After a rainy Sunday causing NHRA to cancel activities, final eliminations were completed today for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn.

Coming into today's eliminator, Former Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon qualified the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Monte Carlo second with his quickest elapsed time of the season of 4.815 seconds at 320.66 mph.

Pedregon faced Jeff Arend in the first round of eliminations. The Wes Cerny tuned Chevrolet crossed the stripe with an elapsed time of 4.848 seconds at 319.52 mph to take the win light over Arend, who smoked the tires posting a slower elapsed time of 11.444 seconds at 71.52 mph.

In the quarterfinals it was Phil Burkart Jr. who would be Pedregon's next opponent and probably the most talked about race of the day. Both drivers smoked the tires at the start and kept hammering the throttle to the finish. It was a fight to the end as both drivers battled their cars trying to hook up to the track. In the end it was Burkart crossing the stripe first with an elapsed time of 9.254 seconds at 136.10 mph to Pedregon's quicker elapsed time of 9.239 seconds at 178.61 mph.

"When I was staging the car I felt a bad vibration," explained Pedregon. "The engine kept revving up and down and it startled me a little. I always listen to the engine before a run and I knew something wasn't right. Before I knew it the staging lights were on and I was distracted. Then it became a drivers race. The throttle was touchy and the car was real loose. I noticed Burkart was having the same problems so I just kept at it. We got close at one time but if I had it to do all over again I would've done the exact same thing. It was a wild ride but you have to keep trying to get the car to hook back up with the track, especially on race day and it just wasn't going to do it."

"Overall we had a really strong weekend," added Pedregon. "We qualified second, ran our best pass of the season and had a really good first round. Things are starting to come around and at a good time since we have the three race swing coming up."

Pedregon moved up two spots in the NHRA POWERade points standings putting him 11th just three rounds out of the top-10.

The next event for the Advanced Auto Parts racing team is the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. on May 13-16.

-pr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Cruz Pedregon , Phil Burkart , Jeff Arend