Bristol: Cruz Pedregon preview

Cruz Pedregon, Advance Auto Team continue search for Funny Car win at Thunder Valley Nationals. BRISTOL, Tenn., April 22, 2003 - In theory, it looks as simple as firing up the car and mashing the throttle. In reality, it always takes longer...

Cruz Pedregon, Advance Auto Team continue search for Funny Car win at Thunder Valley Nationals.

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 22, 2003 - In theory, it looks as simple as firing up the car and mashing the throttle.

In reality, it always takes longer than the principals prefer.

"You always want to go from A to B - the starting line to the finish line - as quickly as you can," says Cruz Pedregon, owner/driver of the Advance Auto Parts Pontiac Funny Car.

Sometimes that's not easy to do. It's a lot more complicated than putting more nitromethane fuel in the tank or turning up the boost on the supercharger.

Rob Flynn's responsibility, as co-crew chief/tuner of Pedregon's Funny Car, is to arrive at the proper formula to bring success. To assist in this sometimes frustrating task, it is best if the car goes down the track on each run. The computer is able to gather more informational data that, in turn, facilitates Flynn's decision making. The more runs you make, the more information you have.

To help Flynn and co-crew chief Dave Fletcher, the team has tested on the Monday following four of the five NHRA POWERade Series national events this season.

"I'm really pumped up about the fact we've been able to do that," said Pedregon. "It really helps us. Maybe it's not immediate, but something we can use down the road. For example, we tested after the race in Las Vegas (April 6) knowing that the added knowledge would come in handy when we went to Bristol Dragway."

Flynn will be able to apply what he learned this weekend when Pedregon and the Advance Auto Parts Pontiac crew compete in the Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

"The tracks are at about the same altitude, so the tune-ups here should be similar to the ones we used at Las Vegas," Pedregon added. "We as a team have decided it is better for us to go down the racetrack, from A to B, without having any problems that would force us to abort the run. That would include spinning the tires, smoking the tires and shaking the tires."

All of which are occupational hazards for tuners.

"We've accomplished our goal of going down the track without a problem for four straight runs now, so we'll be going for five straight on our first qualifying run on Friday," said Pedregon, confident the number could reach 12 - four qualifying and four elimination runs - before the team leaves Bristol.

He registered his quickest run of the year at Houston (4.858 seconds) and his best speed (317.19 mph) and beat Ron Capps in the first round two weeks ago. Pedregon ran a slower 4.991 at 303.98 mph to defeat Ron Capps' quicker 4.958 at 306.95 in the opening round. The difference was Pedregon's .051 reaction time to Capps' .086.

"We knew we needed to run well to beat Capps," recalled Pedregon, "and I knew I needed to be ready, too."

Pedregon is 13th in the standings with 178 points but is only 27 points away from 10th place. That's less than two rounds of racing.

Funny Car qualifying is at 5 and 8 p.m. Friday and 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday. Sunday eliminations begin at noon.

This is the first of two straight racing weekends. The series shifts to Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., for the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, May 2-4.

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is based in Roanoke, Va., and is the second largest auto parts chain company in the nation. With approximately 2,400 stores in 38 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 website at: ww.AdvanceAutoParts.com.

-cpr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Cruz Pedregon