INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 12, 2006) -- Cruz Pedregon, the 1992 NHRA Nitro Funny Car world champion, and his Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car Team are headed to Columbus, Ohio, next weekend for the NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway for the...
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 12, 2006) -- Cruz Pedregon, the 1992 NHRA Nitro Funny Car world champion, and his Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car Team are headed to Columbus, Ohio, next weekend for the NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway for the eighth of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events in 2006.
"We had a really good test in Atlanta after this past weekend's race, and we're looking forward to applying the things we learned there to the race in Columbus," Pedregon said of the upcoming race. "We definitely made the car faster, so we'll start out with that setup in Columbus. That's one more reason to be excited about going back there. It's a nice track in a part of the country that I love -- I really like that track and that area. The fans in Ohio are among the top five in the country as far as enthusiasm. They love their drag racing."
Coming off of another successful weekend for Pedregon Racing which saw Pedregon's brother, Tony, win the race, Cruz and his Advance Auto Parts Team are looking forward to continuing with that positive energy heading into Columbus: "We've been runner-up in Columbus a few times, and I can't think of a better time to correct that and get into the winner's circle than this upcoming race. Even though it's early in the season, our team has won the last two of three NHRA races, so we're excited about the potential to keep that momentum going."
During his rookie season in Funny Car in 1992, Pedregon won the NHRA world championship. With this accomplishment he became the only racer other than John Force to win the championship in the 90s. In 1997, Pedregon was also the first motorsports athlete to receive the "Premio De Oro," the only national award for Hispanic athletes. Born into a racing family, Pedregon's father, Frank, raced Top Fuel dragsters in the 1960s. His brothers Tony and Frank also compete in the Nitro Funny Car ranks. In 1980, Cruz won his first official drag race at the age of 15, driving a 1953 Kenworth truck.
The third-oldest event in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series turned 40 a few years ago and still is going strong, thanks to the support of Midwest fans who have come to expect the unexpected at National Trail Raceway since it first hosted the event in 1972 following stints in Bristol, Tenn., (1965-67), Englishtown, N.J. (1968), and Dallas (1969-71). The site of Top Fuel legend Shirley Muldowney's first win in 1977, the facility sports a 660-foot concrete launchpad and fresh asphalt added in 2004, ensuring optimum traction to help teams battle the sometimes challenging atmospheric conditions.
National Trail Raceway is about 20 miles east of Columbus on old U.S. Highway 40, one mile north of Interstate 70 at the Kirkersville exit. From Columbus, take Interstate 70 to Highway 158 north and follow the signs, or take I-70 to Highway 37 north to U.S. Highway 40 and follow the signs.