Columbus: Tony Pedregon preview

Castrol Syntec Ford goes 'X' in return to National Trail Points leader tries to extend POWERade dominance COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 13-15) As if his season wasn't sufficiently supernatural, Tony Pedregon gets even more X-treme this week when ...

Castrol Syntec Ford goes 'X' in return to National Trail

Points leader tries to extend POWERade dominance

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 13-15) As if his season wasn't sufficiently supernatural, Tony Pedregon gets even more X-treme this week when he moves to National Trail Raceway at the wheel of a new X-men 2 version of the Castrol SYNTEC0 Ford Mustang.

Pedregon, winner of half the races contested thus far this season and the POWERade points leader after all but two events, debuts a new paint scheme in the 39th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals.

The blue, lavender and black paint job will feature Wolverine, Magneto, Cyclops and Mystique, characters featured in Marvel's mutants vs. humans comic book and movie franchise.

Ironically, Pedregon's performance the last 11 months has had rivals believing that Crew Chiefs John Medlen and Dickie Venables might possess some of the same superhuman qualities as the X-men.

Consider that Pedregon has won eight of the last 16 tour events dating back to September, 2003; has started from the No. 1 qualifying position 10 times in the last 20 races; and has advanced to the second round or beyond in 21 consecutive races and it's easy to understand why someone might suspect voodoo, magic or mutants.

"It's just Medlen and Dickie getting to the same level as Austin (Coil) and Bernie (Fedderly)," Pedregon said, referring to the co-Crew Chiefs on boss and teammate John Force's Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang.

"I know every time I go to the starting line that they've made the adjustments to give me a chance to win and that's all a driver can ask."

Pedregon's current run has put him into position to realize the potential of which Force so often has spoken.

The 38-year-old resident of Chino Hills, Calif., comes into National Trail protecting a 36-point lead over second place Whit Bazemore in his ongoing bid to succeed Force as the POWERade Funny Car Champion.

"The important thing, and John is quick to remind me of it, is that we win the championship for Castrol and Ford. If John doesn't do it, then it's up to me and if neither of us can do it, it's up to Densham And, like John said, if somebody can beat all three of us and win the championship, well, then, our hat's off to them."

Realistically, the championship, which has belonged to Force for 10 consecutive seasons and for 12 of the last 13, is Pedregon's to win.

Second in points four of the last seven seasons, he has dominated the current campaign with Force-like performances. In the 10 events contested before the Pontiac Nationals, he started no worse than third with a qualifying average of 4.778 seconds.

At only two tracks did he fail to break the 4.80 second barrier and at those, it was only by the narrowest of margins (a No. 1 qualifying 4.811 at Gainesville, Fla., and 4.807 at Las Vegas).

"We won't see those kinds of numbers again for a couple months," Pedregon said. "Starting at Columbus, you have to deal with the heat and if you can't, you've got no chance to win. I have no doubt that whatever the best numbers are, we'll be right there."

-www.johnforceracing.com-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , John Force , John Medlen