Pedregon anxious to lay down the power ENGLISHTOWN, N.J.(May 18, 1999)- - The name of the game is horsepower, and plenty of it. How else do you explain elapsed times in the 4.70-second range and speeds in excess of 320 mph? Cruz Pedregon and...
Pedregon anxious to lay down the power
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J.(May 18, 1999)- - The name of the game is horsepower, and plenty of it. How else do you explain elapsed times in the 4.70-second range and speeds in excess of 320 mph?
Cruz Pedregon and the rest of the NHRA competitors return to one of the circuit's premier tracks this weekend - Raceway Park, where the racing surface is horsepower friendly - for the Mopar Parts Nationals and Pedregon is very happy to be here. The driver of the Joe Gibbs-owned Interstate Batteries/Hot Rod Pontiac set the track's elapsed time record last year at 4.832 seconds.
In fact, in the last four years, Pedregon has qualified first, second, third and fourth, from 1998 to 1995. This time, he and crew chief Wes Cerny are ready for a track that is known for its ability to yield good elapsed times and speeds, especially during optimum weather conditions.
That wasn't the situation at the previous two Winston Series stops at Richmond, Va., and Commerce, Ga., near Atlanta. Those tracks weren't capable of holding all the power the nitromethane-burning engines generated. Warm weather and slippery racing surfaces forced crew chiefs to take power away from their regular racing combinations
"There's no question Wes' tune-up makes a lot of horsepower," said Pedregon, "We've been looking forward to getting to a track like Raceway Park that, when the weather is right, can take all the power you can throw at it. It seems like it has been a long time since we've been on a track like this. I'm sure there are a lot of drivers and crew chiefs out there who like those kind of conditions."
In seven Raceway Park appearances driving a Funny Car, Pedregon has been the No. 1 qualifier twice, last year and 1992, his rookie season. He has one win here, that coming in '95.
At Commerce last weekend, where traction was marginal, Pedregon qualified second with a 4.986-second run at 287.35 mph. On race day, he defeated Scott Weis in the first round (5.171 at 271.79 mph to 5.300 at 274.83) but lost in the second round to his brother Tony (5.109 to 5.350). The setback ended a streak of three straight top four finishes for the Interstate Batteries team.
"We had a decent weekend (at Commerce), but our car slowed down against Tony and we were defeated," Cruz commented. "This drag racing is tough, and a second round defeat is not what we wanted when we arrived there. I'm sure Wes will have a good combination ready for Englishtown.
"I feel like we are a win waiting to happen. We'll be fine with a little luck on race day. It's a good feeling knowing that we have that kind of potential."
That potential, when tapped, could produce a string of wins and top qualifying positions. Pedregon and the Interstate Batteries Pontiac were No. 1 12 times in '98.
Cruz goes into the Mopar Nationals tied with Whit Bazemore for third place in the Funny Car standings. Each has 448 points.
1999 Funny Car Record Standing: 3rd, 448 points Round Record: 11W-6L Quickest ET: 4.878, Houston Fastest Speed: 314.13 mph, Dallas Wins: 0 Runner-up: 1 - Phoenix
Career Funny Car Record Best Season Finish: 1st, 1992 First Season: 1992 Races Qualified: 138 in Funny Car Wins: 21 (fourth in all-time Funny Car victories) Runners-up: 19 Last Win: Nov. 2, 1998, Houston Last Final: Feb. 28, 1999, Phoenix No. 1 Qualifier: 29 times Last No. 1 Qualifier: 1998, Pomona II Quickest E.T.: 4.807 sec., 1998, Houston II Fastest Speed: 319.60 mph, 1998, Houston II
At Englishtown: Best Finish: Won in 1995; No. 1 Qualifier -- 1998 and 1992