Denver: Cruz Pedregon Saturday summary

Cruz Pedregon Grabs Fifth at Bandimere Speedway Advance Auto Racing Makes It Four-Straight Races With Top-Five Qualifying Efforts MORRISON, Colo. (July 17, 2004) -- Cruz Pedregon drove his Advance Auto Parts Racing Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car to...

Cruz Pedregon Grabs Fifth at Bandimere Speedway
Advance Auto Racing Makes It Four-Straight Races With Top-Five Qualifying Efforts

MORRISON, Colo. (July 17, 2004) -- Cruz Pedregon drove his Advance Auto Parts Racing Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car to the fifth-qualified position for tomorrow's Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

The feat marked the fourth-straight race Pedregon has qualified within the top five of an NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car field. Pedregon, who claimed the runner up position in last year's event, drove to a 4.946-second elapsed time at 309.56 mph, setting up a first round match with Tony Bartone.

"Bandimere is always tricky," said the California resident, commenting on the unusual conditions of racing at 5,400-feet of elevation. "Our first run was a representative run. (Crew chief) Wes (Cerny) didn't want to overpower the track. The second run was good, but we left a little bit on the table. Wes Cerny's approach, and we are counting on a lot warmer conditions for tomorrow, was to be somewhat conservative. We would have like to be a little further up into the field, but we're maintaining our string of top five qualifying efforts -- which is cool. Now, it's all about racing and setting the car up."

Rain showers on Friday night made for a short weekend of qualifying, putting a little more pressure on the entire Advance Auto Part Racing crew.

"I didn't sleep as well last night," said Pedregon, who almost didn't make a first round pass today. "You always have those times, like what happened to us in that first qualifying session when two of the plug wires in the first cylinder were reversed, when little things can bite you. Fortunately, we were able to solve the problem and do a quick burnout. If we would have lost that one, we wouldn't have been as aggressive in that second run. As it turned out, it actually worked out well. We came back after that 5.11-second pass in the first round, which we knew that would stay in the field, and took aim at the top half of the ladder. Our qualifying game plan is working and we have a good game plan for race day. Tomorrow is the time for us to execute it."

ADVANCE AUTO PARTS RACING QUALIFYING NOTES:

TIRE TALK: This weekend's Mopar Mile-High Nationals has seen a new tire compound from Goodyear for all Funny Car and Top Fuel Teams. Cruz Pedregon, driver of the Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Funny Car, commented on the results thus far.

"It's a compound that we have run before," Pedregon said. "It's a compound we ran two years ago and we are somewhat familiar with it. We have to give Goodyear a lot of credit because the tires look good after we run. Time will tell and it will take more runs to really know, but I think the Goodyear engineers have done a great job in giving us a good tire. It's our job to adapt to whatever they have."

REMEMBERING DARRELL: The entire NHRA POWERade Drag Racing community is remembering the life of fallen Top Fuel driver Darrell Russell with a special decal. Russell was tragically killed because of an incident during the NHRA national event at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., two weekends ago.

-PedregonRacing.com-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Bartone , Cruz Pedregon