Denver: Tony Pedregon preview

Bandimere Offers Extreme Racing Conditions New Challenges Greet Tony Pedregon and Quaker State Racing MORRISON, Colo. (July 15, 2004) -- Bandimere Speedway. The two words that can strike fear into the souls of even the heartiest of NHRA ...

Bandimere Offers Extreme Racing Conditions New Challenges Greet Tony Pedregon and Quaker State Racing

MORRISON, Colo. (July 15, 2004) -- Bandimere Speedway. The two words that can strike fear into the souls of even the heartiest of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams. It's extreme racing at its finest in the Colorado Rockies.

Reigning NHRA Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon, knows the challenges awaiting him and the Quaker State Nitro Funny Car heading into this weekend's Mopar Mile-High Nationals, just outside of Denver.

Despite its stellar reputation for hospitality and huge race weekend crowds, Bandimere Speedway is situated more than 5,400 feet above sea level and along a mountainside that can turn the July heat even more stifling. Conditions are sure to challenge Pedregon, crew chief Dickie Venables and the entire Quaker State Racing organization.

"Bandimere is always a tough race for any team," said Pedregon, who will be making his first appearance at Bandimere as co-owner of his own operation. "We're probably at a bigger disadvantage than any other team out there due to a lack of information with this equipment. This is the first year we are racing at this altitude as a new team.

"(Crew chief) Dickie Venables will make up for that lack of on-track information with his experience and knowledge," Pedregon continued. "He's very thorough in setting up the car for elevation. And we have Quaker State's racing oil and performance specialists supporting us to make sure everything going into the car is tuned for the conditions.

"So all in all, I do have confidence heading into this weekend. From a personal experience standpoint, we're very familiar with the air and climate. Bandimere has a tendency to equal out the playing field a little bit."

This weekend also kicks off the grueling West Coast swing, which consists of three-straight NHRA national events starting at Bandimere, moving to Pacific Raceways just outside Seattle next weekend and culminating with the race at picturesque Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

"It's very important for us, in these next three races, to deliver on performance and come out with a win," Pedregon stated. "It's a crucial time of the year. We want to see some results. Mentally, I'm very motivated to get back to these races because I know what the stakes are. The West Coast swing is a great opportunity to turn the season around."

QUAKER STATE RACING NOTEBOOK:

RULES CHANGE:

The Darrell Russell tragedy during the most recent event at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., has resulted in a couple of rule changes within NHRA's Funny Car category. Quaker State Racing's Tony Pedregon commented on Goodyear's new tire combination and minimum tire pressure.

"Without a doubt, some changes had to be made," said the 39-year-old. "It's a part of our evolutionary process as a sport. We naturally tend to focus more when there is a catastrophe. In a way, I think NHRA needs to save us from ourselves. It's good they are taking a look at certain issues. In the end, I think our safety record speaks for itself. Darrell Russell's death is a huge loss for the sport, and because of that, I think we're going to take a bunch of positive steps.

"You always have to lean towards the safety side of any issue," Pedregon added. "These cars accelerate so quickly, and the speeds we run are very dangerous. There are a whole lot of different ways we can run over 300 mph. I think it's NHRA's duty, with the input of all the drivers and teams, to figure out what is the best, and safest, way to achieve our goals. I know the tire issue is large, but maybe we need to look at the rear spoiler or reduce the amount of downforce we put on these cars as well. Our downforce puts such a load on these tires. The fact there is already two to three rule changes is a definite step in the right direction."

-www.PedregonRacing.com-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon