Englishtown Funny Car Preview

PEDREGON FEELS BEST IS YET TO COME FOR INTERSTATE BATTERIES TEAM ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- Cruz Pedregon feels like he's right on the edge of breaking through a barrier that will lead him to a season that's filled with No. 1 qualifying spots...

PEDREGON FEELS BEST IS YET TO COME FOR INTERSTATE BATTERIES TEAM ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- Cruz Pedregon feels like he's right on the edge of breaking through a barrier that will lead him to a season that's filled with No. 1 qualifying spots and victories. His Interstate Batteries team is so close, he's getting fidgety just thinking about it. In the last two events, the Camarillo, Calif. driver was very close to victory, yet still so far away. "We've had a little bit of a slow start to the season," Pedregon said. "It doesn't matter where you start winning races, whether it's at the begging, middle or end. But I feel like the pendulum is about to swing our way. The car has been consistent and getting down the racetrack. Aggressiveness is what wins races and in a contest like this you don't want to leave anything on the table. That's what we're going to strive for the rest of the season. I feel like I'm out of my slump and feel good about our chances." He hopes to start his victory parade at the 30th annual Mopar Parts Nationals, May 20-23, at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The $1.8 million race is the eighth of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series for 1999. Pedregon, a winner at Englishtown in 1995, says he and crew chief Wes Cerny are about to get his Interstate Batteries Pontiac Firebird dialed-in to the level of perfection that the car attained in 1998, when it produced a best elapsed time of 4.80 seconds and top speed of 318 mph. Pedregon predicts a car that quicker and faster once they get all the bugs worked out. "If we can get the car and driver on the same page, we'll be tough to beat," Pedregon said. "If I could have had a little better reaction time in a couple of rounds we would have already been in the Winner's Circle this year. But you win as a team and you lose as a team. I don't plan on letting any more slip away from me for the rest of the year." One major thorn in Pedregon's side this season has been John Force Inc. Force and teammate Tony Pedregon, Cruz's younger brother, have accounted for four of Cruz's losses in six events. He lost to Force at Phoenix and Virginia. Tony defeated him in consecutive events in Texas. More importantly, Force's team has truly been untouchable, driving their identically-prepared Castrol Ford Mustangs to victory at each event this season. Force has four wins, while Tony has two. "That team is definitely running good and Force is the guy we need to get around if we're going to win the championship," Pedregon said. "As a driver, you have to lay it all on the line every time you race against that team. So far they've got us a few times, but there's still plenty of races left." Pedregon is third, 253 behind Winston points leader Force and 157 behind the second place car of younger brother Tony. "We're solidly in the No. 3 position in points and the best is yet to come this year for this team," Pedregon said. "It's a long season and the key is to go rounds and accumulate points. That's what we're trying to do."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Cruz Pedregon