Cruz Pedregon Advances To Quarter-Finals Gainesville, Fla., March 21, 2004 -- Former Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon scored his 271st career round win with his Advance Auto Parts Pontiac Firebird when he defeated Phil Burkart in round...
Cruz Pedregon Advances To Quarter-Finals
Gainesville, Fla., March 21, 2004 -- Former Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon scored his 271st career round win with his Advance Auto Parts Pontiac Firebird when he defeated Phil Burkart in round one of final eliminations at the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
Pedregon came into today's eliminator qualified eighth with an elapsed time of 5.012 seconds at 294.21 mph. In round one of eliminations he posted an elapsed time of 5.064 seconds at 285.35 mph to Burkart's slower elapsed time of 5.307 seconds at 241.74 mph.
"It was nice to get our first round win of the season," said Pedregon. "First rounds are always the toughest and we pulled through today. The car has been consistent all weekend. We had a lot of heat to deal with and a repaved surface to contend with but we were able to adapt to the conditions which is the goal every time we are at a track."
The Advance Auto Parts team had Tim Wilkerson, who qualified number one for the weekend, in their quarterfinal match. Pedregon was first off the line and stayed with it until about the 250 foot mark when the car lost a cylinder and gave way to Wilkerson who also smoked the tires but crossed the stripe first with an elapsed time of 5.575 seconds at 193.29 mph to Pedregon's elapsed time of 7.497 seconds at 116.64 mph.
"I pedaled the car a couple of times after I dropped the cylinder and smoked the tires but I saw Wilkerson go by and I knew it wasn't going to be our day," said Pedregon. "But we're excited about the improvements that we're making and it's still very early in the season, so we're very optimistic."
Pedregon is currently 13th in the NHRA POWERade Funny Car standings with 116 points. Cory Lee is 12th with 124 and Phil Burkart is 11th with 125. Del Worsham is currently the leader with 298 points.
"It's too early to look at the points but we're right in the thick of things and with a couple of round wins in Vegas, we can inch our way into the top-10 which is our goal," added Pedregon.
Del Worsham earned his second victory of the season over John Force in the finals today with an elapsed time of 4.979 seconds at 296.05 mph to Force's elapsed time of 4.977 seconds at 304.36 mph.
The next event for the Advance Auto Parts racing team is on April 1-4 at The Strip in Las Vegas for the NHRA Nationals.