INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 5, 2006) -- Cruz Pedregon, the 1992 NHRA Nitro Funny Car world champion, and his Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car Team are headed to Joliet, Ill. this weekend for the NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway for the 10th of 23...
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 5, 2006) -- Cruz Pedregon, the 1992 NHRA Nitro Funny Car world champion, and his Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car Team are headed to Joliet, Ill. this weekend for the NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway for the 10th of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events in 2006.
"Chicago is the premier track on the circuit," Pedregon said of the upcoming race. "It is definitely good in every aspect. The racetrack itself is awesome - the facility is very nice and stadium-like. It's great for the fans and the racers. Route 66 is also where we had the quickest run of the year (4.680) in the fall of last year, so I know my Advance Auto Parts car should be fast there."
"Our Advance Auto Parts team plans to debut a new chassis design in Chicago, so I'm anxious to see how that works out," Pedregon explained of some pending changes within the team. "It's the same chassis as what Tony (Pedregon, Cruz's teammate) has been using all year, and he's had quite a bit of success with it, so I'm looking forward to that - we definitely think it will be better. We already have a pretty good car and setup, so the change to this new chassis should really be good for our team."
While in Chicago, Pedregon plans on stopping and visiting with his sponsors GREAT STUFF and Snap-on for their respective Corporate Days. On the Wednesday before the event, the race team will be visiting the GREAT STUFF manufacturing plant where product is made. Employees will be able to see Pedregon's car and rig first hand and learn about the sport through a Q&A session with Pedregon. The Monday following the race, the race team will then visit the Snap-on Headquarters and display the car and rig for their Annual Corporate Day. Again, employees will be able to interact with Pedregon and learn more about the Funny Car while Pedregon starts the car.
During his rookie season in Funny Car in 1992, Pedregon won the NHRA world championship. With this accomplishment he became the only racer other than John Force to win the championship in the 90s. In 1997, Pedregon was also the first motorsports athlete to receive the "Premio De Oro," the only national award for Hispanic athletes. Born into a racing family, Pedregon's father, Frank, raced Top Fuel dragsters in the 1960s. His brothers Tony and Frank also compete in the Nitro Funny Car ranks. In 1980, Cruz won his first official drag race at the age of 15, driving a 1953 Kenworth truck.
Take one part state-of-the-art stadium, add a world-class quarter-mile and a splash of great weather, and you have the recipe for record-breaking performances. Route 66 Raceway, which opened in 1998, has regularly been the site not only of astounding performances, but also of national-record runs and career-best performances by racers in all classes.
How to Get There: The track is approximately 30 miles south of Chicago on Route 53 (Historic Route 66), three miles south of Interstate 80 in Joliet. From points north, take I-55 south to I-80 east to Route 53/Chicago Street (Exit 132) and proceed south to the track. >From points south, take I-55 north to River Road, then proceed east to Route 53 north to the track. From points east and west, take I-80 to Exit 132 (Route 53) and follow Route 53 south to the track.
After conquering the quarter-mile at Route 66 Raceway next weekend, the NHRA warriors head to Englishtown and the K&N Filters Super Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park on June 16-18. Check your local ESPN2 listings for broadcast times and event coverage.