Joliet: Cruz Pedregon preview

Cruz Pedregon has momentum, The Fast and the Furious Theme Car Going into Route 66 Nationals JOLIET, Ill., May 29, 2003 - Momentum is not just an eight-letter word. It's a rally-starter; the beginning of something big. Cruz Pedregon felt ...

Cruz Pedregon has momentum, The Fast and the Furious Theme Car Going into Route 66 Nationals

JOLIET, Ill., May 29, 2003 - Momentum is not just an eight-letter word. It's a rally-starter; the beginning of something big.

Cruz Pedregon felt momentum shifted his way Sunday in Topeka, Kan., and he believes he captured enough of it to make a difference in the Funny Car competition at Route 66 Raceway this weekend.

It's the Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals, unfolding Friday through Sunday at Route 66 Raceway; and Pedregon wants to be the last driver standing on the podium when winners' trophies are doled out Sunday afternoon.

Pedregon, a 24-race winner, knows his Advance Auto Parts team took giant strides in that direction last week in Topeka. He and the crew battled their way into the semifinals before losing to eventual race winner Tony Pedregon, Cruz's younger brother.

"Getting to the semifinals of one of these POWERade Series races is a good thing," said Pedregon. "It's something we can build on and I think that's the direction we're going right now."

There's added incentive, too. Pedregon will be driving a special The Fast and the Furious movie-themed car this weekend. It's the third time he's been associated with a theme car and his record is 2-0.

"Every time we've run a special paint scheme we've won the race," he said. "The first one was Batman Forever and the second was Small Soldiers. This car is black, with green and orange flames, and I've always liked black cars. I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be a real treat for the fans.

"We scored a mini-victory Sunday by getting to the semifinals for the first time this year. There's a lot of racing left this season," Pedregon continued. "Our Advance Auto Parts team continues to improve. We ran back-to-back 4.87s (seconds) during Saturday qualifying at Topeka and came back with two 4.90 runs in winning the first two rounds of eliminations."

Cruz defeated older brother Frank in the quarterfinals, the second time the two have raced each other this year. It was the first time Cruz had raced Tony this year.

Cruz Pedregon and The Fast and the Furious car make their competitive debut when qualifying begins Friday with sessions at 5 and 8 p.m. and continues Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday's eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Cruz Pedregon