Joliet: Cruz Pedregon's eliminations summary

Cruz Pedregon loses tire-smoking first-round race JOLIET, Ill., June 1, 2003 - Cruz Pedregon lost a tire-smoking, throttle-pedaling first-round race to Tommy Johnson Jr. Sunday in the Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. Changing...

Cruz Pedregon loses tire-smoking first-round race

JOLIET, Ill., June 1, 2003 - Cruz Pedregon lost a tire-smoking, throttle-pedaling first-round race to Tommy Johnson Jr. Sunday in the Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Changing weather conditions changed track condition, making things difficult for crew chiefs Sunday.

"This is a fast racetrack when it's cool, but the reality is that it's still a racetrack that can get you in trouble and when you do, you spin the tires, which is what we did," said Pedregon of his Advance Auto Parts Funny Car. "There's such a balance between traction and being on that edge. We're pushing the envelope. We want the elapsed times to be better so we were pushing it this weekend."

"That's a double-edged sword because what happened in the first round is the result of what happens when you push too hard."

Pedregon was ahead of Johnson when his tires lost traction after Johnson's had smoked. Johnson recovered and was able to get past Pedregon's "The Fast and the Furious" movie-themed car.

"The driver in the lead is at a disadvantage because there's no way to gauge where the other car is," Pedregon added. "It was clear sailing for me until the tires spun, and then I was just trying to keep it off the centerline."

Johnson, the eventual race runner-up, won with a 5.526 at 229.08 to Pedregon's 5.792 at 214.86.

Pedregon moved up to 11th place with 397, four behind his brother Frank and 32 - less than two rounds - behind Gary Scelzi.

The next event is the Pontiac Excitement Nationals, June 13-15, at Columbus, Ohio.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Cruz Pedregon , Tommy Johnson Jr.