Joliet II: Cruz Pedregon eliminations summary

Cruz Pedregon runs career bests in loss to Scelzi JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 28, 2003 - It's not often Cruz Pedregon can smile after a first-round loss, but he was on a cold Sunday afternoon following the quickest and fastest run of his career in the...

Cruz Pedregon runs career bests in loss to Scelzi

JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 28, 2003 - It's not often Cruz Pedregon can smile after a first-round loss, but he was on a cold Sunday afternoon following the quickest and fastest run of his career in the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Pedregon's Advance Auto Parts Funny Car gave Gary Scelzi a close race all the way down the 1320 feet, with Scelzi stopping the clocks first at 4.768 seconds at 328.70 mph - the category's fastest run at that time. Pedregon was just a tick behind at 4.800 at 321.73 mph.

"We were racing the wrong guy," said Pedregon, who moved to ninth in NHRA POWERade points with 851. "We lost to the racecar that ran the fastest speed ever, but we have a good feeling about what happened this weekend."

Pedregon and crew chief Rob Flynn changed motor combinations between Monday's Mid-South Nationals eliminations and Friday's rained out first day of qualifying here. He qualified with a 4.852, 316.08 mph on Saturday's first run and smoked the tires hard in the second.

"Our car shook the tires really hard, so it wasn't a perfect run, which encourages us even more," added Pedregon. "We should be able to refine this and get in the 4.70s."

His quickest previous bests were 4.807 seconds and 319.60 mph, established in October 1998.

Scelzi, who advanced to the semifinals, increased his speed mark to 329.18 mph in the quarterfinals.

Pedregon and the team move to Reading, Pa., for the completion of the Lucas Oil Nationals. They have two qualifying runs Saturday before Sunday's eliminations.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Cruz Pedregon