Las Vegas II: Tony Pedregon preview

Pedregon gets a good luck kiss in Powerade championship bid. Points leader drives special edition Castrol SYNTEC Ford at Las Vegas. LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Oct. 24-26) - Tony Pedregon gets a good luck Kiss this week in his bid to become the first ...

Pedregon gets a good luck kiss in Powerade championship bid.

Points leader drives special edition Castrol SYNTEC Ford at Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Oct. 24-26) - Tony Pedregon gets a good luck Kiss this week in his bid to become the first driver other than John Force to win an NHRA Funny Car Championship in the last 11 seasons.

Winner of more races this year (seven) than any other two Funny Car drivers combined, Pedregon will drive a special edition Castrol SYNTEC0 Ford Mustang bearing images of the rock band Kiss during the third annual AC/Delco Las Vegas Nationals which concludes Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"This is the third time we've collaborated with Kiss," Pedregon said, "and this time maybe we can get them in the winners' circle."

He came close a year ago, reaching the final round before losing to Force in a spectacular side-by-side duel for the POWERade points lead.

This year, he is in a much better position. While he trailed Force by 13 points entering last year's race, he leads Whit Bazemore by 114 this time around.

That means that if he advances two rounds further than the Dodge driver this weekend, he officially will join brother Cruz as the only drivers other than Force to have won a an NHRA Funny Car title in the last 14 years.

While most remember last year's final, one in which Force earned a 4.820-4.869 decision, few recall that Pedregon dominated in winning on the same track earlier this year at the SummitRacing.com Nationals. As a result, he has placed himself in position to become the first Funny Car driver to sweep both events at The Strip.

A 26-time tour winner, Pedregon over the last eight seasons has compiled one of the most impressive resumes in the sport. He has finished second in points four times in the last seven seasons and is one of only 21 pro drivers to have won as many as 25 tour events.

The only thing missing is a championship.

"I think until you win a championship, you can't really put yourself in the same category with John, Cruz, Raymond Beadle, Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, Frank Hawley or anyone else who has (won a championship). We've won a lot of races, but winning the championship is different. When you win a championship, you know your team was the best not just for one or two weekends but for an entire season.

"We've had some low points (this year), but the bottom line is that we've won seven races in a Funny Car class that is as competitive as any out there. What better way to lock it up than to win again this week at Vegas?"

Indeed, a victory in either of the last two races (the season ends Nov. 6-9 with the 39th annual Automobile Club of Southern California World Finals at Pomona, Calif.) would put Pedregon into even more select company as the only driver in NHRA history other than Force to win eight or more races in a single season.

-www.johnforceracing.com-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Don Prudhomme , Frank Hawley