Madison: Tony Pedregon preview

Tony Pedregon Showing Consistency St. Louis, MO, June 22, 2004 -- In eleven races, defending Nitro Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon and the Quaker State racing team have qualified in the top-half of the field seven times, including the ...

Tony Pedregon Showing Consistency

St. Louis, MO, June 22, 2004 -- In eleven races, defending Nitro Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon and the Quaker State racing team have qualified in the top-half of the field seven times, including the last five, showing the consistency required to win. Moving into the second half of the season, the team's focus is to carry that consistency over to race day, put four solid runs together and win some races.

"We're really excited about the solid consistency our car is showing," said Pedregon. "Dickie (Venables, crew chief) and Kurt (Elliott, assistant crew chief) are doing a great job at making the right calls. Our engines stay in fantastic shape with this Quaker State race oil and I feel real good about what we've put together. We just qualified second at Englishtown and we're consistently in the top-half. We just need to hold the momentum with a little more focus on race day."

This weekend finds the Quaker State team at Gateway International Raceway, right across the river from St. Louis, Missouri. Because of the hot, sultry conditions along the Mississippi, NHRA schedules an all night racing weekend, including race day. Tony Pedregon won the event in 2001 and was runner up in '99. Last year he made the semifinals. He's qualified in the top-half of the field five out of seven visits.

"I enjoy going to St. Louis because they have a great facility," said Pedregon. "We've had some success there as well, and we'd like to continue that for Quaker State this weekend. It will be our first weekend of all night racing, so it should be a lot of fun for us and the fans, and it's cooler."

The Quaker State racing team starts qualifying Friday, June 25, with two sessions, at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. (ET). Two more qualifying sessions will be held Saturday, June 26, also at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. (ET). Final eliminations are Sunday, June 27, starting at 4:30 p.m.

ESPN2 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage on Saturday, June 26 from 10:00 p.m. -- 11:00 p.m. (ET). Final eliminations will be seen on ESPN2 from 9:00 p.m. -- midnight (ET) on Sunday, June 27.

Pedregon is among the nominees for ESPN's ESPY Award for best driver. This award is voted on by the fans and will be announced during the ESPY awards on July 14, 2004 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. You can watch it on the ESPN telecast July 18th, at 9:00 p.m. Other nominees include; Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR), Matt Kenseth (NASCAR), Scott Dixon (IRL) and Michael Shumacher (Formula One).

The poles close for ESPY balloting July 9, 2004. So make your vote for Tony Pedregon count today and log on to ESPN's voting site at:

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Tony Pedregon , Scott Dixon