Memphis: Cruz Pedregon preview

MEMPHIS, Sept. 17, 2003 - Cruz Pedregon made only one run during last week's rain-troubled NHRA race at Reading, Pa., but it was one worth talking about. Pedregon's Advance Auto Parts Pontiac blasted through the heavy night air to a 4.819-second...

MEMPHIS, Sept. 17, 2003 - Cruz Pedregon made only one run during last week's rain-troubled NHRA race at Reading, Pa., but it was one worth talking about.

Pedregon's Advance Auto Parts Pontiac blasted through the heavy night air to a 4.819-second elapsed time at 313.73 mph. It was the team's quickest run of the season and would've brought smiles all around were it not for a mechanical malfunction that slowed the car near the finish line.

"It was a strong run for us and a good way to start the weekend," said Pedregon. "The time could've been better because the fuel system wasn't working properly on the run. The early (incremental) numbers said it could've run in the 4.70s."

The stay in Reading didn't last long, however, because the event was postponed by rain until Oct. 5.

Three of Pedregon's last four runs have been in the 4.80s (4.859 and 4.887 seconds at Indianapolis two weeks ago). Those are the kind of times the team wants to be running this weekend during the 16th annual Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. It's the beginning of four straight races as the end of the 2003 POWERade Series is just six events away.

"We are excited to be racing at Memphis because we know we are going there with a very good racecar," said Pedregon. "It's nice to see those numbers coming more consistently."

The team is traveling in style, too. The crew moved into a new, state-of-the-art transporter with a new tractor to pull it. They spent the past few days transferring tools, parts and equipment from the old trailer to the new one.

Pedregon has been a Mid-South finalist twice (1997-98), finishing second both times. He'd like nothing better than to drive the Advance Auto Parts Pontiac into the winner's circle Sunday afternoon.

Crew chiefs Rob Flynn and Dave Fletcher have been working on the fuel system in an effort to solve the problem that's been troubling them. "They'll get it fixed," Pedregon said. "In order to do that, though, we have the make the runs. That's why we are hoping to get down the track on all four qualifying runs. We'll definitely run better when we solve the problem."

Pedregon comes to Elvis Presley's hometown in 10th place with 788 points. He's within easy striking distance of sixth place Ron Capps' 873 points.

Pedregon is proud of his new transporter and the Volvo 780 tractor that will pull it.

"It's a lot of work to change trailers during the season but the crew felt there were so many good things about the new trailer that they just wanted to do it," Cruz commented. "This was built to our specifications. Both racecars fit better and it's awesome to look at."

"To me, having a new tractor and trailer is a dream come true. I've always been a truck guy, and this Volvo drives like a car," Pedregon continued. "The trailer has a lathe, valve grinding equipment, a welding area . . . everything we need to do all the necessary work when we're on the road. It's definitely going to be nice for our team."

Qualifying takes place Friday at 4 and 7 p.m. and noon and 3 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations get underway Sunday at 11 a.m.

The races immediately following the Mid-South Nationals are at Joliet, Ill. (Sept. 28), Reading (Oct.5), and Dallas (Oct. 12).

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is based in Roanoke, Va., and is the second largest auto parts chain company in the nation. With approximately 2,400 stores in 38 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets. Additional information about the company, employment opportunities, services, as well as on-line purchase of parts and accessories can be found on the company's website at: www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Cruz Pedregon