TONY PEDREGON, 34, Chino Hills, Calif., driver of the Castrol SYNTECÃ¢â€žÂ¢ Ford Mustang, suffered his fourth final round loss in seven trips this season, losing to Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round of the 12th annual AutoZone Nationals at ...
TONY PEDREGON, 34, Chino Hills, Calif., driver of the Castrol SYNTECâ„¢ Ford Mustang, suffered his fourth final round loss in seven trips this season, losing to Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round of the 12th annual AutoZone Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. It is the second runner-up finish in four appearances at MMP for Pedregon, who was runner-up to his teammate and mentor, John Force, at the 1996 race. In reaching the finals for the first time since winning the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Denver, Colo., on July 18th, Tony solidified his hold on second place in season points behind Force and ahead of Whit Bazemore. It was Tony's 21st career final, all as a member of Team Castrol. In addition to Denver, Tony won this year at the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., and at the Castrol Nationals at Dallas, Texas, where he earned a $100,000 bonus as the winner of Winston's No Bull Challenge. He also was runner-up for the second time in his career in the Big Bud Shootout at Indianapolis, Ind.
WIRE-TO-WIRE: Although he has won eight races in his career, Tony never has won from the No. 1 qualifying position from which he started the AutoZone Nationals after a 4.939 second time in an unprecedented last chance qualifying session on Sunday morning, three hours before the start of eliminations.
VERSUS TOMMY JOHNSON JR: It was the fourth career meeting between Tony and Tommy Johnson Jr. but only the third in the Funny Car division. The two faced one another for the first time when both were driving Top Fuel dragsters with Johnson Jr. claiming a first round victory at Sonoma, Calif., in 1993. Tommy Jr. now owns a 2-1 lead in the Funny Car division.
QUICKEST MAN ON THE PLANET: Despite the loss, Tony still owns the quickest quarter mile in Funny Car history at 4.779 seconds, a mark he set last March in the MAC Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla.
DID YOU KNOW? Tony is one of three Funny Car racing brothers on the NHRA pro tour....Tony was the initial winner (1996) of the Automobile Club of Southern California's Road to the Future Award....Tony is the only Funny Car driver other than John Force to have broken 4.80 seconds and exceeded 320 mph....Tony posted top speed of the meet at 308.93 mph....Tony qualified first for the fourth time this season.....Tony now leads Bazemore by 178 points and trails Force by 295, increasing the likelihood of another 1-2 finish for the Castrol Fords.....Tony is one of only seven drivers to have led the Funny Car point standings in the 1990s.
FORCE: Force had the event's quickest time at 4.927 seconds, a mark he established en route to a second round victory over Bob Gilbertson.