Tony Pedregon Scores Runner Up Finish at FIR Chandler, Ariz., March 7, 2004 -- In a day that saw reigning Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon beat his brother, his old teammate, and the guy that drives his 2003 championship car, it's safe to say...
Tony Pedregon Scores Runner Up Finish at FIR
Chandler, Ariz., March 7, 2004 -- In a day that saw reigning Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon beat his brother, his old teammate, and the guy that drives his 2003 championship car, it's safe to say that it was a good weekend for the Quaker State Racing team at Firebird International Raceway for the NHRA Nationals. In only his second race as a team owner and driver, he advanced to the finals.
After qualifying ninth Tony, paired up with his brother, Cruz in round one. Tony barreled down the track crossing the stripe with an elapsed time of 4.886 seconds at 312.57 mph winning his 300th career round victory. Cruz was a little too aggressive off the line and slowed to an elapsed time of 8.600 seconds at 97.57 mph.
"It's always fun to race your brother, but not in the first round of eliminations," said Tony. "They just didn't have quite the right set up and we were able to take the win and advance We'd rather meet up with them in the semifinals or the finals but I guess it doesn't always work out how you want. I'm sure there will be more of those match ups and he'll beat me a few times as well."
In round two Tony faced his teammate from last year, Gary Densham, the number one qualifier of the event. Densham smoked the tires at about half-track slowing to an elapsed time of 6.022 seconds at 161.13 mph giving Tony the win with his pass of 4.913 seconds at 305.36 mph. It was the second quickest pass of the session.
The semifinal match up was the one that everyone was waiting for. Eric Medlen, who now drives Tony's 2003 championship car would be in the other lane for their first elimination round match up.
"I've been driving for a lot of years, and I've learned how to block out who is in the other lane, said Tony. 'I'm just worried about what's going on with my car and if I cross the finish line first. Don't get me wrong whenever you can beat one of Force's cars, it's a good day. I had already beaten one and had to take on the second one. There's not to many times when you can say you've taken out two Force cars in one day."
"We had to switch motors before the semifinals and when we went to warm up the car we found an oil leak," said Tony. "So we were behind schedule since we only have 75 minutes to get ready for the next round. The team worked their butts off to get the car to the starting line on time. We smoked the tires but luckily so did Medlen and then it just became a driver's race and I came out with the win."
With that win, he now has 300 career Funny Car round wins and advanced to his 49th final round appearance.
For the first time in his career, Tony advanced to the finals at Firebird International Raceway. Del Worsham was the final opponent of the day. Pedregon dropped a cylinder at about half-track and slowed to an elapsed time of 5.098 seconds at 251.58 mph to Worsham's elapsed time of 4.970 seconds at 303.78 mph.
"We had a good day, we've got a lot of momentum now and feel like we let it be known that we're going to be around this season, said Tony. "The team worked very hard and you can bet that we're already looking ahead to Gainesville where we hope to finish off the deal and get Quaker State a victory."
Tony currently sits fourth in the points standings with 125 after two events. Del Worsham is first with 186, Gary Densham is second with 151, Gary Scelzi is third with 126 and Jerry Toliver, Whit Bazemore and Eric Medlen are all tied for fifth place with 111 points.
The next event for the Quaker State Racing team is the GatorNationals in Gainesville, Fla. on March 18-21.