TONY PEDREGON, 34, Chino Hills, Calif., driver of the Castrol SYNTECâ„¢ Ford Mustang, lost his bid for a second straight victory in the AutoZone Winternationals when Jerry Toliver beat him by .01 of a second in the final round at Pomona Raceway on...
TONY PEDREGON, 34, Chino Hills, Calif., driver of the Castrol SYNTEC™ Ford Mustang, lost his bid for a second straight victory in the AutoZone Winternationals when Jerry Toliver beat him by .01 of a second in the final round at Pomona Raceway on the grounds of the LA County Fairplex. Tony beat his mentor, John Force, in a second round race and, in the semifinals, raced to a track record 4.830 seconds.
VERSUS JERRY TOLIVER: The loss dropped Tony's record against Toliver to 4-2. It was his second straight loss to the WWF driver who also beat him in the second round of last November's AAA of Southern California Finals. OVERCOMING ADVERSITY: After destroying two motors in his first two qualifying attempts (Thursday and Friday) and incurring a $500 fine, Pedregon rallied to reach the finals for the 22nd time in only 86 career starts as a member of Team Castrol and John Force Racing. Against Toliver, Tony gave away a slight lead at the start and simply wasn't able to catch the WWF entry.
FORCE SAID: "Toliver has Dale Armstrong and (Bob) Brooks over there with him and the WWF team is going to be tough all year. The two-car concept is really catching on not just with the WWF but with the Worsham team (Del Worsham and Frank Pedregon) and Alan Johnson. They're shooting at us but that's just going to provide us with more motivation. I ain't dead yet. They're trying to retire me but I ain't going. This is just the first race of the year. We'll just get ready to go to Phoenix and get after ‘em again."
QUICKEST MAN ON THE PLANET: In addition to now being the quickest in Pomona Raceway Funny Car history, Tony also owns the quickest quarter mile ever recorded: 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 the 320 mph barrier....although he is only 6-28 against John in his brief five-year career in the Funny Car division, Tony is 3-3 against his boss at Pomona Raceway and 2-1 against him at the Winternationals where he also eliminated his boss in the second round of the 1998 Winternationals. Tony also beat John in the final round of the 1997 Winston Finals....one or the other of the Castrol Fords has reached the final round 18 times in the last 23 Winston Series events.
FORCE AT THE ESPY AWARDS: John Force is one of the finalists for an ESPN Espy Award as the Race Car Driver of the Year. He is nominated with NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett and CART Champion Juan Montoya. The all-sports awards will be presented Monday, Feb. 14, in ceremonies at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.