Tony Pedregon Grabs No. 1 Qualifying Spot Spectacular Run Ends in the Sand Traps at the Top End POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2005) -- Q Racing Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car driver Tony Pedregon's final-qualifying pass for the 45th annual CARQUEST...
Tony Pedregon Grabs No. 1 Qualifying Spot
Spectacular Run Ends in the Sand Traps at the Top End
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2005) -- Q Racing Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car driver Tony Pedregon's final-qualifying pass for the 45th annual CARQUEST Winternationals at Pomona Raceway will not be soon forgotten.
Not only did the 2003 POWERade World Champion make the second-quickest pass in NHRA Funny Car history at 4.681 seconds (at 323.35 mph) and grab his first No. 1 qualifier of the season, but a chute failure propelled Pedregon into the sand trap at the top end of the track. It was spectacular in every sense of the word.
"I feel good we have a car that will run a 4.68," said Pedregon, who picked up his 29th career No. 1 qualifier. "I was really disappointed at the end of the run, until someone yelled, '4.68.' It was more important for us to run that quick, so we'll just have to work late to take care of the car - that's how I look at it.
"We had a good game plan going into the session," Pedregon continued. "We had optimum conditions during that run. We might have lucked out because we were fortunate we didn't have more damage. I was concerned the chassis was going to be twisted or bent, but we may be in better shape than we thought."
Another encouraging sign for Pedregon is the fact he made three solid qualifying passes so far this weekend, maintaining a level of consistency the Q Racing team has long sought.
"We did a lot of testing and are no longer a new team," Pedregon noted. "We now have some continuity. I knew coming into this race and even through testing, that we're a much better prepared team than we were last year. The key people are still in place with (crew chief) Dickie (Venables), (assistant crew chief) Kurt (Elliott) and myself - so we know what to expect."
The Q Racing team will regroup and ready itself for a round one match up with Terry Haddock tomorrow.
Q RACING NOTEBOOK
On the Front Lines...
Tony Pedregon, driver of the Q Racing Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car, expanded upon the situation that led up to his shunt at the top end of Pomona Raceway.
"At some point during the run, a strut broke and shoved itself through the body, laying the parachute levers over," Pedregon said. "I knew something was wrong the first time I went to hit the levers. Normally, there are two levers there -- primary and the backup. I only felt one when I made the initial hit. I went back and took another swing at it, and it wasn't there. The one that was there didn't feel right. And in the half seconds that are going by, you're traveling hundreds of feet.
"The third time I went to hit them, I had a pretty good idea where I was at and knew I was in trouble," Pedregon added. "At that point, I didn't want to release the brake and slow it down. I did scrub some speed off before I hit the sand, so it could have been worse. It's pretty slushy down at the end of the track from the rain and I guess they put a lot more sand out there as well. It was a mess, but it actually looked worse than it really was. I think that car will live to see a quite a few more days."
He went on to talk about how the team will prepare for tomorrow's eliminations.
"We have a backup body we're going to try and update with all of Q Racing's re-branded look," Pedregon said. "Dickie and the team will do their thing on the chassis. We'll just have to be a little more thorough when we get into the service. Other than that, the rest of it is going to be routine. All the engine, electronics and components can be changed at the drop of a hat. The control box is the only area we want to be really concerned about. That's where some of the electronics and pneumatic timers are. Hopefully, not a lot of the sand got in that area. And I know we can fix me because I can always take an aspirin."
Tony Pedregon and the Q Racing Monte Carlo also broke the existing Pomona Raceway record with his 4.681-second elapsed time.