INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 26, 2006) -- Cruz Pedregon, the 1992 NHRA Nitro Funny Car world champion, and his Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car Team are headed back to the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Penn., this weekend...
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 26, 2006) -- Cruz Pedregon, the 1992 NHRA Nitro Funny Car world champion, and his Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car Team are headed back to the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Penn., this weekend for the 20th of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events in 2006. The event in Reading, originally scheduled for September 15-17, was rained out and rescheduled for this weekend. Pedregon is solidly in 9th place in the NHRA point standings and is looking forward to a good performance in Reading and the remaining 2006 races in order to move up in the standings, creating a solid foundation for a championship run in 2007.
Hosted in cool climes in a tree-studded valley in Pennsylvania's Amish country, this race has a long history of barrier-breaking performances, including the first side-by-side four-second and 300-mph Top Fuel passes and the first 4.7-second Top Fuel, 6.7-second Pro Stock, and 7.0-second Pro Stock Motorcycle runs. Historic Maple Grove Raceway, opened in 1962 and continually improved, provides not only a scenic venue, but also the perfect launchpad for the performance-rich stretch run to the season world championships as well as national-record potential and dramatic racing.
The race, originally scheduled for September 15-17, was rained out and rescheduled for this coming weekend, sandwiched between Dallas and Richmond: "You learn from each run, so racing in Dallas allowed us to be smarter going into Reading," Pedregon said of his previous weekend's quarterfinal-round appearance. "It will also be much cooler this coming weekend than two weeks ago, which will make for a really fast race track. There is now a revised schedule for Reading, and we're making all daytime runs, which I like. Visibility in a Funny Car is difficult to begin with, and at night in that part of the country, it typically gets dewey and the track becomes questionable. Night racing is exciting for the fans, but when you are trying to hold the car in the groove pulling 5 g's and the front end is up in the air, it's not very precise to begin with. Then you add in the less-than-perfect lighting and it becomes quite difficult. We don't run finals at night - we run Sunday afternoons, so qualifying in the evenings is not really indicative of our total effort at that particular track - one run will always be done in completely different conditions. We all have to deal with the schedule each week, no matter if it's running at night or in the daytime hours, but I am happy that Reading will allow us to qualify with more applicable conditions."
After conquering the quarter-mile Maple Grove Raceway Park this weekend, the NHRA warriors head on October 6-8 to the NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Petersburg, Vir. (near Richmond).