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Cruz Pedregon Hopes To Weather Maple Grove Storm Advance Auto Parts Racing Moves Into Pennsylvania MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 15, 2004) -- Hurricane Ivan has weighed on the minds of everyone in the Southeastern United States. But as this large, very ...

Cruz Pedregon Hopes To Weather Maple Grove Storm
Advance Auto Parts Racing Moves Into Pennsylvania

MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 15, 2004) -- Hurricane Ivan has weighed on the minds of everyone in the Southeastern United States. But as this large, very powerful storm churns closer to the Gulf Coast region throughout the week, its remnants could also play a role in this weekend's NHRA national event at Maple Grove Raceway, just outside Reading.

It's definitely on the mind of Cruz Pedregon, driver of the Advance Auto Part Nitro Funny Car, who is coming off a third final-round appearance of the season during the most recent U.S. Nationals. He would like to continue the momentum the team has been building since the West Coast swing and slightly improve on his final-round appearance here in last year's race.

"I don't really know what to expect this weekend, but we know it's always a quick and fast race track," said Pedregon, who barely fell short of Tim Wilkerson in last year's Maple Grove Funny Car final after qualifying seventh. "Hopefully, we aren't dodging a lot of rain showers because that's always a possibility during this race. We always prefer knowing what the conditions will be like -- hot or cool -- but this race is sometimes a weather toss up.

"One of the many things I'm excited about is we have a car, no matter what conditions are present, we feel will perform," Pedregon continued. "But we definitely want a dry weekend. I believe the Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo will be ready for whatever conditions are present. If the track warrants fast times with cool, cloudy conditions, we'll be ready.

The final few races of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season are always run during the fall sports season. Pedregon wanted to relate his race team's winning strategy to his other favorite sport, a fall favorite, NFL football.

"To put our plans in football terms, since the NFL opened this past weekend, we have a good ground game and a good aerial attack with this team," Pedregon noted. "We'll put our aerial attack in place when we have a fast track to deal with and cooler conditions. That could be where we look this weekend. Our ground game comes into play when the conditions are hotter and you need to be more conservative to get the job done. Either way, this team will respond."

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is based in Roanoke, Va., and is the second largest auto parts chain in the nation. With over 2,500 stores in 39 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets. Additional information about the company, employment opportunities, services, as well as on-line purchase of parts and accessories can be found on the company's web site at

Advance Auto Parts Notebook:

THE FALL SEASON APPROACHES: Don't look now, but fall is just around the corner. Leaves will change; the night air will greet us with that signature chill and the sounds of the football season kick into high gear. It also means the stretch run of the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is upon us as well.

This past weekend signified 'Kickoff Weekend' for the National Football League, a bittersweet moment for Cruz Pedregon and the entire Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Funny Car team.

"I always look forward to this time of the year because I love football," Pedregon said. "Unfortunately, it means our season is winding down, but it does mean NFL football is in full force. The (Oakland) Raiders are my favorite team and they had a tough opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers -- but they'll bounce back in week two.

"It was also good to see my former owner Joe Gibbs get back into the swing of coaching," said Pedregon, who drove for Joe Gibbs Racing during the middle 1990's. "He got a win with the (Washington) Redskins and that was cool to see as well. There are definitely a lot of NFL fans in drag racing -- and visa-versa. I have a couple of friends who used to play in the NFL. We're watching them and they are watching us."

Pedregon also intimated the Advance Auto Part Nitro Funny Car could be making a definite late-season push.

"There's definitely a lot of good things in sight as we look towards the end of this season," Pedregon said. "As a team we're very optimistic coming off our final-round appearance during the U.S. Nationals. We had a lot of good things happen that weekend and I found (crew chief) Wes Cerny had become more confident than I'd seen him all year. I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Cruz Pedregon , Tim Wilkerson