Cruz Pedregon Finishes Second; Runs Career-best Elapsed Time READING, Pa., Oct. 5, 2003 - Cruz Pedregon and his Advance Auto Parts Funny Car team enjoyed one of its finest Sundays on the NHRA POWERade Series tour this year in the rain-delayed ...
Cruz Pedregon Finishes Second; Runs Career-best Elapsed Time
READING, Pa., Oct. 5, 2003 - Cruz Pedregon and his Advance Auto Parts Funny Car team enjoyed one of its finest Sundays on the NHRA POWERade Series tour this year in the rain-delayed Lucas Oil Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Pedregon advanced to his second final round of the season, ran his career-best elapsed time, dipping into the 4.7-second range with a 4.796 at 320.43 mph, and gained revenge for a narrow loss to Gary Scelzi a week earlier.
He qualified seventh on the strength of a 4.819 run Sept. 12 during the first day of qualifying before rain postponed the race for three weeks. That set up another meeting with Scelzi, who was 10th. This time Pedregon made sure he would get to the finish line first. He left first, .027-second reaction time to a .092, and easily reached the finish line first. Scelzi was close behind at 4.840, 318.32 mph.
The elapsed time held up as the category's quickest on race day. And, as things turned out, it was his best run of the day, too.
"It was a big first round for us against Scelzi," Pedregon said. "That was an awesome run and a great race. It sure got my day off to a good start."
Pedregon had good fortune on his side in the quarterfinals and semifinals, getting wins over Terry Haddock and Dean Skuza with tire-smoking runs of 5.804 and 5.738 seconds. In the final against Tim Wilkerson, Pedregon's car again lost traction and he shut it off early, coasting across 11.909 seconds later at 81.05 mph. It took Wilkerson 4.869 seconds at 317.94 mph.
"We just missed the tune-up in the finals," said Pedregon, who fell to 10th in points with 944 in a suddenly-congested bottom half of the top 10. "We have to find out why we smoked the tires, but we had a good weekend.
"We only have seven runs on the new engine combination Rob (Flynn, crew chief) installed last week. It makes a lot of power. We're looking forward to going to the (Texas) Motorplex next week and continuing to fine-tune it."
Only 20 points separate Pedregon from seventh place, but Wilkerson (957) and Scelzi (956) stand in his way.
The Fall Nationals event is set for Oct. 10-12 at Ennis, Texas, near Dallas.