Seattle: Cruz Pedregon Friday summary

Cruz Pedregon Solid in First Day of Seattle Qualifying KENT, Wash. (July 23, 2004) -- Cruz Pedregon and the Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car navigated its way through the challenging conditions present during the first two rounds...

Cruz Pedregon Solid in First Day of Seattle Qualifying

KENT, Wash. (July 23, 2004) -- Cruz Pedregon and the Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car navigated its way through the challenging conditions present during the first two rounds of qualifying at Pacific Raceways today.

Pedregon recovered from a sour first session to record a solid 5.132-second elapsed time at 260.97 mph, grabbing the 11th-qualified position. The California resident was pleased with how the Advance Auto Parts team reacted, despite the extreme temperatures and a new race surface.

"The fact we have been dealt a new set of cards because of the 85-percent (nitromethane) rule and the new tires - we're taking baby steps," said Pedregon, describing NHRA's new nitromethane rules in effect this weekend for the first time. "(Crew chief) Wes (Cerny) is the type of guy who wants to know why he went quicker. We could throw a 'Hail Mary' at it, nail the set up, but not really know what we did right. Wes has a good strategy and I think we'll be able to come out tomorrow and get into the top eight."

In the last five races, dating back to the NHRA national event at Heartland Park Topeka (Kansas) this past Memorial Day weekend, Pedregon has qualified in the top half of the Funny Car field -- including a number-one qualifier at National Trail Raceway in Kirkersville, Ohio. The California resident is looking to extend that mark tomorrow.

"It looked like we were well on our way to a high 4.90-second run, or a high 5.00-second run," said Pedregon, describing his second-qualifying session. "The track is a little bit better than anticipated. We ran through the clutch a little bit, and it actually dropped two cylinders, four seconds into the run, causing the blower belt to break. I was out of power at about 1,100-feet or so, but it was still a decent run. We'll get out there tomorrow. We feel like, even in the heat of the day, that we can improve on that time. The Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo is definitely the right track."

Advance Auto Parts Racing Notebook:

LESS POWER: The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series has put both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories under a new 85-percent nitromethane rule -- which has come into effect for this weekend's race at Pacific Raceways. The rules, combined with the new Goodyear tire compounds instituted at last weekend's Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, was in response to the Darrell Russell tragedy at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., at the end of June.

Cruz Pedregon, driver of the Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car, talked about the new rules and what it's meant to his team's preparation.

"The 85-percent rule kind of limits you on horsepower," Pedregon said. "You still have to manage the power you do have. We're all racers -- which means we're greedy -- and we all want to go quicker and faster. We'll keep pushing that edge, until we find it.

"If we can run in the high 4.90's, and keep it in that area, we'll be content with that," continued Pedregon, on his strategy for this weekend. "The name of the game is consistency. The new rules have slowed the cars some and it's awfully warm here. I don't think, even with the 90-percent rules package, that we would be going that much quicker and faster. The challenge here is two fold; we have a lot of heat (140-degree track temperatures) and the 85-percent rule. The field look pretty tight, so we should have a good race day."

TRACK TEMPERATURES: Summer time is definitely visiting the Seattle area. Despite a snowcap covering the picturesque mountains shadowing Pacific Raceways, temperatures in the low 90-degree zone had track temperatures hovering just above the 140-degree range -- hottest of the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season.

-PedregonRacing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Cruz Pedregon