Pedregon completes excellent three-race swing with semifinal finish SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 3, 2003 - Cruz Pedregon's excellent racing form continued Sunday as he battled his way into the Fram/Autolite Nationals semifinals at Infineon...
Pedregon completes excellent three-race swing with semifinal finish
SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 3, 2003 - Cruz Pedregon's excellent racing form continued Sunday as he battled his way into the Fram/Autolite Nationals semifinals at Infineon Raceway.
This was the third and final event in the annual NHRA western swing, which had other stops in Denver and Seattle, and Pedregon and his Advance Auto Parts Funny Car finished with seven round wins - a runner-up at Denver and two semifinal finishes.
Pedregon moved into the top 10 during the three races and is ninth with 706 points, 12 behind Gary Scelzi, Sunday's race winner. Pedregon defeated Johnny Gray in the first round (5.016 seconds to 13.859) and Keith Jackson in a close quarterfinals race (4.999 to 5.014) before facing Skuza.
Pedregon had a slight edge at the starting line, but his car's tires began spinning and Skuza pulled away to the win, 4.971 to 5.017.
"The tires spun hard leaving the line and prevented us from running a mid-to-high 4.90 (seconds), like we thought we could run," said Pedregon. "I didn't see him at all until the finish line, and then I saw him go by. I went over and shook Skuza's hand and said 'good job.' His team is a lot like ours. It's just starting to come around, too."
"I'm proud we are to the point where we have a predictable racecar and my crew chiefs, Rob Flynn and Dave Fletcher, and consultant Wes Cerny are making good (tune-up) calls. It's been very satisfying, but now we have to pick up the pace."
Eight POWERade Series races remain, beginning with the Lucas Oil Nationals, Aug. 15-17, at Brainerd, Minn.
Qualified: No. 11, 4.940 seconds at 304.74 mph
First round: Pedregon, 5.016 at 298.34 def. Johnny Gray, 13.859 at 78.97; Quarterfinals: Pedregon 4.999 at 302.28 def. Keith Jackson, 5.014 at 296.31; Semifinals: Dean Skuza, 4.971 at 304.80 def. Pedregon, 5.017 at 303.16.
Pro winners: Larry Dixon, Top Fuel; Gary Scelzi, Funny Car; Jeg Coughlin, Pro Stock.
Funny Car Standings: 1, Tony Pedregon, 1210; 2, Whit Bazemore, 1166; 3, John Force, 1011; 4, Del Worsham, 944; 5, Gary Densham, 836; 6, Ron Capps, 830; 7, Tommy Johnson Jr., 780; 8, Gary Scelzi, 718; 9, Cruz Pedregon, 706; 10, Johnny Gray, 689