Sonoma: Cruz Pedregon preview

Cruz Pedregon Renewing Old Battles Two-Straight Finals Buoy Advance Auto Parts Racing Team SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2004) -- Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon and John Force have shared many battles over the years.

Cruz Pedregon Renewing Old Battles
Two-Straight Finals Buoy Advance Auto Parts Racing Team

SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2004) -- Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon and John Force have shared many battles over the years. In the early 1990's, each driver stared across each other with many a NHRA national event victory on the line.

In fact, Pedregon really challenged Force...being the only other driver to place a world championship trophy on his mantle (1992) during that period of time. And recently, the Pedregon versus Force rivalry took on another twist when Cruz's brother Tony wrapped up his first title last year with John Force Racing, then left to form his own racing operation (with Cruz) at the beginning of this season.

Pedregon and Force faced off in the finals of the NHRA national event at Pacific Raceways - rekindling some of those old memories. Pedregon has also won eight rounds of competition in the last three races. More than any other driver in the category - except for, guess whom, John Force - who has also matched Pedregon's round victory total since Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

Despite all the memories, Pedregon is still focused on building a consistent, championship contender for 2004 and beyond. The strength of his last three race performances has placed Pedregon in a solid, top-10 points position, along with the confidence that comes with that.

This weekend's 17th annual Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway is the next step for this building Advance Auto Parts Racing team. Pedregon revealed his mindset for the weekend, which culminates the three-race western swing.

"Our goals for Sonoma, regardless of conditions, is to qualify in the top half and come out on race day in a good position," said Pedregon, who will be going for a seventh-straight, top half of the field qualifying effort. "There's no reason why we can't keep this thing going. (Crew chief) Wes (Cerny) was disappointed we didn't get the win in Seattle -- and I like that about him. He gets a little emotional, and that's what we need to win. We always want to win, but if you get to the final, you beat everyone else.

"We made a couple of strong runs in Seattle," Pedregon continued. "Outside of two cars, we had the quickest elapsed time of the weekend. That tells me that we can run hard, when it's time to do so. Like everyone, we need to be a little sharper adjusting when the track changes. But, that will come. The more runs Wes and the team gets, the better we will be. No matter what the conditions are like in Sonoma -- hot or cold -- I think we'll be ready."

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 www.advanceautoparts.com.

Advance Auto Parts Racing Notebook:

FOOTBALL FAN: When not piloting his Advance Auto Parts Monte Carlo Nitro Funny Car through the timing lights, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series driver Cruz Pedregon turns his attention to the National Football League, and his favorite team the Oakland Raiders -- a local favorite around Infineon Raceway.

-PedregonRacing.com

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Cruz Pedregon