Sonoma: Cruz Pedregon preview

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 25, 2006) -- Cruz Pedregon, the 1992 NHRA Nitro Funny Car world champion, and his Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car Team are headed to the beautiful wine country in Sonoma, Calif. this weekend for the Fram Autolite NHRA...

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 25, 2006) -- Cruz Pedregon, the 1992 NHRA Nitro Funny Car world champion, and his Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car Team are headed to the beautiful wine country in Sonoma, Calif. this weekend for the Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway, the 15th of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events in 2006. Pedregon retains ninth place in the NHRA point standings after their last round in Seattle.

They don't refer to this race as being in the Wild West for nothing. In the heart of Northern California's high-tech region and sponsored by Infineon Technologies, the facility annually plays host to some of the tour's most dramatic moments. A $70 million modernization project was completed four years ago that included a new 660-foot concrete launchpad and led to scores of new track records. Despite its midsummer position on the schedule, the event is blessed with pleasant weather that, combined with a quality racetrack, has yielded impressive performances.

"The Advance Auto Parts Team have had some good wins and a lot of great memories at Infineon Raceway, and we would certainly like to win there again," stated Pedregon. "It's wine country, and the wins also taste good there, so what more can you ask for? We're hoping for a break from Mother Nature's heat this summer in Sonoma so we can get back to running some fast times like we've been accustomed to. Infineon is a top-notch facility -- it's one of Bruton Smith's tracks, and he's put a lot of effort into upgrading it recently. We really enjoy bringing both the fans and our sponsors out to the track during our mid-summer western swing. It would be a great way to wrap up this stretch of races with a nice, long Sunday."

During his rookie season in Funny Car in 1992, Pedregon won the NHRA world championship. With this accomplishment he became the only racer other than John Force to win the championship in the 90s. In 1997, Pedregon was also the first motorsports athlete to receive the "Premio De Oro," the only national award for Hispanic athletes. Born into a racing family, Pedregon's father, Frank, raced Top Fuel dragsters in the 1960s. His brothers Tony and Frank also compete in the Nitro Funny Car ranks. In 1980, Cruz won his first official drag race at the age of 15, driving a 1953 Kenworth truck.

How to get to Infineon Raceway: The track is 35 minutes north of San Francisco at the junction of Highways 37 and 121. From Sacramento, take Interstate 80 to Highway 12 to Highway 29. Travel north on Highway 29 to Highway 121, then west to the track. For quick access, avoid using Highway 37 westbound from Vallejo to Highway 121. >From East Bay cities, take I-580 west across the San Rafael Bridge to Highway 101, then travel north to Highway 37 and east to Highway 121 or Lakeville Highway (both have track entrances).

After conquering the quarter-mile Infineon Raceway this weekend, the NHRA warriors head to NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (MN) Int'l Raceway on August 10-13.

-www.PedregonRacing.com.

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Cruz Pedregon