Tony Pedregon fourth in initial Driver of the Year voting. YORBA LINDA, Calif. -- Tony Pedrgon, driver of the Castrol SYNTECÃ¢"' Ford Mustang Funny Car, was the highest-ranked drag racer in first quarter balloting for the 2003 Driver of the Year...
Tony Pedregon fourth in initial Driver of the Year voting.
YORBA LINDA, Calif. -- Tony Pedrgon, driver of the Castrol SYNTECâ"' Ford Mustang Funny Car, was the highest-ranked drag racer in first quarter balloting for the 2003 Driver of the Year award.
Pedregon, winner of three of the first five events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, finished fourth in the first quarter in voting by a blue ribbon panel of motorsports journalists augmented by the on-line vote of race fans at www.speedtv.com.
CART points leader Paul Tracy was the first quarter points leader. He was followed by NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth and Pedregon. Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch was fifth and perennial World of Outlaws sprint car champion Steve Kinser sixth.
Pedregon was one of five drag racers receiving at least one vote although his 28 voting points exceeded the totals of the other four combined. Brandon Bernstein and Larry Dixon, each the winner of two Top Fuel races this year, got seven points apiece; Doug Kalitta, the No. 1 qualifier in each of the first five races, and Kurt Johnson, the current Pro Stock points leader, each earned two points.
"It's both a surprise and an honor," Pedregon said. "I appreciate the significance of the Driver of the Year program and the fact that it involves all forms of motor racing, from drag racing to CART and Winston Cup."
John Force,the 12-time NHRA Funny Car Champion, is the only drag racer to ever win the Driver of the Year Award, which has been presented annually since 1967. Force was the 1996 Driver of the Year after driving his Castrol GTX Funny Car to 13 victories in 19 events.