O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals
Pedregon advances to quarterfinals
Houston, Sunday: Defending Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon advanced the Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro to the quarter-finals today at the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.
Pedregon defeated Ron Capps in the first round of eliminations with his weekend best elapsed time of 4.892 seconds at 296.63 mph, fourth quickest of the session, to Capps' slower elapsed time of 4.947 seconds at 306.81 mph. Pedregon extended his advantage over Capps in heads up competition to 17-14.
"The car made a good pass in the first round," said Pedregon. "We're continually improving with the more laps we get on the track. We still need to keep focus on consistency but overall I feel we're doing a great job."
In the quarterfinals Pedregon faced Gary Densham. This is the second time this season these two have met, Pedregon winning the first meeting in Phoenix. Tony smoked the tires at about the 200-foot marker and then Densham lost traction. They both pedaled it to the finish but it was Densham who crossed the finish line first with an elapsed time of 5.488 seconds at 248.98 mph to Pedregon's elapsed time of 6.182 seconds at 178.26 mph.
"We just had too much clutch in it which caused us to smoke the tires," said Pedregon. "I started to pedal it but he was already ahead of me when he lost traction. We learned a lot of things this weekend that we can take to Bristol in a couple of weeks.
"I had a great weekend with the Quaker State people that were in attendance this weekend. They are just as excited as we are about the rest of this season. I'm glad they were able to come out and experience our sport right in their backyard."
Pedregon qualifies in top half of Funny Car field
Houston, Saturday: Defending race champion and Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon powered his Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro to the top-half of the field during the last qualifying session for the NHRA Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.
The Dickie Venables-tuned Chevrolet ran an elapsed time of 4.912 seconds at 298.27 mph to qualify 8th.
"We wish we had another session under the conditions we had last night," said Pedregon. "But we're real happy with the way we recovered today. We made two good runs today in warmer conditions. We would've liked to have qualified a little better than we did but I feel good about how we performed in the warmer conditions considering that the forecast looks the same for tomorrow and I think that gives us some momentum.
Pedregon will face Ron Capps in the first round of final eliminations. Pedregon has a 16-14 advantage over Capps in heads up competition.
"We're in Quaker State's backyard and we expect to perform well," said Pedregon. "We have a lot of people out here from the corporate office supporting us and we want to be able to show them what this car and team are capable of."
Tony's teammate Cruz Pedregon is qualified 10th positioning the brother's on opposite sides of the ladder. In 1997 they met in the final round - the first and only time two brothers have met in the finals.
Defending champ making progress
Houston, Friday: The first day of qualifying was completed today for the NHRA Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Defending race champion Tony Pedregon, drove his Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro to an elapsed time of 5.034 seconds at 291.01 mph to qualify 11th.
"The car was on a decent run until I had to pedal it once and then it still was able to put up a 5.03 second pass," said Pedregon. "We'll get it straightened out tomorrow and work towards moving up into the top-half of the field."
Pedregon heads "home" to Houston
Houston, pre-race: For defending Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon, Houston Raceway Park has been very kind. He has raced at the infamous track 14 times in his professional Funny Car career and has managed to accumulate four wins, two runner up finishes and has advanced to three semifinals. He has also qualified in the top-half of the field at 12 of the 14 races.
Entering his first season as team owner and driver, this race has an added significance since his sponsor Quaker State is based in Houston.
“I’m going to be spending some time at the Quaker State corporate offices on Thursday, and I’m looking forward to getting better acquainted with everyone,” said Pedregon. “We have quite a few people coming out to the race and I think they are equally as excited for this weekend as we are and are very strong supporters of this new drag racing team.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing in Houston,” added Pedregon. “There seems to be a big Hispanic following and it keeps getting bigger, and whenever the drag races come into town they show their support to our team. I have relatives that live in San Antonio and El Paso so it’s kind of like a home track for me even more so now with Quaker State involved.”
Pedregon earned his first low-qualifier award of the season in Las Vegas where he set the track record elapsed time of 4.747 seconds. He was runner up in Phoenix and currently sits 8th in the NHRA POWERade Funny Car points standings.
“In a short amount of time I feel we’ve really gotten the performance level where it needs to be and now we just need to focus on consistency. The Houston track is at sea-level and the surface has a tendency to get fast when conditions are right and if they are then we have to be ready to react and make good calls.”
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