NHRA Driver Preview: Cruz Pedregon
In 2017, Cruz Pedregon made a lot of strides and was able to make the countdown at the US Nationals last season. Even though the season may have not ended how they wanted it to, Pedregon said the teams still made a lot of improvements last season. “We developed a new setup for the season,” Pedregon said. “It did not materialize into round wins or race wins. However, behind the scenes, we believe we have developed something that we feel can carry us into some victories into the upcoming season.”
The team is in the process of building a new car as well as a new chassis which Pedregon thinks will put his team on the path to winning rounds and races in 2018. “We are going through and checking off every box to come out strong for 2018,” Pedregon commented. Even though Pedregon did not win a race last year, with all the events that went on off season he thinks last year was a step forward in the right direction. “There were a lot of things that we could have done last year that we did not,” Pedregon said. “I wanted to start something new and bring more people on to help. It was a year to help us get where we are now,” Pedregon continued.
Some changes Pedregon has made is that he has invested in his race team and has also bought top notch quality parts for his funny cars. A lot of that is credited to his primary sponsor Snap On which has allowed him and his race team to get the best quality equipment to go out and win races. He also brought on an assistant crew chief in Glen Huszar who was the assistant Crew Chief for Alexis Dejoria last season.
Pedregon also gave his thoughts on the state of the NHRA and how it has grown over the years. “We go to a lot of different venues throughout the year where you typically don’t really see NASCAR and Indycar go up to,” Pendragon said. NHRA always brings a different experience for the fans. Power and speed will always be our selling point and you also have the sound of the cars. The sport kind of sells itself,” Pedregon said.
Pedregon also noted that bringing television production in house with FOX Sports and also having races live is also a huge step in the right direction. He has also noticed that more fans are attending the races most notably the final race of the year at Pomona. “I was in the grandstands at the last race at Pomona. A couple of championships weren’t decided yet and that track holds a lot of people. Pomona was filled to capacity,” Pedregon remarked.
With all the changes made this offseason and last offseason, Pedregon believes that he can win a race in 2018. When asked Pedregon stated: “Absolutely! I’m smiling because I’m looking forward to the challenge. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t check to make sure my ducks are in a row. You never know until you go out there but we really like our chances. I really think we can be up there contending for wins.”
The 2018 NHRA Season opens up on February 12th for the Circle K NHRA Winternationals.
The race can be seen on FS1.