November 10, 2017, by Kay Presto, www.carsandcompetition.com —
The name “Pedregon” has filled the NHRA competition ranks for decades, and it is still represented by Cruz Pedregon, who campaigns the Snap-On-sponsored Funny Car in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. On Friday, Cruz announced to the media that Snap-On has signed on with his team for another three years, a boon to his team.
The owner of his own Funny Car team, where he has often served as his own crew chief in the past, Pedregon feels that he will come on strong in the 2018 drag racing season, but for now, he is concentrating on the current competition in this NHRA World Finals.
He also has more announcements to make. “We need to get through this weekend, and then we will announce another position,” he said. “This person will be a great addition to the team; he has great knowledge.
‘We have a great team, but unless we have the personnel to run it, you’re just going to be another car. So for me I’m assembling the right people and myself. I told Snap-On a long time ago when they signed on with me, ‘If it’s a buck issue, I would rather not do it. I will be a spokesperson and not race. I want to win,” and they provided me with what I needed. So that’s where we’re at now. I love the racing, but I also want to win.”
Pedregon says he not only wants to be a successful race driver, he wants to be a successful team owner, so he’s making what he feels are the proper adjustments.
He has already notched two Funny Car championships, his first in 1992 when he defeated the indomitable John Force, and in 2008, when his brother Tony defeated the other driver in contention at that race, so Cruz knows what being a champion feels like, and he wants more.
“This competition nowadays is making me make changes, but there is not a crew chief out here that I would rather have than my current crew chief, Aaron Brooks. We have had our lumps, our tough weekends, but it is a process. We have to be patient, and I see the potential and the brilliance. This weekend you will see more of the car that we will bring out at the Winternationals in 2018. You have to be smart and look at the big picture.”
He stated that Snap-On does numerous promotions for different charities. “We will have three different bodies we can bring out throughout the year, but for this event we are campaigning the solid-red Snap-on body.”
In 2016, Pedregon had a mimimum crew, and had all they could do to prep the car and get it loaded up for the Winternationals. Right after this race, he plans to have a full crew to they can prepare properly for the 2018 season. “That way, we’ll come out here ready to hit it,” he said.
And hopefully, to have a solid chance to win that third World title.