“We have a good running car and it is forgiving,” said Pedregon, currently fifth in the points standings. “It is making us look probably better than we are. The Snap-on Toyota has been running good since mid-year last year. Over the winter we made some changes and some improvements actually. It didn’t fall off at all; in fact if anything it picked up a little more consistency.”
Since last season Pedregon has claimed six No. 1 qualifying positions, but only one victory in two final round appearances. After exiting in the quarterfinals at each of the first three races of this season, he hopes to make the transition from being quick in qualifying to being quick through four elimination rounds on race day.
“I’ve had a lot of top qualifying positions and they are nice and I never take any of them for granted but at the end of the day it would be nice to close the deal,” said Pedregon, who has 30 career victories, his last coming at the 2012 Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona. “Heck even going to the final round would be a feather in our cap. It has been a good car all year, but we had some bad luck in the first two races and hopefully one of these days it will show all it can do.”
In order to get back to the winner’s circle in Las Vegas, Pedregon will have to outrun a host of tough competitors, which includes last year’s winner, Auto Club Ford Mustang driver Hight and sophomore sensation Courtney Force in her Traxxas Ford Mustang. The 2012 Funny Car world champion, “Fast Jack” Beckman, Arizona Nationals winner Ron Capps, Gatornationals winner Johnny Gray, Matt Hagan and Alexis DeJoria are also hungry for a win in Sin City.
In Top Fuel, reigning world champion Antron Brown comes to Las Vegas fresh off a win in Florida while fellow teammate Tony Schumacher looks to add victory No. 7 at LVMS to his resume. Winternationals winner Shawn Langdon, Auto Club Road to the Future rookie candidate Brittany Force, defending event winner Massey, Brandon Bernstein and Doug Kalitta are all among the pre-race favorites in the 8,000-horsepower category.
The stiff competition in Pro Stock looks promising as ultra-quick Mike Edwards looks for his fourth consecutive top qualifying position of the season while Winternationals winner Vincent Nobile looks for his second win of the season. Defending world champion and Gatornationals winner Allen Johnson, Jeg Coughlin, Phoenix winner Erica Enders-Stevens and the Summit Racing duo of Greg Anderson and Jason Line also will be in the hunt for the Wally.