LAS VEGAS – Two-time NHRA Funny Car world champ Cruz Pedregon is taking a different approach to the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. The veteran driver is battling in the ultra-competitive Funny Car category without a crew chief.
So far, the concept seems to be working. Pedregon’s Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry has been really quick at times during the season. He claimed his 51st career No. 1 qualifying position at the recent Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Florida.
He will try to earn another No. 1 spot and grab a victory at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, April 5-7 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) are the defending winners of the event that will be televised on ESPN2HD.
Without a high-priced crew chief, Pedregon feels his team has better chemistry and the proof is in how fast his Snap-on Tools Toyota has been running.
“I call them the ‘No-Name’ crew,” Pedregon said. “They are hard-working guys and everybody is loose and we have a lot of fun.”
Pedregon said he decided to try this concept in order to devote more of his budget to acquiring better parts and pieces for his race car.
“I believe in having a good well-oiled machine,” Pedregon said. “The car is a good car. We take good care of it. I take a lot of pride in making sure it has the right equipment. I make sure my guys understand that bolting the car together is as important as tuning the car. A lot of guys want to make you think (the tune-up is) magic and that’s why they make half-a-million dollars and some other guys make peanuts. I turn it the other way and try to put a great quality car out there with great parts.”
Pedregon has claimed two victories at LVMS during his career and last year he left both events there with the low E.T. of the weekend. He has driven one of the quickest cars in the category for much of the last two seasons.
“Our car likes rough, tough and let it rip,” Pedregon said. “Whenever we have a finesse setup the car doesn’t want to hear about it. It likes an aggressive setup. That’s how we race and that’s what works for us.”
He says during the off-season his ‘No-Name’ crew fine-tuned the machine even more.