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Tue, 21 Dec 2004, 12:47 PM

Cruz Pedregon to Compete in Chili Bowl
Courtesy of David Harris

California Resident Adds Name to List of Stars



TULSA, Okla. -

Rendering of Cruz's midget.
Cruz Pedregon, who normally drives the Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car Monte Carlo on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit, will take his turn behind the wheel of a midget sprint car during the upcoming 19th annual Chili Bowl at the Tulsa Expo Raceway on Jan. 5-8.

Pedregon will be wielding his own ride, sponsored by Advance Auto Parts and consulted with by West Coast open-wheel standout Cory Kruseman the two-time and defending Chili Bowl winner.

I love midget and sprint car racing, said Pedregon, who started his racing career around the local ovals of Southern California. I was a track champion in Ventura, Calif., back in the 1980 s before I got into drag racing. This is something Ive wanted to do for a long time.

Theres a lot of driving talent in drag racing and I think out sport needs to be represented, Pedregon added. Its definitely a challenge to drive a 380-horsepower race car that weighs only 900 pounds. You have to steer with the throttle, but its definitely something Ive learned through throttling the Funny Car. I have been practicing out at Ventura Raceway, a quarter-mile dirt track, at Cory Krusemans Sprint Car Driving School. Ive made several hundred laps in a sprint car since the NHRA season ended this past November.

NHRA drivers Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi competed in the Chili Bowl last year. This years edition will be star-studded as well, with NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart & Kasey Kahne, along with World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser submitting entries.

There will be a lot of great drivers in this event, so Im trying to manage my expectations, said Pedregon, who made four final-round appearances during this last NHRA season. Im also a big fan of Steve Kinser and hes a great guy. Hes a Quaker State Racing teammate and we recently talked about running in the Chili Bowl. Im really looking forward to this.

According to Pedregon, this isnt a one-time activity.

I would like to run a few more dirt track races when time permits, Pedregon said. This will also be an opportunity to allow my step son Josh get started in racing.





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