Tony Pedregon

Funny Car champion Quaker-States his position

by Susan Wade

ost National Hot Rod Association fans would say it was the worst-kept secret. But, the Pedregon Racing camp would say the union of Funny Car-driving brothers Cruz and Tony under one corporate umbrella was a well-concealed deal, for it was hammered out for months before the public got wind of it this fall.

Who's right? Who cares? Tony Pedregon left John Force Racing the day after the season ended, unveiled his new Quaker State-sponsored car Dec. 4 at the Performance Racing Industry Show in Indianapolis and is busy working with crew chief Dickie Venables to complete his team before January preseason testing.

The reigning champion talked with DRO about the process of change and the challenges before him. He also sent a message for anyone wondering if he's making a mistake to leave John Force Racing: Get over it. This is a business decision.

DRO: You realize a lot of people think you're crazy to leave John Force Racing, even if it means getting to be your own boss.

PEDREGON: That's the opinion of people who probably never have taken a step outside their comfort zone. Anyone who ever has ventured out on his own understands. It wasn't an easy decision. It was a well-thought-out one. I spent months weighing the pros and
cons. No one can understand what I was up against.

DRO: Don't you think you're giving up the best resources, in terms of brainpower, technical support, and funding? And denying Castrol the chance to bask in the glory of the championship it has helped create?

PEDREGON: Emotionally, mentally I was in the middle. The mixed emotions came at a lot of different times. John made several counteroffers. I was being pulled in so many different directions, but you don't base your decision on emotions. The decision was mine. If I stayed, I don't know if we could ever top that. This way I can go out on top. This wasn't about winning a championship and taking it someplace else. I asked myself, 'Am I going to be better prepared down the road?' Sponsors don't really wait.

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