Funny Car champion
Quaker-States his position
by Susan Wade
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.
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
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.