After a season of exciting, nail-biting Funny Car racing, Cruz Pedregon has emerged as this year’s winner. This is the second time he has won the NHRA Funny Car championship and it is the first time in 16 years that he has been able to enjoy such a victory. His championship victory was sealed on Sunday when he took home the Southern Californian Auto Club NHRA Finals trophy.
It has been a long and eventful season for Pedregon. First he won his first-round meeting with Jerry Toliver. Things then went on to look even better for him when Tim Wilkerson, the driver who’d been leading all season long, fouled against John Force. Another top competitor, Robert Hight, lost to Tony Pedregon. Both losses meant that the drivers were now out the running for the title and so Cruz’s title hopes were secure. Pedregon then went on to win his third straight event in his Advance Auto Parts Toyota Solara. His victory over Ron Capps and other competitors in the NHRa Playoffs gave him his 26th career win. It was also the second time that he’d managed to win on his home track. Just moments after he found out that his brother had beaten the last competitor to pose a threat to his overall victory, Cruz commented: “I’m stunned. It’s awesome Tony got that win right there because I’m standing here thinking of my dad (Frank) and that I hope he’s proud of his sons. I was eighteen when he died and Tony was sixteen and now we each have two world championships. We’ve come a long way for a couple of Hispanic kids from Chino.”
Meanwhile Eddie Krawiece, who was competing in Pro Stock Motorcycle, took home his first POWERade Series crown. Amazingly enough he managed to do so without winning one race during the season. He is now one of only two drivers in the history of the NHRA to win a season title without earning an actual individual race victory, showing just how advantageous consistent good placements can be in the long-run when it comes to competing in a championship series.