NHRA Funny Car veteran Cruz Pedregon took the high road in his first-round eliminations win over Robert Hight on Sunday at the NHRA Toyota Nationals the The Strip in Las Vegas.
Shortly after the start, Pedregon’s car climbed to a 45-degree-plus angle before crossing the finish line on two tires 600 feet later at more than 215 mph.
Pedregon was sore but unhurt after the car slammed back to the ground with a winning run of 4.24 seconds at 218.55 mph after Hight’s mount smoked the tires. The, however, was too damaged to continue.
“The car’s bent like a pretzel,” Pedregon said.
Ah, but the story of his run will live on.
“All I could see was blue sky, and it was eerily quiet,” said the two-time former NHRA champion. “I was just a helpless passenger. I was disoriented, but my biggest fear was landing on the guardwall or maybe ending up in Robert’s lane. Coming down, I knew it was going to hurt. It all happened so fast; I consider myself a pretty decent driver and always had told my guys I could get my foot off it early if something like that happened, but honestly my foot just came off the pedal, and it already past the point of no return.
“We got a little behind early in the clutch, and when you wear them like that, all of the sudden it gives you a ton of clutch at one spot, and that’s what happened — a combination of that and less downforce from the laid-back headers.”