Cruz Pedregon secured his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season on Saturday at the O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals outside of Houston. He’s qualified on top eight times in his career at Royal Purple Raceway.
It’s a good thing he has a good track record and two good runs carried over from Friday, because Saturday did not produce the kind of performance results he wanted.
Pedregon smoked the tires during Saturday’s first session and had to lift in the final when his car began drifting out of the groove.
“It’s a good thing we had those two great runs yesterday, and we dropped cylinders like we did yesterday,” explained Pedregon. “The good news is that we held on to the number one spot and we can go in and adjust the fuel system. It’s an honor to be number one but I am already thinking about race day.”
Pedregon’s 4.103 held through Saturday’s warm conditions. The two-time series champion will face Gary Densham in the first round.
“I wouldn’t say we tested today but we did experiment with a new clutch,” admitted Pedregon. “We still don’t think it affected us but you just never know, so we are going to put back the way it was yesterday. There’s always that possibility that it changed the car and the fuel curve.”
The heat, Pedregon believes, made a difference on Saturday.
“It was warmer out there and noticed a lot of people out there dropping cylinders,” said Pedregon. “These engines are susceptible when it is more humid out there, plus you are taking away clutch because you can’t push as hard. The load is decreased a bit. The conditions were the same for everyone.”
Pedregon noted some of the frontrunners fared well in the conditions, most notably Ron Capps, who finished the final session as second quickest.
“We are going to have to be on our toes on Sunday,” said Pedregon. “Once we all get in the second round, it’s anyone’s game. We go to bed tonight and come tomorrow, we’ll be nervous again.”
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