Cruz Pedregon, behind the wheel of his John Collins-tuned Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car , turned the fastest passes on the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) opening day Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The seasoned racer, who was also the low qualifier at the Winternationals two weeks ago, out-hustled the field with two impressive passes of 3.910 and 3.934, securing him the No. 1 spot after the first two qualifying sessions.
Despite some difficulties going down the strip, his Snap-on Tools Charger completed the best and second-best passes of the first two sessions. Pedregon claimed the car was all over the track and compared it to a “wild bull” he was attempting to hold on to.
Nevertheless, Pedregon remained confident and told his team not to back down too much. He said that he could handle the car and that his focus was on driving straighter and being more consistent.
Pedregon aims to back the car down and try to race smart.
Alexis DeJoria, who made it to the final semi-finals at last year’s event, had matching passes of 3.933 in each of the first two sessions from her Del Worsham- and Nicky Boninfante-prepared Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota, with the second pass being the best of the Q2 session.
In addition, other drivers who qualified for the top-8 in Funny Car include Matt Hagan, Bob Tasca III, Robert Hight, John Force, Tim Wilkerson, and Bobby Bode III. Ron Capps, Paul Lee, and Alex Laughlin also had impressive runs, finishing in under four seconds.
Chad Green currently sits on the bump spot with a 4.259 but faces competition from Blake Alexander, two-time Vegas four-wide winner J.R. Todd, and Jeff Diehl.
Jeff Arend, who is currently qualified No. 15, will not continue in the event after a massive engine explosion on his first pass in Peter Russo’s Monte Carlo that damaged the body and many of its parts.
Saturday’s qualifying will determine Sunday’s four-wide eliminations. NHRA.TV will stream the sessions LIVE, with the Q3 qualifying session scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. PDT / 3:00 p.m. EDT debut, while the Q4 session will begin at 2:30 p.m. PDT / 5:30 p.m. EDT.