Cruz Pedregon blows the body off his Funny Car

Posted by: Jeremy Patterson on 11/17/2021

After toughing out several years without a win, Cruz Pedregon finally broke through and claimed the Funny Car class win earlier this year at the 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway just outside Charlotte, NC. It seemed Pedregon, who’s managed to keep his Snap On Tools-sponsored Camry on the track despite struggling to find the winner’s circle, has finally made the turn and found a combination and tuneup that has him back in the conversation when it comes to Funny Car.

However, that rebound was dealt a serious blow this weekend at the Virginia NHRA Nationals when he demolished his gorgeous Toyota body and an engine in qualifying.

Lined up alongside fellow Funny Car veteran Tim Wilkerson in qualifying at the recently-resurfaced Virginia Motorsports Park, Cruz appeared to be on a pretty solid run when things took a drastic turn for the worse as the car neared the 1,000 foot mark. With no signs of trouble like is often seen just before a massive engine explosion, Cruz’s engine detonated in a massive fireball. The force of the explosion caused the body itself to deteriorate around the remnants of the engine and the chassis beneath. Pieces of the body flew high into the air and over in front of Wilkerson, who had thankfully smoked the tires early in the run and was coasting down his lane.

Had Wilkerson been close to Cruz, it’s very likely the shrapnel could have contacted Tim’s car, causing a number of problems for the Levi-Ray-Shoup Mustang.

Pedregon climbed from the wreckage with no visible injuries and actually made the call for round one thanks to having a spare body in the trailer. He would win his first round matchup with Robert Hight before falling to eventual runner up John Force in the second round. Look for Cruz to show this was little more than a hiccup as the tour rolls into Bristol this weekend.