Cruz Pedregon Destroys Brand New Body in Massive Explosion!

Posted by: Jeremy Patterson on 11/17/2021

It’s no secret that the first stop on the NHRA’s annual Western Swing, the Mopar Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway just outside Denver is hard on parts. The thin mountain air provides tuners with challenges faced only once a year, and while most of them have data from previous trips to the mountain, even veteran tuners can be just a tad off, and at the Mile Highs, being a tad off can lead to, well… this!

Two time NHRA Funny Car world champion Cruz Pedregon literally demolished his brand new Toyota Camry body on its first pass down the track. When the team rolled into the gate at Bandimere, they were stoked about debuting the new-look Camry with one-off red and black Snap On graphics for the swing. They literally got to enjoy the new flopper body for one half of one pass before the engine exploded spectacularly, shredding the body into several large pieces and many many small ones.

You can see, especially in the replay, that the body flew over the wall and onto the grassy area between the track and the stands, with some of the smaller pieces almost certainly landing among the fans.

Pedregon showed off his veteran skills by keeping the car in his lane and bringing it safely to a stop despite being blinded temporarily by the intense flames rolling around him in the chassis after the explosion. The climbed from the car uninjured and would pull out a spare back up body to run the rest of the weekend, dejected about losing his new body so early in the swing.

While an explosion this violent would have almost definitely destroyed any of the four main Funny Car body styles – Dodge Charger, Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang and the aforementioned Camry – DSR and Dodge are hoping to cut down on attrition and possible injuries by reengineering the burst panel, a section of the body built to separate from the rest of the body in the event of an explosion and hopefully prevent such catastrophic damage to the bodies.

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