Cruz Pedregon's Funny Car goes up in flames

Posted by: Jeremy Patterson on 11/17/2021

Two time NHRA Funny Car world champion Cruz Pedregon suffered a nasty engine explosion in the second round of qualifying at the 49th NHRA Amalie Oil Products Gatornationals. Pedregon, racing in the right lane alongside our very own Ron Capps, looked to be on a solid run when the 11,000 HP engine in his Snap On Tools-Sponsored Toyota Camry funny car let go in a huge ball of fire just before the 1,000 foot mark.

Pedregon, who is one of few drivers campaigning as an independent team, kept his cool and brought the car to a safe stop before exiting out of the roof. The car was still ablaze as Cruz skidded to a halt, a trail of oil visible behind the car. Pedregon motioned for the NHRA Safety Safari to raise the body so they could extinguish the lingering flames.

Luckily for the team, the body looked to be intact, though it will certainly be closely inspected for signs of damage before they return to the track for the last two rounds of qualifying on Saturday. Pedregon is currently qualified in the 13th spot, but would want to try to improve on that position going into eliminations if at all possible.

Pedregon, who won the world championship in 1992 and again in 2008, has struggled to find the consistency needed to return to championship form in recent years. He and his team have shown flashes of potential but seem to falter when it comes to putting together a string of runs in eliminations. However, Pedregon and crew chief Aaron Brooks are adamant that things will come around. They have a talented team of guys on the crew and with a little luck swinging their way will hopefully find the winner’s circle again soon.

Tune in to FS1 throughout the weekend to catch all of the action from the Gatornationals, and keep an eye out for the slow motion replay of this explosion! You don’t want to miss it!