ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (AP) — Tony Pedregon raced to his second straight Funny Car win, beating Ashley Force Hood in the final of the United Association NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Top Fuel star Larry Dixon picked up his fifth win in Englishtown, Jeg Coughlin won the Pro Stock competition, and Craig Treble topped the Pro Stock Motorcycle field in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
Pedregon powered his Chevy Impala SS to a 4.246-second run at 260.56 mph for his 42nd career win and second in Englishtown. Pedregon also moved past points leader Ron Capps to take the top spot in the Funny Car points standings.
"I never thought I’d be afraid of a girl," Pedregon said about the finale against Force Hood. "Fear of losing was in the back of my head. I knew we had a good race car. It ran good in the heat, and it ran good with cloud cover.
"Before the final, I just knew that Dickie (Venebles, crew chief) was making a lot of adjustments and I had a feeling it would be a close race. I heard her for a while. My car was revving up, spinning the tires. We got after it because we had to. I could feel the G’s falling off, and I was worried. If the track was 1,320 feet, I’d be in big trouble. I didn’t get off throttle. I just hung on. It was just enough. You don’t know how relieved I was to see that win light."
Last year, Scott Kalitta was killed after his Funny Car burst into flames and crashed at the end of the track during the final round of qualifying. As a safety measure, the NHRA cut the length of Top Fuel and Funny Car races from the traditional quarter-mile to 1,000 feet — a reduction of 320 feet.
In Top Fuel, Dixon drove his dragster past points leader Antron Brown to grab his third win of the season. Dixon’s run of 4.553 seconds was enough to give him his fifth win at Englishtown and 46th of his career.
Defending Pro Stock champion Coughlin drove his Chevy Cobalt to a 6.598 at 209.49 against Mike Edwards to grab his fifth win of the season and second consecutive victory. It also gave the four-time champ his third win in Englishtown and 45th victory of his career.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Craig Treble drove his Suzuki to a 6.955 at 193.10 against defending world champion Eddie Krawiec. Treble picked up his second win of the season, 14th of his career and second at Englishtown.