Points Leader Drives Special Edition Castrol SYNTEC Ford at Las Vegas

Tony Pedregon gets a good luck KISS this week in his bid to become the first driver other than John Force to win an NHRA Funny Car Championship in the last 11 seasons.

Winner of more races this year (seven) than any other two Funny Car drivers combined, Pedregon will drive a special edition Castrol SYNTEC¿ Ford Mustang bearing images of the rock band Kiss during the third annual AC/Delco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals which concludes Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"This is the third time we've collaborated with KISS," Pedregon said, "and this time maybe we can get them in the winners' circle."

He came close a year ago, reaching the final round before losing to Force in a spectacular side-by-side duel for the POWERade points lead.

This year, he is in a much better position.  While he trailed Force by 13 points entering last year's race, he leads Whit Bazemore by 114 this time around.

That means that if he advances two rounds further than the Dodge driver this
weekend, he officially will join brother Cruz as the only drivers other than Force to have won a an NHRA Funny Car title in the last 14 years.

While most remember last year's final, one in which Force earned a 4.820-4.869 decision, few recall that Pedregon dominated in winning on the same track earlier this year at the Nationals.  As a result, he has placed himself in position to become the first Funny Car driver to sweep both events at The Strip.

A 26-time tour winner, Pedregon over the last eight seasons has compiled one of the most impressive resumes in the sport.  He has finished second in points four times in the last seven seasons and is one of only 21 pro drivers to have won as many as 25 tour events.

The only thing missing is a championship.

"I think until you win a championship, you can't really put yourself in the same category with John, Cruz, Raymond Beadle, Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, Frank Hawley or anyone else who has (won a championship).  We've won a lot of races, but winning the championship is different.  When you win a championship, you know your team was the best not just for one or two weekends but for an entire season.

"We've had some low points (this year), but the bottom line is that we've won seven races in a Funny Car class that is as competitive as any out there.  What better way to lock it up than to win again this week at Vegas?"

Indeed, a victory in either of the last two races (the season ends Nov. 6-9 with the 39th annual Automobile Club of Southern California World Finals at Pomona, Calif.) would put Pedregon into even more select company as the only driver in NHRA history other than Force to win eight or more races in a single season.  Not just the only other Funny Car driver, but the ONLY other driver, period.

Castrol is a global leader in marketing premium automotive product brands such as Castrol GTX, Castrol GTX High Mileage, Castrol SYNTEC, Castrol SYNTEC Blend and Castrol Super Clean. Castrol North America markets its lubricants and services to lube operators, automotive service providers and select retailers in North America. Castrol, the automotive marketing and technology leader with more than 100 years' experience, offers world-class retailer and installer support under one united global brand. Call 1-888-CASTROL or visit

1 Current position in POWERade points.
2 Points position occupied four of the last seven seasons (1996, 1997, 1999, 2002).      
7 Victories this year, tying him with Don "the Snake" Prudhomme (1976) and Kenny Bernstein (1986) for the second most Funny Car victories in one season.
26 Career victories (4th on the all-time Funny Car list and second among active drivers).
114 Points lead over second place Whit Bazemore.

Best time.............4.786 seconds, Oct. 26, 2002.
Best speed.........322.73 mph, Oct. 26, 2002.
Victories..............1 (2003 Nationals)
Notable................runner-up to boss and teammate John Force at last year's AC/Delco Nationals in the race that probably decided the championship in Force's favor.
Last year.............After qualifying No. 2, Beat Bob Bode, Del Worsham and Ron Capps before losing to John Force.

* * * *

Of the 21 pro drivers who have won at least 25 NHRA tour events, only three HAVE NOT yet won a championship   Pro Stock driver Kurt Johnson, second this year for the third time in his career; Cory McClenathan, second four times in Top Fuel; and Tony, runner-up to John Force in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2002.  Only Tony is in a position this year to end that frustration....I n 1996, Tony was the first winner of the Auto Club of Southern California's Road to the Future Award....when he's not driving the SYNTEC Ford, making appearances on behalf of sponsors or spending time with his three-year-old daughter, Cecily, Tony designs and paints custom helmets including those worn by John Force, brother Cruz Pedregon and Funny Car rival Tommy Johnson Jr....among Funny Car drivers, Tony has the second longest active qualifying streak at 62  straight races, second only to boss and teammate John Force, who has made the starting lineup a record 321 a pre-season poll conducted by Louis Brewster of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Calif.), Tony was named the favorite to win the 2003 POWERade title....Tony this week will team with the rock band Kiss for a third special edition version of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford....Micah Roberts of Station Casinos in Las Vegas made Tony the Sports Book favorite to win the Funny Car class.  Tony is the 3-1 favorite ahead of Bazemore (7-2) and Force (4-1).