The Snap On Tools backed Cruz Pedregon team is looking to get back on track this weekend in Bristol and the Thunder Valley Nationals.
It has been a season of ups and downs already for Cruz Pedregon and the Snap On team. Earlier in the season the team was seeing great progress, and even captured his first win in quite some time, but last weekends massive explosion was the culmination of lingering issues.
The NHRA rolled into Virginia last weekend for the first time in about a decade and it’s a place that Cruz loves to race at. Expectations were high for the team as the forward progress, including a win, had the single car team looking forward to the remainder of the 2018 season. All of that came to a dramatic boom in Virginia though, as a mechanical caused what was one of the worst explosions Cruz has ever experienced. To watch it was like watching it rain carbon fiber though. A brand new lightweight body absolutely destroyed.
As you can see, this explosion sent parts and pieces everywhere. Even the tops to the mags looks like frisbee’s flying out the front of the car. This caused the team to scramble back to the pits and try to prepare for round four of qualifying. Unfortunately, the explosion was so huge that the team took the extra time and ended up skipping round four of qualifying and concentrate on getting ready for race day.
Cruz faced off against Robert Hight in the first round of eliminations on Sunday last weekend. Without getting up for Q4 on Saturday, Cruz was left in the precarious position of being #15 on the qualifying sheet and Robert was sitting healthy at #2. Those numbers don’t really matter on race day though, as the team got their car together and took out Robert in E1 as both cars had issues, but Cruz was able to leg out the round win.
Unfortunately for Cruz though, beating Robert meant that he would have to square off against sixteen-time World Champion John Force. John and Cruz have faced off more times than most people can even count over the years, and this time it was John that took the win. It was time to put the Snap On Toyota back on the trailer and get ready for Bristol.
Team Snap On was lucky that there was no chassis damage during the explosion, but it left them one body short for the three-race swing. They have the body on that the call Frankenstein this weekend, along with one other body as a last case scenario. Since this is the third of four races in a row for the Nitro cars, there was no way they could risk not having another body to compete this swing.
While these aren’t the most optimal conditions for the team, there are very few teams that can pull off as much as the Snap On team without the resources of larger teams. You can bet that they will come out swinging this weekend, as Cruz is currently sitting in 10th on the points sheets and would like to maintain, if not move up on that list and make sure that the close we get to Indy and the countdown, the more secure he is in the countdown to the championship.
Watch for Cruz, Aaron, Caleb, and the rest of the team to make A to B passes on a track that is sure to be in excess of 120 degrees by the time we get to qualifying this afternoon. Cruz has always said that he enjoys these conditions as he feels it helps to level the field.