OF MICE, MEN, AND FUNNY CAR OWNERS
No matter how carefully an action is planned, something may still go wrong with it. Just ask Cruz Pedregon.
Pedregon had the plan laid out at the end of the season to purchase a new Funny Car chassis from Don Schumacher Racing. He learned the hard way that one size does not fit all in the world of Funny Car.
"We’re obviously rivals, but he’s a great man," Pedregon said. "He’s making his equipment available to purchase for an independent team like mine, which is great and a win-win for everybody."
Pedregon made a call to Schumacher after a trying 2017 season with a simple request, "Don, I want to buy one of your chassis, and he said, ‘Sure, no problem."
It just so happened that Schumacher had a chassis on the jig.
Of course, the timeline for Pedregon was to have the car yesterday.
"With some hesitation, he said, ‘Well, the one on there is the Make-A-Wish chassis, but we can make it available to you,’" Pedregon said.
The chassis was in the latter stages of completion.
Therein lies the rub. The Make-A-Wish team had already stripped their Funny Car in preparation for the chassis.
"That’s a lot of work," Pedregon confirmed. "So I have a few friends on that team, and they were not happy about it. So I felt bad for them, but at the same time, Don offered that chassis to me."
Pedregon took delivery of the chassis and once they had it in the shop, realized there was a major issue. All of the Schumacher Funny Car bodies are Dodge Chargers, and of course, Pedregon runs Toyota.
"About two weeks into January we decided to pull the plug on it because the cage was different, in a different location, and we couldn’t get our Toyota Camry to fit on it properly," Pedregon confirmed. "We had to abort the mission there and put it aside and save it for another day because it’s sitting there without a roll cage."
Pedregon said that their next chassis would require some adjustments.
"In the meantime, here we are, these guys, the Make-A-Wish guys, had to build their car all over again," Pedregon said.
And the irony of the story? The chassis didn't even see the race track in Pomona for either team.
"In a perfect world, had we anticipated everything, we probably could have just said, ‘Hey, let's make sure everything’s right,’" Pedregon said. "But until we knew what we had and measured everything, they all look alike, the chassis.
In the end, nobody wins.
"That’s it," he said.
In a twist of fate, Pedregon ended up racing and beating the Make-A-Wish team in the first round of the NHRA Winternationals.