CRUZ PEDREGON EXPANDS BUSINESS INTERESTS
It’s quirky to think that something as pedestrian as a metal building could be inspirational.
But it has been for two-time Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon, who spent many fond hours as a youngster with drag-racer dad Frank and brothers Frankie and Tony inside their metal-building shop.
Now, Pedregon has taken the opportunity to own his own private-label discount metal building company that caters to the racing industry. Lee Beard, who consults on Pedregon’s Snap-on Tools Snap-on "Makers and Fixers" Dodge Hellcat Funny Car, coordinated the business deal, as well, introducing the principals.
Ben Markham, a senior sales executive in the metals business for 30 years, will – in Pedregon’s words – “quarterback this thing.” And Pedregon has forged a partnership with I.D.E.A.S. (Integrated Design Estimating and Sales) by Campana Building Consultants. I.D.E.A.S. offers state-of-the-art metal building design, analysis, and engineering software tailored to maximize efficiency and minimize fabrication and drafting times and costs.
CEO Fred Campana said, “With freight costs continuing to escalate, CBC’s ten shipping locations throughout the United States further add to the economics of a Cruz Pedregon Express Building. I am excited to work with Cruz, Lee Beard, Ben Markham, and the rest of the Cruz Pedregon team to build a successful company for Cruz.”
It’s likewise for Pedregon, who’ll operate both the race team and Cruz Pedregon Express Buildings at Brownsburg, Ind.
"This is a great opportunity to help bring fully customizable buildings to not only vehicle hobbyist but to the drag racing and dirt racing realms,” Pedregon said. “Being involved in the metal building business has always been a passion of mine that dates back to my early years working with my dad in our shop in California. I’ve always had a love for, I grew up with, my background is mechanics. We had a metal building we worked out of for years. Now having this opportunity to have my own business, with the idea of helping all forms of racers have their own shop, workspace, and storage facility is going to be deeply rooted in the business moving forward."
He said the opportunity was presented to him several months back and the jumped at the chance, not just for sentimental reasons but for the industry connections he saw.
“I’m very fortunate that I get to race for a great company and the best tool made – Snap-on. The building opportunity came to me – and what goes better together? Tools and buildings,” he said. “I looked at it as ‘Hey, I’m out here drag racing, and I have this platform. I’m able to reach a lot of techs throughout the country. I do these ride-alongs with Snap-on on Thursdays. I visit a lot of shops, a lot of dealerships, truck repair [centers], you name it. And I see the importance of having a shop to put your equipment away and work and organize things. And that’s what makes the wheels turn in all these vehicles throughout our industry. It’s all about mechanics. I feel the market is good in my world, so why not?”
Markham has a unique perspective with this venture. He said, “In particular, I have extensive knowledge and experience in the painted metals business and have sold into the metal building industry over my entire career. I love people and love talking to them and helping them solve problems. This could not be a better fit for me. Cruz has a fantastic team of people around him, and they are my kind of people. I feel at home with this team and look forward to winning on the track and building our new company.”
As an Indianapolis resident, he knows the motorsports world beyond this partnership.
“Racing and autosports have been a part of my life since I was a kid. I have been a race fan and have loved cars for as long as I can remember. My two brothers always had fast cars, and I was always surrounded by what I call gearheads, someone always tinkering with cars looking to make them better and faster,” Markham said. “I was involved with IndyCar when I was Vice-President of Sales at Roll Coater and introduced our CEO to Dreyer and Reinbold's ownership. We became a sponsor for almost 10 years. I attended most of the races. I was responsible for bringing Fred Campana into being a sponsor of IndyCar between 2005 to 2010, when he was the CEO of Rigid Buildings.”
Beard has been the linchpin to this deal.
“Lee did bring it to me,” Pedregon said. “Lee has become great friends with Fred Campana. There’s a lot of key people and a lot of experience.”
Markham said, “Lee Beard is a consultant to Cruz Pedregon in all aspects of the business. Lee has excellent ideas and certainly has the experience and knowledge of the drag racing community. Lee certainly played a role in bringing us all together and will continue to provide input and help Cruz. We will utilize Lee as a consultant in all aspects of our business to help us grow and serve the motorsports community and its fans.”
Pedregon said he doesn’t expect any tug-o-war on his time with the additional business decisions to consider.
“I do have a race team that’s well-buttoned-up, and we have good people on that side. I also work with a good staff internally. There’s always going to be stress with any venture,” he said, “but I feel it’ll be minimal. I’m looking forward to it. It’s exciting. I’m already getting a lot of good comments, and people are excited. A couple of people are wanting to get a quote on a building. It’s all great stuff.
“It's taken several months. It was a lot of detail. The heavy lifting was just in the beginning, trying to get everything figured out. Ben Markham is going to quarterback this thing,” Pedregon said.
Markham said he plans to attend Camping World Drag Racing Series events for at-the-track conversations and creating building estimates.
Pedregon won’t be distracted by the building business, nor will he let the racing interfere with his new company. He said, “I’m going to use the same enthusiasm and passion that’s I’ve had for forming and building my race team and surrounding myself with the best people I can. I want it to be successful.”
Taking on this new revenue stream doesn’t mean Pedregon is contemplating leaving his racing career.
He said, “I want to do this with racing for many years to come.”
For more details about Cruz Pedregon Express Buildings, please visit Facebook.com/CruzExpressBuildings.