Funny Car racer Cruz Pedregon and Top Fuel racer Leah Pritchett made a trip to Napa Valley to join the Oakland Raiders in training camp
NAPA, CA – August 3, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Funny Car racer Cruz Pedregon and Top Fuel racer Leah Pritchett spend most of their time on dragstrips across the country, but after this weekend’s Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals, the two drivers stepped off the racetrack and onto the gridiron for some summertime football.
Pedregon and Pritchett are in the middle of the Western Swing, one of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ most treacherous stretches with races in Denver, Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle in back-to-back-to-back fashion. After completing the second stop of the Swing at Sonoma Raceway, the two racers stopped by the Oakland Raiders’ training camp facility in Napa, Calif., on Monday to watch the team prepare for their season, which is about to begin.
“It’s an honor for me to come out here to the Raiders’ training camp and I really appreciate them having us,” said Pedregon, driver of the Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry, as practice was getting starting. “I’ve been a Raiders fan since I was a teenager in Los Angeles and I came to love everything they were about. It’s a pleasure to see all that these guys do to prepare for the season. It reminds me of sitting at the starting line during a drag race getting ready to launch.”
Pedregon and Pritchett, both from Southern California, were also able to meet some of the Raiders’ players and coaches after practice, including Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr and head coach Jack Del Rio, whose uncle Wayne won best-appearing car at the 1971 NHRA Winternationals.
“As a Raiders fan, I was really happy to meet Derek and coach Del Rio,” Pedregon said. “Derek reminds me of the driver and coach Del Rio as the crew chief, orchestrating the whole run. It was great to talk with them and compare sports, from everything that goes into a run down the dragstrip, to everything that happens in one play on the football field.”
The drivers also challenged some of the players to a friendly reaction time competition on a Christmas Tree simulator. Four-time Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece, kickers Sebastian Janikowski and Giorgio Tavecchio, punter Marquette King, long snappers Jon Condo and Andrew East, and offensive lineman Austin Howard went head-to-head with the two racers. Pedregon and Pritchett flashed their ‘Go on Yello’ expertise, but the players caught on quickly and were cutting lights that would make crew chiefs happy.
“These are some bad dudes right here at training camp,” Pritchett, driver of the Mopar / Pennzoil dragster, said. “I’ve got furious power on the track and they’ve got furious power on the field. These guys really gave us a run for our money on the Christmas Tree, but being the athletes they are, that’s no surprise. I’m really happy the Raiders invited us out here to catch some fresh air after a weekend of nitro.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Pacific Raceway in Seattle this weekend, Aug. 5-7 for the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, the 16th of 24 events of the season and final event of the Western Swing. Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature rounds at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 1 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.nhra.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association