Cruz Pedregon gets 1st win of 2011

Updated: September 25, 2011, 10:09 PM ET
Associated Press

ENNIS, Texas -- Cruz Pedregon raced to his first win of the season and moved into third in the Funny Car point standings Sunday at the NHRA Fall Nationals.

Bob Vandergriff, Jason Line and Michael Phillips also won their divisions at Texas Motorplex in the second of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Pedregon made pass of 4.200 seconds at 302.48 mph to beat Ron Capps in the final. His first win this season and 29th of his career moved Pedregon from fourth to third in the standings, just seven points behind leader Mike Neff.

"I think this is probably the best race car I've ever had," Pedregon said. "I felt a little more pressure on myself that here we had such a great car that if we don't come out of here with a win, boy, we're really going to be hurting. But it was great to win finally."

Neff lost in the first round to Matt Hagan, who is second in the standings. Hagan was unable to get around Melanie Troxel in the second round and is four points behind Neff.

In Top Fuel, Vandergriff drove his dragster to a 4.243 pass at 238.44 to defeat hometown favorite Spencer Massey and secure his first win in 14 final-round appearances, ending the longest streak of final-round appearances before a win in NHRA history.

Massey moved to the top of the Top Fuel standings, seven points ahead of second-place driver Antron Brown, who fell to Massey in the semifinal round of eliminations.

In a repeat matchup of last week's Pro Stock final, division points leader Jason Line faced Kurt Johnson, winning in his Pontiac GXP with a 6.633 run at 208.46 to avenge a loss at Charlotte, N.C.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Phillips held off Hector Arana Jr., riding his Suzuki to a run of 6.979 at 194.96 to earn his first win in over a year. Arana Jr. moved to third in the standings.

The Countdown to the Championship continues next week with the Auto Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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