By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Cruz Pedregon Racing has hired former Kalitta Motorsports crew chief Tommy DeLago as Cruz Pedregon’s new crew chief. The hire will take effect immediately.
He replaces former crew chief Aaron Brooks, who was released by the team. DeLago was released by Kalitta Motorsports in May of the Global Technology Funny Car driven by Shawn Langdon.
“Tommy has one of the most impressive resumes in the sport and we believe he can help take our Snap-On Funny Car to the Countdown to the Championship playoffs,” Pedregon said. “His championship-winning experience will be a tremendous asset to our program.”
DeLago will begin his new position on Thursday in Indianapolis. He then will oversee the team’s tuning at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota August 17-19th.
Besides being Langdon’s crew chief this season, as he transitioned to Funny Car after being a long-time Top Fuel dragster pilot, DeLago replaced Del Worsham’s crew chief in her second season. He then was with her through last season when she decided to retire from the sport.
He even helped her win the prestigious U.S. Nationals in 2014.
“I’m very excited to be with a great team that has a lot of potential,” DeLago said. “I’m going to do my best to come and get this Snap-On Tools Funny Car into the Countdown.”
Presently, Pedregon is out of the Countdown to the Championship. DeLago will have two races to get his new driver from 12th into the 10th or higher position to make the Countdown.
Bob Tasca III is presently in the cutoff spot with 691 points. He’s 609 points behind points leader Courtney Force.
Pedregon is just 50 points behind Tasca III for the 10th position.
The team has struggled with Brooks as the crew chief. Yet, in April, he did help Pedregon to his first race win since 2014 when he won the NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey.
Pedregon has been eliminated in the first round nine-times this season, including in Sonoma and Seattle. He has not made it to the second-round when he lost to John Force in Denver to kick off the Western Swing.
Besides his win in Charlotte, he has one additional semi-final appearance in Atlanta, before losing to Courtney Force. This season, he has a 9-14 round record.
In 24 races last season, Pedregon lost in the first-round 18 times. He only made it to the semifinals once when he lost to Robert Hight in Denver. He had a 6-23 in round record.
Brooks came to Pedregon’s team after Morgan Lucas Racing shut down following the 2016 season.
“I felt a change was needed and I wish Aaron all the best in his future endeavors,” Pedregon said.