Two-time NHRA world champion Cruz Pedregon is stepping up to put the word and the “Lights Out on Bullying."
"If there are three things I want to support in life, it's helping kids, helping animals and to stop bullying," said Pedregon. "Growing up, I was bullied a good amount, mostly for not being in a gang. It got so bad at one point that my father had to pull me out of school."
Pedregon took to the power of social media asking his fans of possible places to help support. He came across Chris “Lights Out” Lytle, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) legend and Indianapolis firefighter. Lytle is an advocate for anti-bullying and is passionate about teaching children how to handle bullying situations. He is more than just a mixed martial artist; he is a father of four children – one of whom has autism, and Lytle hopes he can help all children learn to stand up for themselves and others.
In his new book, Lights Out on Bullying (published by WestBow Press), Lytle illustrates, in story form, his mission to prevent children from peers’ hurtful actions through kindness and compassion.
“My book is about teaching kids that just because you are bigger than others, (it) does not mean that you pick on them,” Lytle said. “As the bigger person, it actually feels good to help others. The right thing to do is help others when they need it.”
"It's very exciting to team up with such a competitor like Cruz Pedregon. He is very passionate about what he does and it is great to see he is using he race car to promote helping others."
As Pedregon looks into an upcoming offseason, he also accepted an offer from Lytle that he could not refuse. “Chris offered the team and myself to come workout and train with him this offseason at his gym (Indy Boxing and Grappling) so we are going to be tough and ready to go for the 2015 season,” he said.
(Above) Bud Evans, right, with fellow Safety Safari members, from left, Rick Rickman, Chic Cannon, and Bud Coons. (Below) P.J. and Bernie Partridge.
The NHRA family lost a couple of its longest and biggest supporters last weekend with the passing of former NHRA Safety Safari member Bud Evans and Phillis Jean “P.J.” Partridge, wife of former NHRA division director and vice president Bernie Partridge.
Evans, who died Oct. 3 at 86, was a member of NHRA’s famed Drag Safari that toured the country in the mid-1950s to help car clubs set up and learn how to stage drag races. Within the small trailer that they towed around the country was timing equipment, a PA system, field telephones, a one-cylinder generator, and miles of stainless-steel wire to bring all the electronic equipment to life.
Evans was a full-time member of the 1955 Safari — along with field director Bud Coons, lead tech inspector Chic Cannon, and photographer Eric Rickman — handling race control and announcing duties. A former lake racer, he always was the regular announcer at Colton Raceway in California.
Partridge, known to her close friends as “Peej,” was the strong woman behind the strong man, at Bernie’s side through his meteoric rise within the NHRA ranks, from racer to division director and ultimately to vice president in charge of all field operations before he retired in 1989.
Before it was brought into NHRA headquarters in Glendora, Calif., the Partridges ran NHRA’s field office in Upland, Calif., while NHRA was still located in North Hollywood, and P.J. helped run the operation with a firm hand.
Bernie died in April 2012 after a long illness and was joined by his loving wife just two years after, as she succumbed to a brain tumor Oct. 5 at her home in Hawaii.
The Partridges are survived by two sons, Bernie Jr. and Jim, and predeceased by two others — John, who died just days before his father, and Gary, who passed away in 2011.
The Jim Dunn Racing/Grime Boss Funny Car will be at the Lancaster, Pa., Home Depot on Fruitville Pike this Thursday from 4:30- 6:30 p.m. Driver Jeff Arend will also be on hand meeting fans and signing autographs. Classic rock station, 105.7 will be broadcasting live from the event and giving away tickets to the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Fans stopping by the autograph session will also receive $2 off coupons to purchase Grime Boss Wipes at Home Depot stores across the nation.
Linda McCulloch, wife of legendary Funny Car racer Ed “the Ace” McCulloch and mother of Al-Anabi Top Fuel crew chief Jason McCulloch, died Sept. 17 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 72.
Ed McCulloch posted this message on Facebook in tribute to his wife of 48 years: “She stood by me through all the good times and the bad times. I will miss her and love her forever! Thank you everyone for all your thoughts and prayers; it's touched my heart and is much appreciated!”
Via email, Jason added, "We've gotten lots of calls and texts from many people in the racing community, and my dad and I really appreciate every one of them. My mom was a supporter of a family that loved NHRA Drag Racing; the condolences we've gotten from so many people around our sport mean a great deal to my family and me. We have a chance to win two races this weekend, so I am going to be in Dallas working with the our race team — my mom would completely understand. I'll travel home to California to be with my family on Monday."
Linda McCulloch was one of the 10 founding members of the Drag Racing Association of Women (DRAW), which was created in 1985 to provide financial and emotional support to qualified individuals involved in drag racing accidents at a track.
The McCullochs are pictured here in the Funny Car winner’s circle at the 1988 U.S. Nationals, where Jason was on the crew of the Larry Minor Racing Miller Oldsmobile driven to victory by his father, who won the U.S. Nationals six times (1971, '72, '80, '88, and '90 in Funny Car and '92 in Top Fuel.)