Tommy DeLago will not be back with Funny Car veteran Cruz Pedregon in 2019. Competition Plus first reported DeLago, who started the season with Kalitta Motorsports on Shawn Langdon’s Funny Car, will not return to Cruz Pedregon Racing in 2019.
Pedregon significantly stepped up his program after firing Aaron Brooks and bringing DeLago on board. His average elapsed time was 4.057 with Brooks as crew chief and 4.031 with DeLago in charge. He brought his success percentage (the percentage he got down the track quicker than 4.3 seconds) up to 66 percent following DeLago’s hiring.
"It was pretty straight-forward, it's his car, and he can do whatever he wants to with it, and that includes tuning," DeLago told Competition Plus.
"I've been doing this for over 26 years professionally. I don't know how my skills translate to the real world. I'm not giving up on drag racing, but I do plan to spruce up my resume. I'm planning to flood the marketplace up here in the Detroit suburbs."
Pedregon’s only win in the 2018 season came at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte with Brooks at the helm. He went 9-14 during Brooks’ tenure with one DNQ and went 4-7 after bringing DeLago on board. Pedregon led the class in reaction time, so he may expect more in terms of round wins — though it should be noted in the Funny Car class any reaction time statistic must be taken with a grain of salt.
There was no word given on a replacement for DeLago, which means Pedregon is once again searching for a replacement and a sense of stability. The Funny Car field is expected to be crowded once again in 2019, so DeLago should not have a hard time finding work on a team in some capacity (note the editorializing). It just might not come as a crew chief.
When Pedregon first hired DeLago during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, he pointed to the championship ring on the crew chief’s finger. Whether that means anything to you (or me) is one thing — it likely matters to someone making a hiring call this offseason. Silly season has officially begun in the National Hot Rod Association. With any lucky for DeLago, this is only the beginning.