Chevrolet Performance US Nationals Return To Lucas Oil Raceway
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Chevrolet Performance US Nationals are returning this week to Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont.
It's the final stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season schedule, and is widely regarded as the biggest event on the drag racing circuit, one of those who believe that to be true in Funny Car competitor Cruz Pedragon. He has won in the Funny Car division three times.
"It's the prestige of it. It's the name of it: The US Nationals," Pedragon says of the event. "It's not quite the Indy 500, but it’s out Indy 500 of drag racing."
Pedragon's Funny Car team is one of several teams from multiple divisions that will descend on Lucas Oil Raceway this Labor Day weekend. Drivers competing in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro-Stock and Motorcycle divisions will compete in an elimination style event. The teams will make passes down a quarter-mile drag strip at anywhere from 100-300 miles per hour.
Pedragon explains that they are sitting in a machine that produced thousands of horse power in order to make those passes.
"It started out in the 60's at maybe around 2,000 horsepower," Predragon continued. "Then every decade or so it seems we gain a few thousand horsepower. Now we're producing around 10,000 horsepower."
With the US Nationals being at Lucas Oil Raceway in the small town of Clermont on Indianapolis' west-side, Pedragon says this event is not only the most prestigious on the NHRA schedule, but it is also the easiest to operate with most of the drag racing teams based close by in Brownsburg.
Pedragon, who grew up in California, says there are many reasons for his decision to not only base his team in Indiana, but also move his family into a house not far from "Nitro Alley" in Brownsburg.
"It was about the location. To the racing community its central. It's also affordable living with the cost of living in California being so out of control," Pedragon added. "Even though it gets cold three-months out of the year, in the warmer months it reminds me of the weather in California from when I was growing up."
Pedragon's team is not the only team based in Brownsburg. Multiple time series champ and US Nationals winner John Force, also from California, has his team set up on "Nitro Alley". Tony Schumacher and Kenny Bernstein also have drag racing operations based in Brownsburg.
The Chevrolet Performance US Nationals kickoff with prelims on Tuesday, August 29th, and will continue every day this week through Labor Day on Monday.
(PHOTO: Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)