BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Since his family is drag racing royalty, why is 17-year-old Dezi Pedregon running the USSA Kenyon Midget Series this year?
“Actually, karts and then midgets are how they started, too,” explained Pedregon, the son of Tony Pedregon, a two-time NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion and FOX TV commentator; and nephew of Cruz Pedregon, who also has two Funny Car titles in the same series, and Frank Pedregon, Jr., who has won multiple NHRA national events.
The third-generation racer is the grandson of the late drag racing legend, Flamin’ Frank Pedregon Sr.
“My uncle Cruz brought my dad into their garage and lifted a tarp off of something to show a go-kart. They originally had hidden the fact that they bought one from my grandfather. And they went on from there,” the junior at Brownsburg (Ind.) High School explained. “I don’t know exactly how they got into drag racing, but that’s how they started in racing.”
Tony and Andrea Pedregon have two daughters and two sons. Dezi is a middle child and the oldest son. He is the only one of their four children to express an interest in racing.
He attended the Radford Racing School in Chandler, Ariz., in 2022 to get Formula 4 experience, and he’s been competing in karts since he was 14.
“Dezi showed an innate ability to grasp excellent control of the F4 car in a short time. His car control skills show huge promise and will surely slot him in as a formidable force in motorsport,” said Danny Bullock, his instructor at the Radford Racing School.
He’s accustom to finishing on the podium, as he has 15 podium finishes out of his 46 kart races, including eight victories. He finished second in the KA 100 Senior class at New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park in 2020.
Dezi Pedregon ran three Kenyon midget races in 2022 and plans to do the full 12-race season this year. Eight of the races are on paved tracks and four are on dirt tracks in the Midwest. Half of the shows will be run as support events for the 500 Sprint Car Tour.
Of the three Kenyon midget races he competed in last year, his best finish was a fourth at Mt. Lawn Speedway, a three-tenths-mile asphalt track in Greensboro, Ind. One of the races was on dirt (U.S. 24 Speedway), which he originally thought he wouldn’t like but after trying it, loved it.
“I’m super-excited to drive in Kenyon midgets this year,” he said. “With Kenyon midgets, it’s not too far of a step from a kart to a car.”
What does his dad think?
“He’s supportive,” he said. “His only objection is if I’m not trying 100 percent, in anything I take on. That’s the only time he has an issue.”
“She’s my mom, so sometimes she’s horrified, but she understands,” he said. “She knows you can’t replicate the feeling you get when you’re on the podium.”
In addition to driving, the youngest Pedregon racer enjoys the business aspects of motorsports.
“I’m always trying somehow to make it work,” he said. “Right now my main sponsors are Schakolad Chocolate Factory, Pools of Fun, Simpson and Stilo Helmets. Once I graduate from high school, I’m going to college for sports marketing and advertising. I’m already using racing as a sort of internship.”
If everything went perfectly, where would he end up?
“The goal has always been the highest level of racing, and in the United States that’s IndyCar or NHRA,” he said.
He’s off and running!