Rain-shortened Qualifying Adds Extra Challenge for HEMI®-powered Entries at 67th annual Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals

September 4, 2021

, Indianapolis, IN

Qualifying for the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) 67th annual Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals proved to be more of a challenge than usual as rain washed out both Saturday sessions for most categories competing at Lucas Oil Raceway, resulting in elimination fields being set based on a single Friday evening run.

Leah Pruett, last year’s Top Fuel runner-up finisher at Indianapolis, will start her drive for another shot at a final round appearance from the No. 5 position on the eliminations ladder after taking her Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge//SRT Redeye dragster for a solid qualifying pass under the lights. Her 3.755 second elapsed time (E.T.) run at 322.88 mph gives her lane choice over No. 12 seed, Joe Morrison. 

In Funny Car qualifying action, three-time U.S. Nationals Funny Car title winner Cruz Pedregon’s Snap-On Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was the top HEMI®-powered entry starting from the fourth spot earned with a 3.896-second drive at 323.66 mph. The Cruz Pedregon Racing team owner and driver will have No. 13 seed Terry Haddock as his first round opponent on Sunday.

DSR’s 27-year veteran driver Ron Capps also positioned his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in the top half of the field with a 3.907 second/326.08 mph effort to go into the final eliminations battle of the regular season as the No. 6 seed. Capps will have No. 11 Justin Schriefer in the next lane as he sets his sights on battling for the elusive Wally trophy from the only NHRA event he has never won.

As the DSR Funny Car team prepared to take to the staging lanes for Friday qualifying, the team announced that two-time U.S. Nationals winner and category points leader Matt Hagan had recently tested positive for COVID-19 and would not be competing in this year’s event. In his place, the team called upon Tommy Johnson Jr. to take on the driving responsibilities for Hagan’s Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Funny Car. Johnson was the easy choice after finishing second in the 2020 NHRA Funny Car World Championship with DSR with three wins and three No. 1 qualifier positions last season. 

Efforts to qualify the hard charging Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye for the prestigious Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals and add to Hagan’s point total were short-lived. Following a mechanical issue, found immediately after the burnout, that didn’t give Johnson the chance to take the tree, any opportunity to get in a run on Saturday was washed out by persistent rainfall. That left Johnson with no qualifying time and without a spot on the eliminations ladder, a situation that also unfortunately meant that no points would be awarded to Hagan. With the unique points-and-a-half format employed at this final regular season event, that drops the DSR driver several positions in the final battle for position in the Funny Car standings heading into the NHRA’s “Countdown to the Championship” which begins next weekend at the Mopar Express Lane Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS), Pruett took her 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak for a 7.969 second run at 176.79 mph to earn the No. 12 spot on the eliminations ladder comprised of a competitive 22-car field. Following two runner-up finishes this season in consecutive events at Denver and Topeka, Pruett is seeking another FSS win at the U.S. Nationals to add to her 2018 Indy victory. By juggling stints aboard both her Top Fuel dragster and drag pak on Sunday, Pruett has the unique possibility of taking home two Wally trophies for Dodge at the world-renowned event to which the performance brand has lent its name as title sponsor for the first-time. 

Pruett will begin her day against DSR teammate and No. 13 seed David Davies and his 2021 Mopar Drag Pak after his best qualifying effort to date. He was among only a handful of FSS competitors that got in a second run on Saturday morning before rain showers claimed the day. 
Fellow DSR FSS driver Mark Pawuk, who finished runner-up at the last year’s event, was unfortunately not among that group as he could have benefitted from the opportunity to get in a second qualifying pass after finding himself in the final spot on the ladder following his Q1 run. Nevertheless, he will work to battle his way through the field aboard his 2021 Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak as it makes its maiden drive in competition this weekend.

Television coverage of the 67th annual Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals will be broadcast on Sunday Sept. 5, on FS1 from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. and then on the FOX national broadcast network from 1 – 4 p.m. EDT.
DodgeGarage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans can follow all the NHRA action this season at DodgeGarage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag-racing news. The site includes daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. For more information, visit www.dodgegarage.com

@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers on the track. Fans can see action from the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers, competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.

Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) offers exceptional service, parts and customer care. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, the Mopar brand has evolved over more than 80 years to represent both complete vehicle care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.

Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era with performance parts to enhance speed and handling for both on-road and racing use. Later, the brand expanded to include technical service and customer support. Today, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.

Mopar is part of the portfolio of brands offered by leading global automaker and mobility provider Stellantis. For more information regarding Stellantis (NYSE: STLA), please visit www.stellantis.com

Follow Mopar and company news and video on:
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For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge. Their influence continues today as Dodge shifts into high gear with muscle cars and SUVs that deliver unrivaled performance in each of the segments where they compete.

2021 marks the year that Dodge is distilled into a pure performance brand, offering Hellcat-powered, 700-plus-horsepower SRT versions of every model across the lineup. For the 2021 model year, Dodge delivers the drag-strip dominating 807-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock, the new 797-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Redeye, the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world, and the new 710-horsepower Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, the most powerful SUV ever. Combined, these three muscle cars make Dodge the industry’s most powerful brand, offering more horsepower than any other American brand across its entire lineup.

In 2020, Dodge was named the “#1 Brand in Initial Quality,” making it the first domestic brand ever to rank No. 1 in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). The Dodge brand also ranked No. 1 in the J.D. Power APEAL Study (mass market). These results are historic because it marks the first time a domestic brand has earned top spots in both J.D. Power studies in the same year.

Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by leading global automaker and mobility provider Stellantis. For more information regarding Stellantis (NYSE: STLA), please visit www.stellantis.com.

Follow Dodge and company news and video on:
Company blog: blog.stellantisnorthamerica.com
Media website: media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
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