· Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car driver Matt Hagan secured No.1 qualifier honors at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil at Bandimere Speedway near Denver
· Hagan earned the top spot on the Funny Car eliminations ladder by driving his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye to the top of the timing sheets in two of three qualifying sessions
· DSR Funny Car pilot Ron Capps qualified No. 4 aboard his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat on Thunder Mountain and will start from a top-five position on the eliminations ladder for the eighth consecutive national event this season
· Cruz Pedregon and his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat set the third quickest run of the final Funny Car qualifying session and will start from the No. 9 spot for Sunday’s contest
· Top Fuel DSR pilot Leah Pruett posted her best run of the weekend in the final qualifying session to put her Dodge//SRT Redeye dragster 11th of the eliminations ladder for Sunday’s contest at the Rocky Mountains venue
· In Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) action Pruett and teammate Mark Pawuk both qualified their Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak in the top half of the field for the eight-race series’ first eliminations at Bandimere Speedway
July 17, 2021, Morrison, Colorado – Matt Hagan powered his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye to the top of “thunder mountain” and the Funny Car timing sheets to earn the No. 1 qualifier position for Sunday’s Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series event held near Denver, Colorado, at the picturesque Bandimere Speedway. Sunday’s national event at the Rocky Mountains venue will be Dodge//SRT and Mopar brands 32nd as title sponsors, the longest consecutive and active sponsorship in all of motorsports.
Hagan secured his second top-qualifier honor of the 2021 NHRA season and the 42nd of his career with his 3.966-second pass at 319.22 mph on Friday under the lights. The three-time NHRA Funny Car world champion collected a total of six bonus points by posting the quickest pass in two of three qualifying sessions with his Mopar machine. He’ll begin pursuit of the coveted Wally trophy at his sponsor’s long-time headline national event with a first round match-up against No. 14 qualifier and rookie Chris King.
Running alongside Hagan in the adjacent lane for all three sessions was DSR teammate Ron Capps who qualified his HEMI®-powered Funny Car in the top-five for an eighth consecutive event this year. He drove his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the No. 4 spot on the eliminations ladder with his 3.986 second pass at 318.09 mph from Friday which earned him a bonus point for setting the third quickest run of Q1. Capps will have No. 11 seed Terry Haddock in the lane next to him for the opening round of eliminations.
Fresh off a win at the previous event, the Pedregon Racing team headed into the final qualifying session without a baseline run but gave their driver and team owner Cruz Pedregon exactly what he needed to post the third quickest run of the session and earn a bonus point. His Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat ran a solid 4.074 sec./313.29 mph to position him in ninth place overall and pair him up with No. 6 seed Paul Lee on Sunday morning.
In Top Fuel action, DSR Dodge//SRT Redeye dragster pilot Leah Pruett had her best run in Saturday night’s final qualifying session under the lights at the Rocky Mountain dragstrip with a 4.056-second elapsed time run at 249.49 mph to put her 11th on the eliminations ladder where she will start her race day battling No. 4 qualifier Doug Kalitta.
Pruett also pulled double duty for a fourth time this season by taking the wheel of her 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak for the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) series debut this weekend at Denver. Both Pruett and her teammate Mark Pawuk had four qualifying runs to get their race cars running to their liking and successfully qualified them in the top half of the field for Sunday’s contest.
With a solid final pass, Pruett drove her 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak to the fourth quickest pass in FSS qualifying with an 8.261-second elapsed time run at 167.24 mph to set up a meeting with No. 13 Waldemar Rodriguez in the opening round.
Pawuk and his Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger had their best run in Q2 with an 8.330-second pass at 164.73 mph. They ended up eighth on the ladder and will see No. 9 seed Joseph Welch in the first round of FSS competition.
The Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil will be live streamed via NHRA.TV with FS1 providing qualifying highlights on Sunday, July 18, from 3-4 p.m. Eastern, and coverage of Sunday’s elimination rounds from 4-7 p.m. Eastern.
ADDITIONAL NOTES and QUOTES
Matt Hagan, DSR Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.966 seconds at 319.22 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.966 sec./319.22 mph (3 bonus point for quickest of session)
Qualifying 2: 4.007 sec./315.64 mph (3 bonus point for quickest of session)
Qualifying 3: 7.563 sec./ 89.45 mph (7th)
“This Mopar Dodge SRT crew really put a great car underneath me during qualifying this weekend and we’re sitting No. 1 going into race day. Dickie (Venables) and Mike (Knudsen) and Alex (Conaway) are doing a great job and mesh so well together. It’s a great feeling to be No. 1 for your sponsor with Dodge and SRT and Mopar at their event driving the Dodge flagship car. I hope it puts a smile on their faces. We’re always pushing and learning and I’m excited about tomorrow. I’ve never won here on Thunder Mountain and we want to check this one off the box and keep moving forward and up in the points chase. I’m very confident in Dickie and this team on race day.”
“We’ve got to go rounds. There’s no doubt about it. We’ll take that No. 1 qualifier now and take that momentum into race day tomorrow. This Hellcat is running strong, man. It was running so strong that on that last run the rear was trying to pass the front end. We were just trying to go after it a little bit too hard but we didn’t have anything to lose. It was one of those things where (Crew Chief) Dickie Venables crawled into the box and does what he does. He tunes it up. I know he’s going to do that tomorrow and I cannot wait to put on a show here for all these fans here in Denver. It’s going to be awesome.”
Ron Capps, DSR NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.986 seconds at 318.09 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.986 sec./318.09 mph (1 bonus point for third quickest of session)
Qualifying 2: 4.050 sec./314.39 mph (5th)
Qualifying 3: 7.300 sec./92.53 (6th)
“This race is unique because of the two-night qualifying runs on Friday and Saturday night. It’s a whole new game on race day. It’s going to be different conditions, temperatures and this is when we rely on the NAPA Know How that I always talk about with our crew chiefs, Guido (Dean Antonelli) and John Medlen, for Pennzoil and NAPA. It’s going to be a lot of fun to wake up, come here in the sun and race in front of these great fans. The grandstands have been absolutely packed. These Dodge//SRT Mile-High fans are crazy and we love that and I’m aiming to get back in the winner’s circle here at Denver.”
Cruz Pedregon, Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 9 Qualifier – 4.074 seconds at 313.29 mph)
Qualifying 1: 7.657 sec./82.65 mph (10th)
Qualifying 2: 8.695 sec./81.36 mph (12th)
Qualifying 3: 4.074 sec./313.29 mph (1 bonus point for third quickest of session)
“I was third quickest in the last session and I was really looking for a three-second run this weekend but it seems like if you get behind here it’s really tricky up here on the mountain. If you miss (getting a good run in) early, it’s kind of tough to come back to that, but I’m sure (Crew Chief) John Collins and the guys will get it tuned. The thing you got to think about is we don’t race at night and we’ll come out here tomorrow at 11:30 am when it’ll be sunshine and bright, and completely different set-up. That was a good run to get us in the field solidly and the Snap-on Dodge will be ready for tomorrow.”
Leah Pruett, DSR Pennzoil Mopar Dodge//SRT Dragster
(No. 11 Qualifier – 4.056 seconds at 249.49 mph)
Qualifying 1: No Time
Qualifying 2: 4.150 sec./234.45 mph (7th)
Qualifying 3: 4.056 sec./249.49 mph (10th)
“We had mile-high expectations for this Dodge//SRT team this weekend coming into Denver. Friday was the time to lay it down and what’s been happening with our cars is a number of odd problems that we have been fixing along the way. We had a bolt breakage on Friday night so we did not get to have the one very important baseline run on the mountain. That put us behind and we put a couple of solid runs down today, but we’re a little behind with our fueling with dropped cylinders. We want to be on top of the mountain tomorrow. We’ve been there before here. We have tough competition in the first round with (Doug) Kalitta. For us, just going one round at a time is super important. I feel like the amazing fan energy and our Mopar muscle is going to take us to where we want to be tomorrow and that’s holding the bronze ‘Wally’ trophy.”
FACTORY STOCK SHOOTOUT:
Leah Pruett, 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak
(No. 4 Qualifier – 8.261 seconds at 167.24 mph)
Qualifying 1: 8.991 sec. / 154.21 mph
Qualifying 2: 11.831 sec./ 78.16 mph
Qualifying 3: 8.417 sec. /165.80 mph
Qualifying 4: 8.261 sec./167.24 (4th)
“We’ve really been working hard the past few weeks with setups and testing these two Drag Pak Challengers with setups and between Mark’s car and mine we’ve been working with some different parts and we’re still figuring out the configuration with this new 2021 Drag Pak with the shocks and suspension and transitions and transfer. So far, it seems like the tune-up is working and that’s kudos to the work the team did with testing. I’ve never been so happy with an 8.26 and that puts us fourth in the field against some stout heavy hitters. This is what we expect of this Mopar team, to dig deep and find some gold here on the mountain.”
Mark Pawuk, Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak
(No. 8 Qualifier – 8.330 seconds at 164.73 mph)
Qualifying 1: 8.381 sec. / 164.75 mph (3rd)
Qualifying 2: 8.330 sec. / 164.73 mph
Qualifying 3: 8.348 sec. / 164.77 mph
Qualifying 4: 11.398 sec./104.26 mph
“As tough as it is to race here because of the high altitude, the Bandimere family does a fabulous job with this facility. It reminds me a lot of Norwalk, Ohio, with a family-run operation. We saw a huge crowd last night and tonight, and I’m very happy and thankful for the fans. We tested here last week prior to this race and made three good runs in qualifying and really went for it tonight, but it overpowered the track and spun the tires and that knocked me down three spots. We’re still in the top half of the field and looking to have a good, long day on Sunday at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals.”
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