Quarterfinal Performances for Dodge//SRT at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

  • Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan qualified his TruHarvest Farms Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat No. 4 on the eliminations ladder for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Thunder Valley Nationals and came away with his second quarterfinal appearance of the year
  • Hagan’s second round exit came on the heels of his win at the New England Nationals, his third victory of the season, and six final elimination appearances keeping the Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car atop the category’s world championship points standings after nine events
  • Cruz Pedregon qualified his Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the No. 6 spot for eliminations at Bristol Dragway and advanced to his team’s sixth quarterfinal appearance of the season
  • For her 180th career Top Fuel start, TSR driver Leah Pruett qualified her Mobile 1 Dodge//SRT dragster tenth and advanced to the quarterfinals 
June 19, 2022 , Bristol, Tennessee -  The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing series made its ninth stop of the 22-event season at the Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway where all three Dodge//SRT supported entries recorded quarterfinal performances.

Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) driver Matt Hagan qualified his TruHarvest Farms Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat No. 4 on the eliminations ladder with a best lap of 4.014 seconds at 318.09 mph and also earned two bonus points for setting the third quickest time in both the first and third session. 

The three-time world champion staged his 11,000 horsepower Dodge//SRT Funny car next to No. 13 seed Phil Burkhart for the opening round, launched first, and began to pull away while his opponent lost traction early in his run. As the TSR machine approached the finish, it too began to lose traction forcing Hagan to ease off the throttle before earning his category-leading 24th round-win of the season.

In his quarterfinal matchup against No. 12 qualifier Alexis DeJoria, Hagan was once again quicker on the draw and in the lead when he lost traction and tried to pedal it a few times to try to stay in front. However, DeJoria was able to take advantage of Hagan’s issues to make the pass and turn on the win lights to end his day earlier than usual.

Hagan’s quarterfinal exit came on the heels of his win at the New England Nationals, the team’s third victory of the season, and six final elimination appearances. The result was enough to keep the Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car atop the category’s standings and ahead of his closest challenger, Robert Hight, by 42 points after nine national events.

Sitting fifth in the category standings, Cruz Pedregon qualified his Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the sixth place position on the eliminations ladder at Bristol Dragway with a 4.068 seconds at 312.71 mph run and earned a bonus point for running third quickest in the second session. 

In the opening round of eliminations, Pedregon had a quicker start and won a good side-by-side battle with No. 11 seed J.R. Todd to advance to the quarterfinals where he would face No. 3 qualifier John Force. Pedregon saw Force get off the line first but was gaining ground on his opponent when he lost a cylinder and fell back, marking the team’s sixth quarterfinal result this year.

TSR driver Leah Pruett put her Mobile 1 Dodge//SRT dragster in the tenth spot on the eliminations ladder for her 180th career Top Fuel start with a best lap of 3.867 seconds at 318.32 mph in the third qualifying session. 

The nine-time event winner faced off against No. 7 seed Austin Prock in the first round and took her HEMI®-powered machine straight down the lane with her quickest run of the weekend at 3.835 seconds at 324.36 mph to advance to the quarterfinals where she would be paired with No. 2 qualifier Steve Torrence.

Pruett beat Torrence on the tree but soon saw him make the pass as her ride began to lose cylinders and end her day 

The NHRA is back in action next weekend at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals, June 23-26, at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park near Norwalk, Ohio.

Leah Pruett, Mobil 1 Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel Dragster 
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.867 seconds at 318.32 mph)

Round 1: (0.070-second reaction time, 3.835 seconds at 324.36 mph) defeats No. 7 Austin Prock (0.063/4.107/298.27)
Round 2: (0.069/3.960/306.74) loss to No. 2 Steve Torrence (0.072/3.891/315.86)

“Some weekends we have a very consistent race car and we get to progress with our ETs (elapsed times) and then sometimes we have a weekend like this where we were on both sides of the spectrum. I think we learned the most about our race car than we have all year. When we smoked the tires in the first round of qualifying on Friday, from an engine standpoint, we were less than powered, which is what we wanted and it shows that our clutch program is too aggressive. We have spent our entire weekend dialing in our clutch program. That’s something that’s been running very well all year and has not been problematic. Our car has been very cooperative when making all of our tuning adjustments. Winning the first round was big and we were able to pick up from our qualifying efforts of an 0.86, but going into the second round, we dropped a cylinder at the step and that is the first time we’ve done that all year, including testing. Between now and Norwalk, we are going to do a deep dive into the fuel-system to see where that is coming from. There are a lot of ways to lose and a lot of ways to win. We’re going to continue to work on our ways to win. There are cars that can drop a whole cylinder and their engines can’t hang on. We dropped a cylinder at the hit and I was still able to hold on to give Steve Torrence a run for his money. We even left the line first and that is a testament to our Mobil 1 motor oil that it gave us every fighting chance we had. Other motors can’t be put to that test. We have a lot of confidence in our Mobil 1 product and Dodge HEMI engine. We’re onto some good momentum and look forward to Norwalk.”

Matt Hagan, TruHarvest Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car  
(No. 4 Qualifier – 4.014 seconds at 318.09 mph) 

Round 1: (0.074-second reaction time, 4.169 seconds at 279.79 mph) defeats No. 13 Phil Burkhart (0.145/7.915/76.96)
Round 2: (0.085/4.914/201.70) loss to No. 12 Alexis DeJoria (0.098/4.068/317.12)

“What an awesome weekend at Bristol as far as fans, friends and family members at the track that’s two hours from my home. There were a lot of Matt Hagan shirts everywhere. It was a really neat experience being able to run the TruHarvest Farms car for the first time in the NHRA and debut it here at Bristol. 

“It was a super tricky race track out there today and these cars are just as hard to pull back as they are forward, and we just had a really fast race car. You have some give and take in life. It’s just one of those things where having a fast race car like that is tough and tricky. I have all the confidence in my guys to roll into Norwalk (Ohio) with our Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and keep doing what we’re doing. This was a challenging track, but the NHRA did a good job trying to prep it. It’s tough for all teams, so it comes down to which tuner, team and driver can find the right combination to get down the track.”
Cruz Pedregon, Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 6 Qualifier – 4.068 seconds at 312.71 mph)

Round 1: (0.049-second reaction time, 4.148 seconds at 302.89 mph) defeats No. 11 J.R. Todd (0.062/4.168/283.25)
Round 2: (0.101/4.177/289.88) loss to No. 3 John Force (0.078/4.096/300.60)

“I enjoy these racetracks that have what I call personality. They have some imperfections, bumps and what have you, but I kinda liken it to NASCAR where you have your road courses and your short track events. It gives a crew chiefs and the drivers an opportunity to kind of show a different skill set. Crew chiefs have to kind of slow things down and figure out where the bumps are, and while the bumps are not bad, they're enough to upset the car. As a driver you need to be on your game. You need to be on your toes, keep the car in the groove, which is within a few feet left or right and also be ready to pedal the car by getting in and out of the throttle. It's a challenge and whoever wins this race comes out really earning their keep from a team perspective. 

“We went to the second round quarterfinals after we had a great match up. Seems like we've been racing J.R. Todd, a lot. We raced him some twice in qualifying and it's a championship caliber car and we had to go up against them in the first round. We ran a great 4.14 with a cylinder out at half track and it was a close race. Second round we went against John Force, a long-time nemesis of mine, and he got the better of us there. We actually dropped a cylinder about 400 feet out and that was our weekend. We’re outlasting the competition that is behind us in points and we’re just kind of holding our own there.”
Following the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway
FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1.  Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat): 854 (3)
2.  Robert Hight: 812 (3)
3.  Ron Capps: 748 (2)
4.  John Force: 588
5.  Cruz Pedregon (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat): 507
6.  J.R. Todd: 435
7.  Alexis DeJoria: 434
8.  Bob Tasca III: 420
9.  Tim Wilkerson: 411
10. Chad Green: 373
TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses)
1.  Brittany Force: 724 (3)
2.  Mike Salinas: 699 (2) 
3.  Justin Ashley: 672 (2) 
4.  Steve Torrence: 653
5.  Austin Prock: 459
6.  Shawn Langdon: 435 
7.  Clay Millican: 430
8.  Josh Hart: 414 
9.  Doug Kalitta: 405
10. Antron Brown: 370
12. Leah Pruett (Dodge Power Brokers): 346
@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.

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Fans can follow all the NHRA action this season at DodgeGarage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag-racing news, including daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by leading global automaker and mobility provider Stellantis (NYSE: STLA).
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