February 20, 2022,
Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Funny Car driver Matt Hagan hit the throttle on the 2022 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series season by driving his Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat from his No. 3 qualifying position to the semifinals at the 62nd annual Lucas Oil Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com. Also driving to a semifinal appearance at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California, was the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by Cruz Pedregon from a fourth place seeding.
Hagan launched his season with a strong qualifying performance to secure the No. 3 spot on the eliminations ladder. He earned the fledgling TSR team’s first Funny Car round win aboard the Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat with a 4.071 seconds pass at 260.31 mph that saw the three-time Winternationals winner have to peddle it at the 660-foot mark but still turn on the win light. The team regrouped quickly and came back strong in the second round against No. 6 seed Bob Tasca by posting their quickest run of the weekend with a 3.885-second elapsed time run at 328.94 mph to beat his opponent's 3.984 sec./325.77 mph effort.
The semifinal match pitted Hagan against the No. 2 qualifier Robert Hight and saw the TSR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat take the early lead with a 0.048-second reaction time to his opponent’s 0.059-second start. Unfortunately, a dropped cylinder hampered Hagan’s on track progress and brought the team’s first outing to a close.
Meanwhile, Pedregon powered his Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat from the No. 4 spot on the ladder through eliminations with a first round win over Terry Haddock and a solid second round victory after a side-by-side drag race with Alexis DeJoria to advance to the semifinals. Paired with No. 1 qualifier Ron Capps for the next elimination round, Pedregon put in a good lap with a 3.918 sec./309.77 mph pass but it wasn’t quite enough to challenge Capps’ 3.881 sec./331.28 mph run.
Tony Stewart Racing Top Fuel pilot Leah Pruett was pleased with the first official qualifying laps of the season for the new team aboard her Dodge Power Brokers dragster to put her in the top half of the eliminations ladder with a best run of 3.768 seconds at 326.63 mph. From the No. 7 position and with lane choice over No. 10 seed Antron Brown, Pruett wheeled her HEMI®-powered machine to a solid pass at 3.748 sec./328.86 mph with a 0.118-second reaction time. However, as their first elimination run wasn’t quite enough to overtake Brown’s quicker 0.057-second start and 3.724 sec./ 327.66 mph lap and turn on the win lights for the team’s first round, the TSR team will now put their focus on preparations for the next national event.
The Dodge//SRT Mopar contingent will now head to Phoenix, Arizona, for next weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on February 25-27.
ADDITIONAL NOTES and QUOTES:
Leah Pruett, Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.726 seconds at 328.54 mph)
Round 1: (0.118-second reaction time, 3.748 seconds at 328.86 mph) loss to No. 10 Antron Brown (0.057/3.724/327.66)
“If you would have told me three months ago that we would qualify the Dodge Power Brokers dragster No. 7 for the Winternationals, make it down the track nearly every time, have a healthy running engine combination with a reactive car, and a team that gels together very well, I would take that 10 out of 10 times. We are still sorting our power range and developing our baseline and I am learning to race under different circumstances. I had a less than impressive start, very atypical of the consistent quick times I had in qualifying. I will be working on managing my happy throttle foot while we fine tune our high HEMI horsepower performance.”
Matt Hagan, Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.886 seconds at 313.07 mph)
Round 1: (0.072-second reaction time, 4.071 seconds at 260.31 mph) defeats No. 14 Chad Green (0.072/4.124/282.13)
Round 2: (0.057/3.885/328.94) defeats No. 6 Bob Tasca (0.052/3.984/325.77)
Round 3: (0.048/4.026/317.64) loss to No. 2 Robert Hight (0.059/3.861/332.10), cylinder out
“I am really proud of Tony (Stewart) and Leah (Pruett) for putting this all together in such a quick fashion. I’m also super proud of my guys to be able to get a rhythm going today, since we’re all in a new position. We only had an hour to turn the car around, so we still had to check headers, weigh and scale in that time. Today is obviously not the result we wanted, getting eliminated in the semifinals. I know what we are capable of and I know what we can do to get that fixed. We’ll go onto Phoenix and be just as strong there. I’m really proud of my lights, I was murdering the tree all weekend. That gives me confidence as a driver but it also gets in other drivers’ heads. We want to win every race we can but I was pretty happy with this Dodge Power Brokers car for the first outing. You learn from your mistakes and move forward. Drag racing has the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. You lose more than you win but when you win it’s great. I’m looking forward to that first win with this team.
“Putting Pomona behind us and rolling into Phoenix right away helps the team get back into the groove of things; making a run, taking it apart, putting it back together and dragging it back up to the starting line and just getting back into the rhythm. That rhythm helps builds confidence in my team and lets me just focus on what I have to do on the starting line with the Dodge Power Brokers Hellcat so we can turn on more win lights.”
Cruz Pedregon, Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.906 seconds at 325.22 mph)
Round 1: (0.128-second reaction time, 3.954 seconds at 323.43 mph) defeats No. 13 Terry Haddock (0.118/6.011/120.36)
Round 2: (0.041/3.962/323.66) defeats No. 5 Alexis DeJoria (0.062/3.981/323.50)
Round 3: (0.082/3.918/309.77) loss to No. 1 Ron Capps (0.067/3.881/331.28)
“I’m happy with today’s semifinal performance. Semifinal finishes and runner-ups, we're going to have a few of those [this year]. It was some good competition and (Ron) Capps had a really good car. (My crew chief) JC (John Collins), I could tell by the look on his face he was about to put it through there. What a great job these guys have done. We didn't quite have the performance these other guys did but when it counted, we started to creep up on it. A little bit of glare out there. I missed the tree a little tiny bit and against guys like Capps, you can't miss the tree at all. He was right there. For the Snap-on Tools Dodge team, Russells Petroff and everybody that helps us, the semifinals is a great start.”
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
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.
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.
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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)
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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
This year marks the 85th anniversary of Mopar.
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Follow Dodge, Mopar and Stellantis news and video on:
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