November 7, 2023,
Auburn Hills, Mich.
Every NHRA professional driver seeks one goal when the season opens in March at the NHRA Gatornationals, and that is to be in contention for a coveted NHRA Camping World Series Championship at season’s end.
After 20 events in the 2023 campaign, Dodge//SRT racers Matt Hagan and Leah Pruett are in those vaunted positions as the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) pair come to the NHRA finale this weekend (Nov. 10-12) in the NHRA In-N-Out Burger Finals.
For Hagan, racing for a World Championship is nothing new, having captured three NHRA Funny Car titles in 2011, 2014 and 2020. The driver of the TSR Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Car is right where he wants to be entering this weekend’s event, leading the class by 15 points.
Hagan has had plenty of success at the famed Pomona, California, dragstrip throughout his career, with eight NHRA Funny Car victories, including last April in the NHRA Winternationals.
“We have led the Funny Car points for most of the season and have scored the most wins,” said Hagan. “Dickie (Venables, crew chief) and our crew has given me a strong car all season long with this TSR Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat, and our plan at Pomona is to keep those performances going for another championship. We won at Pomona in April, so we know we have the setups for another win. I think we’ll have to advance to the final for a chance for the title.
“We have lost three races in the ‘Countdown’ by inches, which has taken some points away, but we also have won two races (St. Louis and Dallas) in the ‘Countdown’ and those were big for us. I've won eight Pomona races in my career, so I feel confident coming to the final race of the year. We're ready with our Dodge//SRT Hellcat.”
For Pruett, chasing a Top Fuel World Championship into the final race is a new experience, but she has the knowledge of her teammate Hagan and team owner Stewart, both multi-time motorsports champions, to help her quest for an initial pro title. She ranks third in NHRA Top Fuel points, 34 from the lead.
The Redlands, California, native has captured past drag racing titles including in Junior Dragster as a teenager, Nostalgia Funny Car and Factory Stock Showdown, so Pruett has experience entering final races with a championship on the line. Pruett is also no stranger to her hometown track’s winner’s circle, taking the Top Fuel honors in the 2021 Winternationals. She has two 2023 NHRA Top Fuel wins, at Norwalk and Dallas.
“Communication has been the key to our TSR Direct Connection Dodge//SRT crew this year,” said Pruett. “Last year (2022) was our foundation season for TSR and we built on that in 2023. We have crew members who have won championships with other teams and that helps us heading to Pomona now. Neil Strausbaugh (Pruett’s crew chief) is in his second season as crew chief and he has worked with a new chassis, blower combination and fuel system this year. So, it takes awhile to get all of the elements together, but we feel we are at our peak performance now.
“Going to Pomona, our team will look over all of the combinations we have had throughout the year. In the ‘Countdown,’ our car has been very consistent and at top performance. We have been filling in our ‘playbook’ so we can be our best at Pomona. We started early this year, as our Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Top Fuel team made more runs than anyone in testing. We made 27 ‘hits’ before the season-opening Gatornationals and we established a good program this year to compete for a championship in the final race.”
The NHRA In-N-Out Burger Finals event schedule will have two nitro qualifying sessions on Friday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. PST and two nitro qualifying rounds on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. PST. The final eliminations will begin on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 11 a.m. PST.
The Fox Sports 1 telecasts for the NHRA In-N-Out Burger Finals will air qualifying rounds on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m. EST. The final eliminations will be televised on Fox Sports 1 on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 5 p.m. EST.
TSR Crew Members to be Celebrated on Veterans Day
Four of TSR’s crew members will be celebrated on Saturday, Nov. 11, in honor of Veterans Day at the NHRA In-N-Out Burger Finals in Pomona. Those veterans – Thomas Brown, Kurt Johnson, Allen Oberbroeckling and Chris Shuron – perform unique positions within the Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Top Fuel and Funny Car teams.
Brown, who oversees body and tire preparation on Hagan’s Funny Car, was a sergeant and squad leader in the Army. Johnson, TSR’s track specialist, spent six years as a United States Marine Aircraft Fire Fighter during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Oberbroeckling, a member of TSR’s hospitality team, was an 88M Motor Transport Operator in the Army. Shuron, a clutch assistant who handles tire preparation on Pruett’s Top Fuel dragster, served in the Marines as a lance corporal.
Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) Hosts College Students at Pomona to Network with Local Dealerships
Students from three local schools – College of the Desert/Riverside Community College, Santa Ana College and L.A. Pierce Community College – will participate in a special Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) career networking event this Friday, Nov. 10, at the NHRA In-N-Out Burger Finals.
Mopar CAP partners with 100 colleges and technical schools throughout the nation in a curriculum to guide students into the automotive industry in a variety of applications. By incorporating the Mopar CAP curriculum, schools give students the ability to turn their passion for automotive activities into a career and assist them in gaining training and fundamental knowledge needed to work with some of the hottest vehicles in the industry from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®
, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo brands. Giving students a competitive edge, Mopar CAP combines hands-on experience and classroom instruction from certified educators. Given the current shortage in the industry of skilled techs, Mopar CAP offers a great solution for training tomorrow’s technicians.
At the In-N-Out Burger Pomona dragstrip, attendees will hear from the Mopar CAP leadership team, network with local Stellantis dealers looking to hire qualified candidates to work in their store and enjoy lunch and a meet-and-greet with Hagan and Pruett in the Tony Stewart Racing hospitality area. For more information, visit Mopar CAP.
@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 a lineup that delivers unrivaled performance in each of the segments where they compete.
Dodge drives forward as a pure performance brand, offering SRT Hellcat versions of the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Dodge Durango, as well as an R/T plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version of the all-new 2023 Dodge Hornet, representing the brand’s first-ever electrified performance vehicle. Dodge delivers the drag-strip dominating 807-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock; the 797-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Redeye, the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world; and the 710-horsepower Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, the most powerful SUV ever; and best-in-class standard performance in the compact utility vehicle segment with the Dodge Hornet. Combined, these four muscle vehicles make Dodge the industry’s most powerful brand, offering more horsepower than any other American brand across its entire lineup.
In 2022, the Dodge brand ranked No. 1 in the J.D. Power APEAL Study
(mass market), making it the only domestic brand ever to do so three years in a row. 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).
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
Mopar is the global name for Stellantis genuine parts and authentic accessories.
A simple combination of the words MOtor and PARts, Mopar offers exceptional service, parts and customer-care. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, Mopar has evolved over more than 85 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, Mopar expanded to include technical service and customer support, and today integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.
Complete information on Mopar is available at www.mopar.com
and the newly redesigned Mopar blog at www.blog.mopar.com
Follow Dodge, Mopar and Stellantis news and video on:
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