June 27, 2021 , Norwalk, Ohio -
The first victory of the 2021 NHRA season for a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was earned from the No.10 spot on the eliminations ladder by two-time National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Funny Car World Champion Cruz Pedregon who powered his Pedregon Racing Snap-On Tools machine to the national event win at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals near Norwalk, Ohio. It was a 37th career Funny Car win for Cruz Pedregon who’s last victory came in 2018 at Charlotte Four-wide Nationals.
Pedregon’s performance aboard his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat consistently improved with every run throughout the weekend at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. After earning a tenth place seeding for eliminations with a 3.996 second/320.36 mph qualifying effort, he went on to collect round wins over Tim Wilkerson, Robert Hight and Alexis DeJoria with elapsed time runs of 3.973 sec., 3.959 sec., and 3.947 sec., respectively, to advance to his first final round appearance of the year to face category points leader, Bob Tasca III.
Following a holeshot semifinal win over DeJoria and the second rain delay of the day, Pedregon came ready for his final faceoff and used a 0.053-second reaction time to give his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat another holeshot advantage off the start and power to a 3.958 sec/324.75 mph pass over Tasca’s (0.100 sec.) 3.913/332.02 effort to earn the coveted Wally trophy and the treasured ice cream scoop trophy that the Bader family offers the winners at their dragstrip.
Don Schumacher Racing’s Ron Capps came into eliminations as the No. 1 qualifier once again after doing the same at the previous 2019 edition of the Norwalk event. It was also Capps’ second pole position of the 2021 season, pitting him against No. 16 seed Terry Haddock in the opening round. The NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat posted a winning run of 3.949 sec./324.05 mph, then used a holeshot to send J.R. Todd home early with a 4.015/322.04 pass. After a lengthy rain delay, Capps semifinal match up with Tasca had a promising start with the Hellcat taking a quick lead and making a clean pass, but wasn’t quite enough to turn on the winlight against his opponent.
From his No. 3 Funny Car qualifier position, the 2018 Norwalk event winner Matt Hagan was looking to keep posting strong consistent passes aboard his DSR Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye like the ones that earned him bonus points for running third and second in the Q1 and Q3 respectively. Hagan took the reins early with a 3.948 sec/324.83 mph run and win over Bobby Bode in the opening round. In the quarterfinals, Hagan had another good start taking the early lead on No. 6 qualifier Alexis DeJoria when his ride lost power mid-track and his opponent moved past to take the win.
In Top Fuel competition, DSR’s Leah Pruett qualified her Mopar Dodge//SRT Redeye dragster in the No. 8 seeded position to put herself in the top half of the eliminations ladder for a sixth time this season. She began her day against Doug Foley and wasted no time launching off the starting line to post her best run of the weekend with a 3.800-second elapsed time pass at 321.58 mph to move on to the quarterfinals. 
With lane choice over her next opponent, Pruett lined up her HEMI-powered machine next to No. 1 qualifier Steve Torrance, but just after both had completed burnouts, a very brief rain burst spoiled their preparations. The teams were permitted to go back to the pit area to change their clutch packs, then quickly returned to the lanes in time to make their run at the back of the Top Fuel line once racing resumed. 
Once again, Pruett had a good start off the line with a 0.085-second reaction time, and laid down a stout 3.772-second run at 326.95 mph, but saw the points leader turn on the win lights with a holeshot victory by posting a 0.058-second reaction time and slower 3.781 sec./325.45 mph run.
The Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) was also on the docket at the Norwalk dragstrip this weekend for the third race of the eight-race specialty series with a competitive field of 27 entries vying for one of the 16 spots on the eliminations ladder. Pruett was again ready to pull double-duty by taking the wheel of her new 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak along with her teammate Mark Pawuk and his 2015 Mopar Drag Pak. However, despite their best efforts in qualifying, neither Pruett nor Pawuk were able to make the show with run-times that put them 18th and 23rd respectively. The team will regroup and look to come back stronger at the next event in Denver.
The Mopar Dodge//SRT contingent now begins preparations for the traditional NHRA western swing that begins with the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, Colorado, set for July 16-18.


Matt Hagan, DSR Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.899 seconds at 327.82 mph)

Round 1: (0.076-second reaction time, 3.948 seconds at 324.83 mph) defeats No. 14 Bobby Bode (0.083/4.021/308.50)
Round 2: (0.057/4.086/260.16) loss to No. 6 Alexis DeJoria (0.086/3.952/317.27)

“We still have a great race car here for Dodge and Mopar, and we were running a really tough opponent that round in Alexis (DeJoria). That team has been running well most of the year, and we have to push. In this class, in 2021, there isn’t a car that you don’t have to press hard against. Overall, I feel really great about our team and the direction we’re moving. Obviously, we want to go more rounds, but we’re gathering the data we need to keep moving forward and put this Hellcat in the winner’s circle, and that’s coming real soon. It’s not too far off. I’m excited about the future. We have a few weeks off and that’s nice cause I have a lot of farming to do back home in Virginia. That gives me the time to get focused for the Western Swing and this summer because we have a lot of races coming fast in a row. We’ll have a great chance to see what these guys do against adversity, and I’m excited for that. I hate that we went out second round, but we continue to learn and there’s a lot of racing left.”

Ron Capps, DSR NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 1 Qualifier –  3.888 seconds at 329.34 mph)

Round 1: (0.074-second reaction time, 3.949 seconds at 324.05 mph) defeats No. 16 Terry Haddock (0.101/5.024/159.38)
Round 2: (0.031/4.015/322.04) defeats No. 9 J.R. Todd (0.062/9.087/86.65)
Round 3: (0.043/4.013/324.98) loss to No. 5 Bob Tasca (0.072/3.924/330.39)

“Another solid weekend by this NAPA AutoCare team. When you get one of these yellow Camping World No. 1 qualifier hats, you’re doing something right. We’ve qualified well at every race. That shows we’re making horsepower. Everybody at the DSR shop, great job. This new chassis is unbelievable. Like I’ve said before, we’re a win waiting to happen. We just got outran today in the semis. We had some close races with a lot of changing weather conditions. The big monsoon came after round two, and those NAPA Know How moments that I like to brag about with ‘Guido’ (Dean Antonelli) making the right calls was on full display this weekend. We went down the track every run. We didn’t smoke the tires and beat ourselves. I’m excited about this Western Swing coming up with the added bonus of ending at Pomona this year. Denver is always a big race for Dodge and Mopar. We have a good-running hot rod. We have a great opportunity to ‘sweep the Swing,’ and you can’t do that if you don’t start at Denver.”

Cruz Pedregon, Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.996 seconds at 320.36 mph) 

Round 1: (0.067-second reaction time, 3.973 seconds at 326.48 mph) defeats No. 7 Tim Wilkerson (0.050/4.783/167.78)
Round 2: (0.072/3.959/326.24) defeats No. 2 Robert Hight (0.057/3.986/321.50)
Round 3: (0.091/3.947/324.44) defeats No. 6 Alexis DeJoria (0.115/3.941/320.89)
Round 4: (0.053/3.958/324.75) defeats No. 5 Bob Tasca (0.100/3.913/332.02)

"We have been prepping for a winning season, putting in so many hours and there's nothing quite as rewarding as coming out on top and holding up that trophy at the end of a race weekend. What a great job John (Collins), Rip (Reynolds), and the team did to get us ready for this race. What a real triumph for us all, especially after the 2020 season. We really appreciate our sponsors and great fans for sticking with us and giving us the additional boost of confidence we needed. That support is what makes it all possible."

“(Winning) is not why I drag race, but this’ll keep me drag racing. It's a good team and I felt like I was kind of holding my team back a little, but I dug deep. You work your way into winning again and these guys taught me to get back into that winning. It feels good to be back at it. This win means that I'm as good as the car, and I know I have a good car, so I think I can be there for the car as well and win more races.”

Leah Pruett, DSR Precision Manufacturing Dragster  
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.817 seconds at 314.90 mph)

Round 1: (0.088-second reaction time, 3.800 seconds at 321.58 mph) defeats No. 9 Doug Foley (0.130/4.642/162.76)
Round 2: (0.085/3.772/326.95) loss to No. 1 Steve Torrence (0.058/3.781/325.45)

“I’d like to dedicate this Sunday at the NHRA Norwalk Nationals to my Dodge team. They did a phenomenal job of recouping after not having data from our Q3 run. We went out E1 and were solid, running a .80 flat. And then, sometimes the drag racing Gods give you that extra shot in the arm of adrenaline, and that’s from lining up against point leader Steve Torrence, doing a burnout, backing up, and then being told to shut down. The crew chiefs were faced with an array of different scenarios as to how to proceed from there. Our team did an excellent job of servicing the car as much as we could. We went back up there and laid down a 3.77. For us, attitude is optimally maintained. We had a high attitude given our series of bad events, and because of that, we were able to come out of it. Now, did we come out of it on the good side of a good drag race? No, we didn’t, but we’re making ground, and we’re progressing, and as we continue to climb this mountain, and as we head to the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals in Denver, we will continue on this upward rise. Heads are not low, they’re high, and I’m just very proud of my team.”

Leah Pruett, Mopar Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak
(Did Not Qualify: No. 18– 8.011 seconds at 172.87 mph)

Mark Pawuk, Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak 
(Did Not Qualify: No. 23– 8.124 seconds at 170.41 mph)

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:
Company blog: blog.stellantisnorthamerica.com
Media website: media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
Mopar brand: www.mopar.com
Mopar blog: blog.mopar.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mopar
Instagram: www.instagram.com/officialmopar
Twitter: @OfficialMOPAR
YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/mopar and www.youtube.com/StellantisNA

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
Dodge brand: www.dodge.com
DodgeGarage: www.dodgegarage.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dodge
Instagram: www.instagram.com/dodgeofficial
Twitter: @Dodge and @StellantisNA
YouTube: www.youtube.com/dodge and www.youtube.com/StellantisNA