Top-Five Qualifying Performances for Two Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars and Record Setting Runs for Mopar Drag Pak at NHRA Gatornationals

  • Wet and cold weather canceled Friday qualifying and delayed Saturday’s sessions at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series’ Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals resulting in just one run to make the show
  • Cruz Pedregon powered his Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the No. 3 qualifier position for Sunday’s Funny Car elimination rounds at Gainesville Raceway 
  • Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) driver Matt Hagan put his Dodge Power Brokers Funny Car No. 4 on the eliminations ladder in quest for the team’s first win and his first Gatornationals Wally trophy
  • TSR pilot Leah Pruett and the Dodge Power Brokers dragster took part in the NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout but a loss of traction ruined chance to advance in the specialty race and ability to participate in Sunday’s eliminations 
  • Two 2021 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Paks qualify atop the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown eliminations ladder with historic runs to vie for a Gatornationals win and the new $10,000-to-win Direct Connection Contingency purse
March 12, 2022 , Gainesville, Florida -  Wet weather canceled Friday qualifying and delayed Saturday’s sessions at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series’ 53rd edition of the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals and then unseasonably cool conditions at Gainesville Raceway further hampered qualifying, resulting in just one run to make the famed race event.

In Funny Car action, Cruz Pedregon powered his Snap-On Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat down the track with a 3.891-second run at 327.35 mph in the sole qualifying session of the weekend to put himself No. 3 on the eliminations ladder and qualifying in the top-five for a third consecutive event. The Cruz Pedregon Racing owner and driver will have No. 14 seed JIm Campbell in the lane next to him for the opening round of eliminations.

Tony Stewart Racing’s Matt Hagan followed up his No. 1 qualifier position and runner-up finish at the Arizona Nationals two weekends ago by taking his Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat for a solid 3.898-second elapsed timed pass at 320.13 mph in the late afternoon session to secure the No. 4 position on the eliminations ladder. He’ll have lane choice over No. 13 seed Dave Richards to begin his quest for the TSR team’s first win and his first Gatornationals Wally trophy.

Top Fuel qualifying featured the opening round of the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout in which TSR pilot Leah Pruett and the Dodge Power Brokers dragster were competing. Pruett, who had been “called out” by defending NHRA world champion Steve Torrence, staged her 11,000-horsepower machine for the specialty race ready to battle for the prize money and also set her place on the eliminations ladder.

Pruett and her Dodge Power Brokers dragster had the slight advance at the hit of the throttle, but she soon found herself peddling it after losing traction. She skillfully regained control and continued down the track to record a lap time, not knowing if she would have another session to qualify for Sunday’s main event. Unfortunately, the unseasonably cold weather shortened the day’s activities and another qualifying run was no longer possible, which meant that the 5.125 sec./ 227.34 mph recorded pass wasn’t going to be enough to give her a chance to race on Sunday. This will be the first time since 2013 (Indianapolis) that Pruett won’t get to stage her race car for eliminations.

While the Gatornationals have had a history of record-breaking performances with one of the fastest tracks on the NHRA circuit, Saturday’s cooler weather provided some extra excitement  for the 22 Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) entries vying for the 16 spots on the eliminations ladder as the top half of the ladder posted runs that were quicker and faster than the previous national records of 7.718 seconds and 183.10 mph. 

Among the seven Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Paks making their first qualifying runs of the season was Mark Pawuk who powered his 2021 Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak to an impressive and record-setting 7.608-second elapsed time run at 183.15 mph to earn his third career No. 1 qualifier position and reset both ends of the nationals record.

To further solidify the 2021 Mopar Drag Pak’s reputation as the quickest, fastest, and most powerful Dodge Challenger Drag Pak ever offered by Stellantis, Pawuk’s Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Warren Walcher, recorded his own impressive 7.669-second pass at 180.79 mph to earn the No. 3 position in just his second FSS competition. The two will not only vie for a Gatornationals win but also for the new $10,000-to-win Direct Connection Contingency purse on Sunday.

The Gatornationals eliminations are set to air on FS1 on Sunday, March 13, beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern.


Leah Pruett, Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel Dragster  
(Did Not Qualify – 5.125 seconds at 227.34 mph)
Qualifying 1: 5.125 sec./ 227.34 mph

Matt Hagan, Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car  
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.898 seconds at 320.13 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.898 sec./ 320.13 mph

“We’re on the good side of the ladder and I'm really happy with how it turned out. We're going to work real hard on keeping lane choice all day tomorrow and running really hard. The weather's going to be phenomenal with cool conditions, so we're going to make a lot of power and hopefully run really fast. We just keep building on this new team and this Dodge Power Brokers Hellcat keeps going down the racetrack. I'm excited to see the guys gelling in the pit and making quick turnovers. Some of those little wins and little goals that we're achieving along the way, it turns into big things over the course of time. 

“The drivability of my race car is great. My lights are great. I have nothing but confidence in Dicky Venables, so I feel like we have a real good shot at pulling down the first win for TSR with this Dodge Power Brokers Direct Connection car and I hope I get to say that a whole lot tomorrow.”

Cruz Pedregon, Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 3  Qualifier – 3.891 seconds at  327.35 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.891 sec./ 327.35 mph (1 bonus point for third quickest of session)

“Qualifying in the top five is our goal. It's a nice benchmark to shoot for each week. There are some really good cars here, but top-five is what we always shoot for so we are happy with qualifying No. 3. Conditions were tough for everybody but (Crew Chiefs) John Collins and Rip Reynolds have notes and have run in cooler conditions before. The Safety Safari guys made sure the track was good and I think it was really a credit to them for prepping the track.

“The Snap-on Dodge CHarger SRT Hellcat made a good run. It was business as usual for us. It was a nice, smooth run. We're creeping the speed up a little bit, but it was still a run that we really had to go down the track. We weren't trying to be cute and go for the top spot. We’ll get out there tomorrow and see what we can do.”
@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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