Contact: Pat  Caporali

Dan  Reid

Rain Disrupts Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil; Elimination Rounds Rescheduled for Monday

May 23, 2021,  Baytown, Texas - Rain disrupted National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series activities for a second day at the Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park and forced the postponement of competition. After Saturday qualifying was shortened due to weather, a persistent drizzle began at the tail end of Sunday’s opening round of Top Fuel eliminations, resulting in a lengthy delay through the late afternoon until officials made the decision to move the balance of the eliminations contest to 10 a.m. Central Time on Monday morning.

Prior to the rain delay, six Top Fuel pairs were able to get in elimination runs including No. 2 qualifier Leah Pruett and her Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Pennzoil dragster after extending her streak of qualifying among the quick half of the field to all five national events so far this season. 

After 19 consecutive races in which the HEMI®-powered racer advanced to the quarterfinals or better, Pruett was looking to shake off some of the bad luck that had vexed the team in the opening round of two previous events. Her Mopar rocketed off the start with an impressive 0.020-second reaction time, but a mechanical glitch early in the run hampered her forward motion and despite efforts to peddle her way down the track, Pruett was unable to advance.

However, Pruett will have another chance on Monday to vie for a Wally trophy at the Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil aboard her 2021 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) from the No. 10 position on the eliminations ladder. She’ll face No.7 Arthur Kohn in the opening round while her teammate, No. 13 seed Mark Pawuk will line up his Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak against No. 4 seed David Barton. 

Funny Car eliminations have also been rescheduled for Monday with three Dodge Charger SRT Hellcats starting from the top half of the eliminations ladder. No. 3 qualifier Ron Capps will have lane choice over Paul Lee in the opening round, while No. 4 seed Cruz Pedregon will begin his day facing off against Terry Haddock, and from his No. 6 spot, Matt Hagan will battle against Chad Green.


Matt Hagan, DSR Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.961 seconds at 324.12 mph) Bonus point for third quickest Q1 run
Round 1: Delayed until Monday

Ron Capps, DSR NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 3 Qualifier –  3.941 seconds at 315.42 mph)
Round 1: Delayed until Monday

Cruz Pedregon, Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.943 seconds at 323.12 mph)
Round 1: Delayed until Monday

Leah Pruett, DSR Pennzoil Mopar Dodge//SRT Dragster  
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.733 seconds at 312.86 mph)
Round 1: (0.020-second reaction time, 12.703 seconds at 60.13 mph) loss to No. 13 Justin Ashley (0.039/3.770/317.79)

“Frustration is the word of the day. Unfortunately for us, we were not able to advance out of the first round. Our issues weren’t caused by tune-up error, nor a driver error. We had a line and fitting that no longer wanted to be married to each other and they disconnected themselves, draining our CO2 bottle after the burnout. So, unfortunately, we did not have the proper pressure to set the clutch where it needed to be and when I hit the gas to leave, we had extra arms in play in the clutch that applied way more power than we had wanted. This is the ultimate proving grounds but I don’t think anybody would be able to make it down the track when you apply all 12,000-horsepower at the same time at the hit. Silver lining in this for us is we still have so much confidence in this team – the driver, the crew chief, the car when it’s not having a bad day. We’re hoping to minimize these terrible days. Thankfully we are still early in the season. Are we impressed with where we sit in the standings? No, but we look forward to getting back after it in Epping. Our heads are not down low; we’re holding them high.”
Leah Pruett, Mopar Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak
(No. 10 Qualifier – 7.959 seconds at 174.73 mph)
Round 1: Delayed until Monday

Mark Pawuk, Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak
(No. 13 Qualifier – 8.050 seconds at 172.21 mph)
Round 1: Delayed until Monday

NHRA Championship Points Standings:
Following Qualifying for the Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1. Bob Tasca III – 398 (2)
2. J.R. Todd – 376 (1)
3. John Force – 205
4. Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 294
5. Ron Capps (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 271

6. Alexis DeJoria – 268
7. Robert Hight – 251
7. Cruz Pedregon (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 251
7. Tim Wilkerson – 251
10. Blake Alexander – 182

TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses)
1. Steve Torrance – 449 (2)
2. Antron Brown – 369 (1)
3. Brittany Force – 308 
4. Shawn Langdon – 281
5. Josh Hart – 278 (1)
6. Billy Torrence – 247
7. Doug Kalitta – 229
8. Justin Ashley – 225
9. Leah Pruett (Mopar Dodge//SRT) – 215
10. Clay Millican – 198
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

@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.

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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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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

Follow Dodge and company news and video on:
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