Leah Pruett, driving the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Rush Truck Services/Dodge//SRT Top Fuel dragster, recorded the No. 1 qualifying position for the first time in the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series this weekend at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, TN, with a 3.745
- Due to a rainout last week at Epping, N.H., the New England Nationals eliminations were held at Bristol on Friday when Pruett advanced to the second round with an impressive victory over Doug Kalitta with a 3.745 win to Kalitta’s 3.764
- Pruett lost in the second round to Mike Salinas with a 3.894 to Salinas’ 3.848 but she remains in the top-five the NHRA Top Fuel standings
- In the Bristol eliminations, Pruett was defeated in the first round by Spencer Massey with a 3.824 to Massey’s 3.781
- Matt Hagan returned to Bristol with the TSR Operation Healing Forces Dodge/SRT Hellcat Funny Car after qualifying eighth at Epping and advanced to the second round of eliminations with a first-round win over Terry Haddock
- However, Hagan’s machine lost traction in the second round and lost to J.R. Todd
- Hagan drove to the second round in the Bristol eliminations Sunday with a first-round victory over Mike McIntire Jr. with a 4.021. But lost to Robert Hight in a close race, 3.913 to 3.952
JUNE 11, 2023 BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – The TSR Nitro squad recorded the No. 1 Top Fuel qualifying position for the first time in the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series at Bristol Dragway when Leah Pruett topped the 16-driver starting lineup with her TSR Rush Truck Services/Dodge//SRT dragster for Sunday’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
The NHRA weekend at Bristol was unique as it served as a doubleheader event with the rained-out Epping, NH, eliminations being contested as well as the Thunder Valley Nationals. The Bristol eliminations were also delayed Sunday due to rain.
Pruett, ranked in the top-four in the NHRA Top Fuel points entering the Bristol event, advanced to the second round in the Epping eliminations with the weekend’s best run of 3.745 at 322.42 miles per hour. Leah defeated Doug Kalitta in the opening before losing to Mike Salinas in round two with a 3.894 to Salinas’s 3.848.
In the Bristol elimination rounds, Pruett lost a close race in the first round to Spencer Massey with a 3.824 to Massey’s 3.781. Despite the Bristol loss, Leah remains in the top-five in the Top Fuel standings entering the next event, Summit Racing Equipment Nationals, at Norwalk, OH.
“This No. 1 (qualifying position) is just a testament to the consistency that this team has had all season long,” said Pruett. “It’s the culmination of our performance that has led up to this spot. There is nothing like racing on Sunday and racing in Thunder Valley. We got the highs and the lows and the emotions of racing in qualifying. You get the echo of the cars here in Thunder Valley.
“It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to take our Rush Truck Centers/Dodge//SRT dragster further into eliminations. Sometimes you’re the window, sometimes you’re the bug and we’ve been the bug lately. Every round is pretty much a UFC match, whether the people we race are full-time or part-time.”
Matt Hagan, the three-time 2023 national event winner, advanced to the second round in the Epping eliminations with his TSR Operation Healing Forces Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Car after an opening round win over Terry Haddock. Hagan lost to J.R. Todd in the second-round Saturday.
On Sunday, Hagan, from nearby Christiansburg, VA, took the victory in Bristol eliminations round one with a victory over Mike McIntire Jr., at 4.021. In the second round, Hagan lost a close battle with rival Robert Hight with a 3.952 to Hight’s 3.913.
“It looks like we’re struggling a little bit right now, but we’re actually making really good progress in preparation for the summer months and once we get into the countdown,” said Hagan, who now sits second in NHRA Funny Car points. “We have gathered a lot of great data this season and continue to do so in the heat. We just have to keep working at it, but we’re moving in the right direction. I have full confidence in Dickie (Venables – Crew Chief), Mike (Knudsen – Co-Crew Chief), Alex (Conaway – Car Chief) and all of my guys. They’re working extremely hard, and I know we will get back after it in Norwalk.”
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing tour moves to Norwalk, OH, on June 23-25 in the popular Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk Motorsports Park.
@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers on the track. Fans can seeaction 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.
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 siteincludes daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. For more information, visit www.dodgegarage.com.
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