DSR Charlotte 1 Post-Race Recap

NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Event No. 4 of 21
zMAX Dragway
Concord, N.C.
May 14-16, 2021
DSR Elimination Highlights:

  • Antron Brown advanced to the final elimination quad where he recorded a semifinal finish to maintain his No. 2 ranking in the point standings
  • Brown’s zMAX Dragway outing marked the sixth consecutive event where he advanced to the semifinals or beyond
  • Along his way to the final elimination quad, Brown earned his 750th round win, making him just the sixth driver in NHRA history to accomplish that feat

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:
Driver of Matco's 'Tools for the Cause' Toyota Top Fuel Dragster
Matco's 'Tools for the Cause' to benefit the Fisher House Foundation

Qualified: No. 6 (3.761 E.T. at 285.95 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.804 E.T. at 315.56 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 3.947 E.T. at 245.67 MPH, Leah Pruett 4.310 E.T. at 193.32 MPH
E2: 3.743 E.T. at 327.11 MPH defeated Doug Foley 3.778 E.T. at 319.45 MPH, Krista Baldwin 4.220 E.T. at 228.38 MPH
E3: 3.738 E.T. at 327.03 MPH defeated by Steve Torrence 3.716 E.T. at 329.10 MPH, Brittany Force 3.723 E.T. at 333.16 MPH

Race Recap:
Antron Brown was looking to capture a second consecutive victory on Sunday following his NHRA Southern Nationals championship finish at the previous event, and he came close, advancing to the final elimination quad at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Ultimately, his performance at zMAX Dragway was recorded as a semifinal finish and helped him to maintain his No. 2 ranking in the point standings.
Brown’s bid to the final elimination quad began by qualifying his Matco Tools/Fisher House Foundation dragster sixth to set up a meeting with teammate Leah Pruett, Shawn Langdon, and Krista Baldwin in E1. Brown was quickest of his quad, clocking a 3.804, to get to the finish line first. With his first-round triumph, Brown became just the sixth driver in NHRA history to achieve 750 round wins. After checking that milestone off the list, Brown had his sights set on another personal victory – capturing career win No. 69 to tie Kenny Bernstein’s sixth-place ranking on NHRA’s all-time win list. He looked well on his way to accomplishing that goal in round two where he was first out of the gate and never trailed for the win, leading his three opponents to the finish line. In the final elimination quad, Brown gave it a good run but was outpaced by opponents Steve Torrence and Brittany Force, who claimed the win and runner-up positions. While he may not have left zMAX with the hardware, Brown’s outing marked his sixth consecutive event where he finished with a semifinal appearance or better.

“All in all, it was a great weekend here at the four-wides. We got better and better with each lap. In the first round today, we actually dropped a hole early into the run and still muscled it down there in 3.8 flat, and then we picked it up in the second round and ran a .74. We stepped it up even more in the finals; the track got tighter. We came up a little short today, but all it does is keep all of us hungry, and we’re looking forward to getting to Houston and getting right back into it. We’re learning, and we’re growing and we’re getting better and better. I’m so proud of our Matco Tools/Toyota/Global Electronic Technology/SiriusXM/Hangsterfer’s team. Steve-O (Torrence), Brittany (Force), and Josh Hart, they all did a great job up there, and this Top Fuel category is unreal right now. I like our chances and I’m pumped up and ready to go.”

Driver of the Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 3 (3.718 E.T. at 324.59 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.310 E.T. at 193.32 MPH defeated by Antron Brown 3.804 E.T. at 315.56 MPH, Krista Baldwin 3.855 E.T. at 319.52 MPH

Race Recap:
Aboard the white and blue Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel dragster, Leah Pruett qualified third after unloading with a stout 3.718 E.T. in the opening session on Friday evening at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Her impressive performance earned a bonus point and a starting position in the top half of the field for the 44th time over the past 50 races, including the last seven consecutive events. Pruett’s third-seeded position placed her in a quad with teammate Antron Brown, Shawn Langdon, and Krista Baldwin. Pruett stood on the gas and starting having problems shortly after, causing her car to slow while her competitors were able to drive past.

“We were definitely ready to have a very long Sunday, and it never ceases to amaze us the number of ways we can find to not have a dream day, and not win. It doesn’t matter how many accumulated years of drag racing experience you have, there will always be something new to arise. For us, it was having a clutch disc that wore at the step, and that caused a whole chain reaction of events that ultimately led to the car being shut off. We’ve spent the entire day since then deciphering the set of circumstances that caused that to occur. But, the upside of it is we’re always adapting and coming up with new ways to solve issues, and as you do that, you find new ways to become more consistent in those details. It’s early in the season, our momentum is still carrying even though the win lights may not show it. We have a couple of days to turn this around. We’ll be testing on Monday, picking away at what we found here and we’ll get ready for an incredible Houston outing with our Pennzoil and Mopar family.”

Funny Car:
Driver of the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 3 (3.943 E.T. at 325.30 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.991 E.T. at 273.88 MPH defeated by Matt Hagan 3.936 E.T. at 325.06 MPH, Cruz Pedregon 4.032 E.T. at 323.74 MPH

Race Recap:
Flying the chrome blue Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA AUTO PARTS colors on his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Ron Capps was looking to break through for his first win of the 2021 season at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Concord, N.C.
After finishing as a semifinalist at the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals last month, and a stellar qualifying outing earlier in the weekend at zMAX Dragway, Capps appeared to be in prime position for a long day of going rounds on Sunday. By powering to the second-quickest pass of both Q2 and Q3, Capps earned four bonus points and the No. 3 starting position to start race day, pitting him against teammate Matt Hagan, Cory Lee, and Cruz Pedregon in his round-one quad. Capps was solid off of the starting line, clocking a 0.067-second reaction time but Pedregon’s 0.000 light allowed him to defeat Capps with a holeshot finish. Meanwhile, Hagan also set off the win light in his lane with a 3.936 E.T., and Capps found himself as the third-place finisher and was forced to be a spectator as Hagan and Pedregon advanced to round two.

“NHRA drag racing is definitely a ‘right place at the right time’ kind of sport. We had such a great car on Saturday. It was quick and consistent. My crew chiefs ‘Guido’ (Dean Antonelli) and John Medlen, and this entire Pennzoil/NAPA AutoCare team put a great race car underneath me time and time again. The car was running really well today in round one; the incremental numbers were great and then it just put a couple of cylinders out and spun the tires downtrack, and it hadn’t done that all weekend. You couple that with the fact that one of my opponents had a perfect light (0.000 reaction time) or what we call a ‘bad red light,’ and I’ve had some of those myself, and when you’re on the good side of it, that’s what happens, and today he was on the good side of it and beat us to the finish line. But, a win is coming soon. We’re getting these ‘close call’ races out of the way early in the season. You can’t call it bad luck because we’re running really well. I’m excited about these next few races for sure, but we’ll have to wait until next year to get another four-wide trophy.”

Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
Qualified: No. 11 (4.058 E.T. at 260.71 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.936 E.T. at 325.06 MPH defeated Ron Capps 3.991 E.T. at 273.88 MPH, Cory Lee 4.392 E.T. at 251.58 MPH
E2: 4.036 E.T. at 307.51 MPH defeated by Alexis DeJoria 3.929 E.T. at 320.13 MPH, Cruz Pedregon 3.971 E.T. at 319.52 MPH

Race Recap:
Matt Hagan found himself in the unfavorable No. 11 qualifying position after struggling to make a solid pass during qualifying for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. It was unusual territory for the reigning world champ and his Dickie Venables-led Mopar team who are used to top-seeded qualifying positions and record-setting runs. Never ones to shy away from adversity, the Mopar team overcame the setback and Venables tuned Hagan to an impressive 3.936 right out of the gate on Sunday morning. The run was the quickest of his quad, and third-quickest of the first round. Hagan’s round two quad featured a showdown with Alexis DeJoria, Cruz Pedregon, and Bob Tasca III. Against his three opponents, Hagan had the holeshot advantage but his lead was quickly cut short after a parts failure caused his machine to slow to a 4.036, and he was outpaced by two of his competitors, ending his day after the second round.

“There’s a million things that can go wrong with a fuel Funny Car, and we had something bite us this weekend. My crew chief Dickie Venables and Mike Knudsen did a great job recovering after qualifying. We struggled in qualifying as far as getting a handle on the race track so we went into Sunday morning not really knowing what to expect, and they did an amazing job of reeling the clutch back in and not only getting the car to make a full pull down the race track, but we ran a really good 3.93. I felt like we were on pace to go back up there and do the same thing on that last lap but we had a parts failure and it cost us the run. Unfortunately, that’s part of racing; that’s what happens when you push things to the limit, it happens sometimes. That is the humble part of drag racing.”

NHRA Camping World Countdown to the Championship Standings (unofficial):

Top Fuel

1 Steve Torrence   408
2 Antron Brown   332
3 Brittany Force   274
4 Shawn Langdon   248
5 Josh Hart   245
6 Billy Torrence   215
7 Doug Kalitta   197
8 Justin Ashley   194
9 Leah Pruett   176
10 Clay Millican   164

Funny Car
1 Bob Tasca III   360  
2 J.R. Todd   343  
3 John Force   329  
4 Matt Hagan   259  
5 Ron Capps   235  
6 Alexis DeJoria   228  
7 Tim Wilkerson   218  
8 Cruz Pedregon   216  
9 Robert Hight   215  
10 Blake Alexander   150  

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