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DSR Denver Pre-Race Report

Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Presented by Pennzoil

Event No. 8 of 20
Bandimere Speedway
Morrison, Colo.
July 16-18, 2021

Noteworthy:

  • A two-time winner in eight events, No. 2 ranked Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown will be looking to ‘sweep the Swing’ for the second time in his career.
    • No other Camping World Series driver has been successful in winning all three Western Swing events since Brown accomplished the challenging feat in 2009
  • Leah Pruett seeks to wheel the Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel dragster to a repeat of her 2018 Denver performance where she won her sponsor’s event from the pole
  • Ron Capps has put together an impressive qualifying report card, having earned a ‘top five’ qualifying position – including two poles – through the first seven events of 2021, and is looking to break through for his first win of the year
  • Reigning Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan is also seeking that first elusive 2021 Wally trophy, as well as a first Bandimere Speedway triumph
  • Mark Pawuk and double-duty driver Leah Pruett return to the seat of their Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Paks for the fourth of eight Factory Stock Showdown Series events; The class will make its Denver debut this weekend
    • Pawuk, a former Pro Stock racer, last competed at Bandimere Speedway in 2006 
  • Pruett’s very first Wally was won at the Denver track while she was competing in the NHRA’s Jr. Dragster series


DSR-Owned Track Records:
Top Fuel, E.T.: 3.733 seconds, Leah Pruett (2017)


DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

 
ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Denver Event Highlights: 
  • Three-time event champion (2009, 2012, 2017)  
  • Five-time runner-up:
    • Top Fuel (2008, 2016)  
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (1999, 2001, 2005)  
  • Three-time No. 1 qualifier:
    • Top Fuel (2009, 2010)  
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2001) 
2020 Denver Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Denver Recap:
Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Greg Carrillo in E1; defeated by Jordan Vandergriff in E2)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified sixth; Semifinal finish (defeated Doug Kalitta in E1, Billy Torrence in E2; defeated by Brittany Force in E3)

Career Statistics:
448 races; 68 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 Qualifiers (11 PSM)

Noteworthy:
  • A two-time winner in eight events, No. 2 ranked Antron Brown will be looking to ‘sweep the Swing’ for the second time in his career.
    • No other Camping World Series driver has been successful in winning all three Western Swing events since Brown accomplished the challenging feat in 2009
Quotable:
“The Mile-High Nationals in Denver holds a lot of special memories for me. We ‘swept the Swing’ in 2009, and came close once again after but just came up short. Bandimere Speedway is definitely one of the most unique and challenging stops on our tour. The mile-high altitude doesn’t just kick our car’s butt in terms of horsepower, but it kicks all of our butts; me, the crew guys, the crew chiefs, it just wears us all out. If you come out of Denver with a win, you know you have done something really special. We ran pretty decent in Denver the last time we were there in 2019, so, we’re hoping to repeat and build on that. First things first, we’re looking to qualify in the top of the ladder, and hopefully, we will be standing on top of the mountain on Sunday evening. If you can finish your weekend on top of the mountain, you’ve conquered Denver without it conquering you.”
LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster

Denver Event Highlights: 
  • 2018 event champion  
  • 2017 runner-up   
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2017, 2018) 
2020 Denver Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Denver Recap:
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Terry Totten in E1; defeated by Clay Millican in E2)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Doug Foley in E1; defeated by Steve Torrence in E2)

Career Statistics:
159 races; eight wins; 12 No. 1 Qualifiers 

Noteworthy:
  • Seeks to wheel the Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel dragster to a repeat of her 2018 performance where she won her sponsor’s event from the pole
Quotable:
"Hollywood is known for making movie magic, and this team has been known for making some of the greatest horsepower out of the thinnest Bandimere air, aka magic. We’ve had a challenging start to the season gaining the proper momentum, but believe our undeniable capabilities paired with our nose to the grindstone in the shop, and training work ethic, will produce not only the results we expect, but our Mopar fans do as well.

"The Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals has always been my most enjoyable event to compete at for a variety of reasons. Being surrounded by dedicated like-minded Dodge//SRT and Mopar enthusiasts really brings the ultimate vibe. Winning doesn’t happen overnight. What happens in the dark, always comes to light, and I believe it’s time to put the shine on. I am personally looking forward to our season taking a major turn for the competitive best, and believe the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals is the perfect place to do it. I definitely wish we had our standard four qualifying sessions to prepare for the race and to help dial in our hot rod, and take a stab at the tree. Because we don't, I believe our off-the-trailer numbers on Friday night will be very instrumental in the qualifying order, which means nothing is more important than being prepared for that run. That is what we have been spending our last two weeks doing; preparing for the quantity of runs for the entire Swing, and micro-scoping quality.”
 
Funny Car:

RON CAPPS
Driver of the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat


Denver Event Highlights: 
  • 2009 event champion and No. 1 qualifier  
  • Three-time runner-up (1998, 2007, 2018) 
2020 Denver Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Denver Recap:
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Todd Simpson in E1; defeated by Bob Tasca in E2)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Terry Haddock in E1, J.R. Todd in E2; defeated by Bob Tasca in E3)

Career Statistics:
573 races; 66 wins (one Top Fuel); 27 No. 1 qualifiers 

Noteworthy:
  • Ron Capps has put together an impressive qualifying report card, having earned a ‘top five’ qualifying position – including two poles – through the first seven events of 2021, and is looking to break through for his first win of the year
Quotable:
“The Western Swing is one of the most challenging parts of the season. We start off with racing in the altitude in Denver, and then go straight from there to sea-level in Sonoma and then this year, we’re ending it with a historic race in Pomona, Calif. You hear people talking about ‘sweeping the Swing’ and you can’t do that unless you win Denver, which is one of the hardest races to win. It’s very difficult to make the car run up on the mountain. It’s very taxing on the crew chiefs, the crew, and the drivers. Making power up there, and making these cars run is an art. I’m very happy to represent Dodge and Mopar up on the mountain, and to have a crew led by John Medlen and Dean Antonelli. I know they’ll make sure we have a great, competitive car in those conditions, and I’m looking forward to it.” 


MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Denver Event Highlights:
  • 2011 event runner-up  
  • 2010 No. 1 qualifier 
2020 Denver Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Denver Recap:
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by Jack Beckman in E1)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Bobby Bode in E1; defeated by Alexis DeJoria in E2)

Career Statistics:
282 races; 36 wins; 41 No. 1 qualifiers 

Noteworthy:
  • Reigning Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan is seeking that first elusive 2021 Wally trophy, as well as a first Bandimere Speedway triumph
Quotable:
“Some of my best memories of coming to Denver for the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals always involve the amazing crowd of people that are really passionate about the Dodge and Mopar brands coming together to celebrate pure muscle and horsepower. It’s been a Dodge and Mopar sponsored race for a really long time and it’s always great to see fans coming out to support it, and us.

“I've obviously raced here a lot and haven't won one yet but I feel like I've been chasing down that win. Bandimere Speedway is always tricky, but it's time to win one for our sponsor and celebrate big. I think that we got a pretty good handle on the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat right now. I'm excited about getting there, getting qualified well, going rounds, running like a Hellcat and turning the win lights on in Denver.”

Factory Stock Showdown Series:


MARK PAWUK
Driver of the Empaco Equipment Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak


2020 Denver Recap:
N/A (Denver is a new addition to the Factory Stock Showdown Series in 2021)

Last Event (Norwalk):
DNQ

FSS Career Statistics:
22 races; three runner-ups; two No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Pawuk, a former Pro Stock racer, last competed at Bandimere Speedway in 2006 
Quotable:
“I haven’t competed at the beautiful Bandimere Speedway facility since 2006. I’m looking forward to going back and racing at Bandimere and showcasing the Factory Stock Showdown Series to a new group of fans in the Colorado area. It’s a little tough to run on the mountain with the thin air and different weather conditions, but I know my team is going to get it figured out. I’m looking forward to competing well, and continuing to make progress with our Empaco Equipment Dodge Drag Pak. I’m excited to see all of the Denver NHRA fans and hopefully we will put on a great show and go some rounds this weekend at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals.”

LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

2020 Denver Recap:
N/A (Denver is a new addition to the Factory Stock Showdown Series in 2021)

Last Event (Norwalk):
DNQ

FSS Career Statistics:
26 races; three wins; one runner-up; two No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
"With this being the first year for Factory Stock Showdown to compete in Denver, there are many unknowns. But what we do know is that our Mopar parts are ready to take on the challenges as (crew chief) Kevin Helms deciphers a brand-new tune-up on the mountain. Four qualifying runs will definitely help, but the mountain is ruthless, and has the capability of finding new weaknesses. I have confidence in my Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak and believe that we can take on the competition through planned attrition."

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