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DSR Reading Pre-Race Report

Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals
Presented by Pennzoil

Event 14 of 20
Countdown Event 1 of 7
Maple Grove Raceway
Reading, Penn. 
Sept. 10 - 12, 2021

Noteworthy:

  • The Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil kicks off the seven-event 2021 Camping World Series Countdown to the Championship. All DSR drivers are in championship contention
  • Ron Capps enters Maple Grove Raceway as the No. 1 Funny Car seed after a runner-up finish at the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals last weekend
  • The last time the Camping World Series visited Reading, Penn., Capps clocked a blistering 3.837 at 339.28-mph pass, resetting both ends of the Maple Grove track record with his speed registering as the second-fastest run in NHRA history
  • Antron Brown enters the NHRA playoffs from the No. 3 seed as he begins his campaign for a fourth Top Fuel world title
  • No. 4 ranked Leah Pruett is eager to get back to the facility where she scored her first Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier during the 2016 event


Note:
For the second week in a row, Tommy Johnson Jr. will fill in for defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan who remains sidelined as he recovers from COVID-19. The points Johnson accumulates during the race weekend will be awarded to Hagan, who starts the Countdown ranked fifth.

DSR-Owned Track Records:
Funny Car, E.T.: 3.837 seconds, Ron Capps (2019)
Funny Car, speed: 339.28 mph, Ron Capps (2019)


DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

 
ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Countdown to the Championship standing: 3rd

Reading Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time event champion (2015, 2016)   
  • Three-time runner-up
    • Top Fuel (2012, 2013)   
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2004)   
  • Three-time No. 1 qualifier
    • Top Fuel (2009, 2011)   
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2004) 
2020 Reading Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Reading Recap:
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Terry McMillen in E1; defeated by Richie Crampton in E2)

Last Event (Indianapolis):
Qualified 15th; First round exit (defeated by Steve Torrence in E1)

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

Noteworthy:
  • Enters the NHRA playoffs from the No. 3 seed as he begins his campaign for a fourth Top Fuel world title
Quotable:
“The Countdown is here. Reading is going to be a big race, and could be a very pivotal weekend. It’s the first of seven Countdown races, and I’m excited to get back there, especially with it being close to a home track for me, and I can’t wait to see all of my family and friends. We definitely want to get off to a great start, and I believe we’re ready for this. Our Matco Tools/Toyota/SiriusXM/Global/Hangsterfer’s team is ready to go to work.


LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster

Countdown to the Championship standing: 4th

Reading Event Highlights: 
  • 2016 No. 1 Qualifier 
2020 Reading Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Reading Recap:
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Lex Joon in E1; defeated by Austin Prock in E2)

Last Event (Indianapolis):
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Joe Morrison in E1; defeated by Josh Hart in E2)

Career Statistics:
165 races; nine wins; 12 No. 1 Qualifiers 

Noteworthy:
  • Pruett kicks off her fifth Countdown appearance ranked fourth in the standings 
  • Scored her first Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier during the 2016 Maple Grove Raceway event
Quotable:
"We’re fourth in points heading on into Reading for the Mopar Express Lane Nationals, and starting the Countdown from there, we feel good about that. Right now, our Mopar dragster is the most capable and consistent car that we've had all year long and it’s responding to what we want it to do. That's exactly where we want to be going into the Countdown."


Funny Car:

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


Countdown to the Championship standing: 1st

Reading Event Highlights: 
  • 2017 event champion   
  • Three-time runner-up (1999, 2000, 2016) 
  • 2019 No. 1 qualifier 
2020 Reading Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Reading Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Mike McIntire in E1, Matt Hagan in E2; defeated by John Force in E3)

Last Event (Indianapolis):
Qualified sixth; Event runner-up (defeated Justin Schriefer in E1, Robert Hight in E2, Alexis DeJoria in E3; defeated by Tim Wilkerson in E4)

Career Statistics:
579 races; 67 wins (one Top Fuel); 29 No. 1 qualifiers 

Noteworthy:
  • Enters Maple Grove Raceway as the No. 1 Funny Car seed after a runner-up finish at the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals last weekend
  • The last time the Camping World Series visited Reading, Penn., Capps clocked a blistering 3.837 at 339.28-mph pass, resetting both ends of the Maple Grove track record with his speed registering as the second-fastest run in NHRA history
Quotable:
"Especially considering what we've gone through the last year, getting back to somewhat of a normal playoff is nice. Actually, it's even better than normal as the NHRA added a race (Bristol) to the Countdown. I'm excited to kick it off at Maple Grove, which is the site of our great run a few years ago of 339 mph. It's a fast racetrack. It's fun and in a fantastic part of the country with great people and great NHRA fans.

"Our team has had a goal since Pomona of trying to lead the regular season and carry that momentum into the Countdown to the Championship. It's been so much fun with (crew chiefs) ‘Guido’ (Dean Antonelli) and (John) Medlen and our NAPA AutoCare team to just achieve these small goals. The ultimate one is the big trophy at the end of the season with the ‘Camping World NHRA World Championship’ on it, but it's one run at a time, not just one race at a time. I couldn't think of a better time than right now to see that Maple Grove drag strip." 


TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

 

Countdown to the Championship standing: 5th (competing for Matt Hagan)

Reading Event Highlights:
  • Two-time event champion (1999, 2016)   
  • 2014 event runner-up   
  • 2006 No. 1 qualifier 
2020 Reading Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Reading Recap:
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by J.R. Todd in E1)

Last Event (Indianapolis):
DNQ

Career Statistics:
481 races; 22 wins; 21 No. 1 qualifiers 

Noteworthy:
  • Johnson Jr. returns to fill in for defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan who remains sidelined as he recovers from COVID-19. The points Johnson accumulates during the race weekend will be awarded to Hagan, who starts the Countdown ranked fifth
  • Johnson’s first Funny Car event win occurred at the 1999 Reading race 
Quotable:
“The past several days have been such a whirlwind and a roller coaster of emotions. From the excitement that I’d get to drive a nitro Funny Car again, and then a letdown when we didn’t get to make a run. I got the call earlier this week that I may be needed again, and fortunately, we were able to test and it allowed me to knock some rust off, and get familiarized with the car and the team. That just shows you how professional this team is, and how seriously they’re focused on making sure this car runs for a championship. It’s an unfortunate circumstance for sure, but I’m glad I’m able to help them out. Now that I’ve gotten a few laps under my belt, I feel very prepared going into this weekend’s race in Reading. I actually ran a career-best speed in testing (333.00 mph). It was a really good test session overall, and I’m looking forward to going back to a track where I’ve had a lot of success in the past, and a lot of history.
 
“My first Funny Car win was at Reading in 1999, and I was fortunate to win it again a few years back with DSR. So, there’s a lot of excitement and positivity going into the weekend. This Mopar team has done a great job in this circumstance. I hate it for Matt (Hagan) that he is not able to get back behind the wheel this weekend, but I’m happy to hop in and help these guys out in their championship chase. Last year, Matt and I battled it out for the championship, and now here I am trying to help him win it, and it would be cool to be a part of another championship for him.

“We’re going to go out there, do the best we can, and try to win some rounds and hopefully win the race. I’m not coming back just to take the car down the track, I want to come back and win the race, and maybe raise some eyebrows on my talents. The fans have been so great, it really makes me want to do my absolute best and I want to do whatever I can to help these guys stay in the hunt.”

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