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DSR Reading Saturday Qualifying 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

DSR Qualifying Highlights:

  • No. 1 ranked Funny Car Countdown challenger Ron Capps clocked the lowest E.T. of Q2 to collect three bonus points and secure a starting position (5th) in the top half of the Funny Car field  
  • Funny Car stand-in Tommy Johnson Jr. will start race day from the No. 4 seed as he battles for the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Wally trophy on behalf of Matt Hagan, who remains sidelined due to COVID-19
  • Top Fuel round one will feature an intramural battle between DSR stablemates Antron Brown and Leah Pruett. Brown will start from seventh and with the advantage of lane choice versus Pruett, the No. 8 seed


Driver Information:

Top Fuel:
 

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

 
Qualified: No. 7 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 8 Leah Pruett

The Results: 
Q1: 3.871 E.T. at 302.14 MPH
Q2: 3.796 E.T. at 324.83 MPH
Q3: 3.731 E.T. at 329.34 MPH

Quotable:
“I’m super proud of my team. We’re getting better and better with every run and we did that this weekend. We’re looking forward to race day tomorrow. We hate that we have to race our teammate, Leah (Pruett) and that team with (crew chiefs) Todd Okuhara and Neal Strausbaugh. We have to go at it with our heads down and give it all we’ve got and go down the race track. We like the progress we made in qualifying, getting quicker each lap.”

 



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

 
Qualified: No. 8

The Competition: No. 7 Antron Brown

The Results: 
Q1: 3.733 E.T. at 323.89 MPH
Q2: 3.748 E.T. at 323.66 MPH
Q3: 3.743 E.T. at 282.54 MPH

Quotable:
“I really like to go back to the foundation of a great weekend, and that started for us with a great run on Friday. We were shooting for a low 3.70 and that gave us something to work off of. When we look at Sundays where we’ve done well, ultimately, we’ve always had a great start to the weekend. So, we have that in our corner going into race day. Going into Q2, we were shooting for a high 3.60 and we missed it in the clutch department a little bit so we made some major changes. We’re in Amish country and for Q3, we were putting all 12,000 HEMI horses to it, and it took it to halftrack. We were on track for that high 3.60 we were shooting for but then the car kicked a belt at halftrack and we missed it. The most unfortunate part of qualifying is that we’re up against our teammate Antron Brown. We would’ve loved nothing more than to meet him in the final but we are so close in points that someone is going to get a leg up on the other one, and hopefully, it’s us.

"Our Mopar Dodge dragster is running exceptionally well and we feel good about tomorrow. For me personally, I haven’t had the best luck here at Reading, and because of that, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the fans and spend a lot of time with them. It’s an awesome group, and I’m really taking their energy and their vibe and enthusiasm into race day, and will hopefully carry that deep into the elimination rounds. We’re looking for great results here at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil.”

 


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

Qualified: No. 5 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 10 Blake Alexander

The Results:
Q1: 3.932 E.T. at 325.06 MPH
Q2: 3.896 E.T. at 328.86 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 5.480 E.T. at 133.55 MPH

Bonus Points: Three

Quotable:
“This race ups the ante with it being the start of the Countdown and the feeling you get in the pit area, not only just the drivers but the crew chiefs and the teams as well. You definitely have the playoff fever floating around. We went out with that typical NAPA Know How today and went out in Q2 and got three qualifying bonus points with the quickest run in the heat at 3.89. And, tomorrow, Sunday, is going to be just like that. We didn’t qualify as high as we would have liked, but we were still in the top half and it’s a strange ladder. Any car in that ladder is one that can win a race; it’s so tight in Funny Car. We’ll concentrate on one round at a time and it’s going to be warmer tomorrow. The track is going to be great and we’re looking forward to seeing what ‘Guido’ (Dean Antonelli) and (John) Medlen and our NAPA AutoCare team can put together for us.”
 


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

Qualified: No. 4 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 11 Jim Campbell

The Results:
Q1: 3.895 E.T. at 333.82 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.426 E.T. at 187.65 MPH
Q3: 3.917 E.T. at 325.85 MPH

Bonus Points: Two

Quotable:
“With each run, I get more comfortable, and it feels more natural in this Mopar Dodge. This team is doing such a great job. We have a great race car, and I’m just looking forward to tomorrow. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out here on a race day Sunday. I’ve been at home watching on the computer on NHRA.tv and FOX, and now we get to do it for real and make our mark.”

Note:
Tommy Johnson Jr. is competing on behalf of defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan who remains sidelined due to COVID-19. The points Johnson accumulates during the race weekend will be awarded to Hagan, who started the Countdown ranked fifth.
 

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