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DSR St. Louis Pre-Race Report

NHRA Midwest Nationals
Event 16 of 20
Countdown Event 3 of 7
World Wide Technology Raceway
Madison, Ill. 
Sept. 24 - 26, 2021

Noteworthy:

  • DSR Dodge Hellcat Funny Car pilots Ron Capps and Matt Hagan enter the weekend ranked No. 1 and 2 in the Countdown to the Championship point standings, with Hagan trailing Capps by five points
  • Capps, the winningest Funny Car driver at World Wide Technology Raceway, will look to add to his four St. Louis wins as he pursues a second Camping World Series title
  • As the three-time and defending Funny Car series champ, Hagan will be focused on taking last year’s Midwest Nationals runner-up finish one step further as he chases his first St. Louis triumph and fourth series title
  • Hagan’s two worlds will collide this weekend as he proudly debuts the New Holland Funny Car. As a race car driver on the weekend and rancher during the week, Hagan, aka the ‘world’s fastest farmer,’ looks forward to bannering the New Holland colors in St. Louis. For the past eight years, he has relied on New Holland’s equipment on his 3,400-acre cattle and hemp farm 
  • With five Midwest Nationals trophies, championship-contender Antron Brown returns to St. Louis as the winningest Camping World Series competitor in the track’s history
  • Double-duty driver Leah Pruett will be looking to avenge last year’s horrific Top Fuel crash which occurred during the second round of eliminations and derailed her 2020 title hopes
  • Mark Pawuk reset both ends of the Factory Stock Showdown Series St. Louis track record (7.814 seconds at 175.48 MPH) in 2020 to earn the provisional pole on Friday evening before the remainder of the event was postponed until Houston


DSR Track Records:
Top Fuel, speed: 332.75 mph, Leah Pruett (2017)
Factory Stock, E.T.: 7.814 seconds, Mark Pawuk (2020)
Factory Stock, speed: 175.48 mph, Pawuk (2020)


DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

 
ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Countdown to the Championship standing: 7th

St. Louis Event Highlights: 
  • Five-time event champion (2009, 2012-2015)   
  • 2005 runner-up (Pro Stock Motorcycle)   
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2001, 2004) 
2020 St. Louis Recap:
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Justin Ashley in E1; defeated by Steve Torrence in E2)

Last Event (Charlotte II):
Qualified eighth; First round exit (defeated by Spencer Massey in E1)

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

Noteworthy:
  • With five Midwest Nationals trophies, championship-contender Antron Brown returns to St. Louis as the winningest Camping World Series competitor in the track’s history
Quotable:
“We’re very much looking forward to getting to St. Louis this weekend. This Matco Tools team has a game plan heading into World Wide Technology Raceway. It’s a track that has always been really, really good to us with five wins there. It’s a great facility run by a great staff. We love going there and seeing the Arch from the staging lanes. We’ll go in with our heads down and see what we can make happen. We’re ready to go and it’s time for a turnaround.”


LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Okuma Top Fuel Dragster

Countdown to the Championship standing: 5th

2020 St. Louis Recap:
Qualified ninth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Pat Dakin in E1; defeated by Tony Schumacher in E2)

Last Event (Charlotte II):
Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Justin Ashley)

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

Noteworthy:
  • No. 5 ranked Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett will be looking to avenge last year’s horrific crash which occurred during the second round of eliminations, and derailed her 2020 title hopes
Quotable:
“The St. Louis track got me last year, and this year, we’re going to get it. It took a lot away from our team last year with the crash, and it’s not something that we don’t talk about or address. We had a great race car at that time, and one of our best and lightest bodies, and we were deep in the championship hunt. This year, I feel like as an anniversary gift of the crash, we’ll be rewarding ourselves with a solid program and really looking to own that track. I’ve run well there in all sorts of classes; very fast times, and that’s what builds confidence. When you can search deep in yourself, and look at your track records, and look at what you’ve accomplished previously, that’s what builds our confidence going into this race.

“We are pumped, and we want to take on the competition in every facet and it’s going to start with Friday night qualifying. We’re definitely ready for it and I’m ready to take back from St. Louis what was taken from us last year. We are finding our championship race car this weekend.” 


Funny Car:

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


Countdown to the Championship standing: 1st

St. Louis Event Highlights: 
  • Four-time event champion (1997, 2005, 2007, 2017)   
  • 2009 runner-up and No. 1 qualifier 
2020 St. Louis Recap:
Qualified 14th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)

Last Event (Charlotte II):
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (defeated Jim Campbell in E1, Matt Hagan in E2; defeated by Tim Wilkerson in E3)

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

Noteworthy:
  • Enters the weekend ranked No. 1 in the Countdown to the Championship point standings
  • As the winningest Funny Car driver at World Wide Technology Raceway, Capps will look to add to his four St. Louis wins as he pursues a second Camping World Series title
Quotable:
“The first win I had in Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing was at World Wide Technology Raceway and it was in the Brut Dodge. St. Louis has been great to me personally, and I know this team has run well there in the past. We love going there. What Chris Blair and their staff does ranks up with the best tracks we go to. There’s always great side-by-side racing. The track is within a few hours of Indy and we have a lot of family members and friends who come support us and watch us race, and nothing is better than winning with family there. I got to experience that at Pomona this summer. We’ll keep it rolling. This new DSR chassis is great and I feel like we have an advantage with what our fab shop has given us and they show that NAPA Know How we need to win.”


MATT HAGAN
Driver of the New Holland Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Countdown to the Championship standing: 2nd

St. Louis Event Highlights:
  • Four-time runner-up (2012, 2014-2015, 2020)    
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2013, 2015) 
2020 St. Louis Recap:
Qualified sixth; Event runner-up (defeated Bob Bode in E1, Ron Capps in E2, Alexis DeJoria in E3; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E4)

Last Event (Charlotte II):
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Tony Jurado in E1; defeated by Ron Capps in E2)

Career Statistics:
288 races; 38 wins; 42 No. 1 qualifiers 

Noteworthy:
  • Enters the race weekend ranked second in the Countdown standings and trailing his point-leader teammate by only five points
  • As the three-time and defending Funny Car series champ, Hagan will be focused on taking last year’s Midwest Nationals runner-up finish one step further as he chases his first St. Louis triumph and fourth series title
  • Hagan’s two worlds will intertwine this weekend as he proudly debuts the 11,000-horsepower New Holland Funny Car. As a race car driver on the weekend and rancher during the week, Hagan, aka the ‘world’s fastest farmer,’ looks forward to bannering the New Holland colors. For the past eight years, he has relied on New Holland’s equipment on his 3,400-acre cattle and hemp farm 
Quotable:
“I’ve been patiently waiting to get the New Holland yellow and blue on this Dodge Funny Car, and the new colors look great! It’s going to be cooler this weekend and we want to go fast. I’m confident with this race car in all conditions. World Wide Technology Raceway is a great facility and track and they always turn out a great crowd. We’re excited to put on a show with a new sponsor coming to the track.”


Factory Stock Showdown Series:

DAVID DAVIES
Driver of the D H Davies Racing Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak


2020 St. Louis Recap:
N/A

Last Event (Indianapolis):
Qualified 13th; First round exit (defeated by Leah Pruett in E1)

FSS Career Statistics:
Three races (Norwalk, Topeka, Indianapolis 2021)

Quotable:
“Very excited to be heading into St. Louis for the Midwest Nats. The fans at this track are some of the best, and I have always had good results at this track no matter what we were running. We made substantial progress at Indy and are looking to continue that trend this weekend going into the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown. Success comes with consistency, and after testing last week, the entire team is looking forward to putting together solid qualifying passes to set the 2021 Drag Pak up for the show on Sunday.” 


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

St. Louis Event Highlights:
  • 2018 No. 1 qualifier 
2020 St. Louis Recap:
Qualified No. 1 (provisional); Remainder of qualifying and all of eliminations were completed at Houston

Last Event (Indianapolis):
Qualified No. 22; First round exit (defeated by Jesse Alexandra in E1)

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

Noteworthy:
  • Reset both ends of the St. Louis Factory Stock Showdown Series track record in 2020 to earn the provisional pole on Friday evening before the remainder of the event was postponed until Houston
    • 7.814 seconds at 175.48 MPH 
  • Had previously reset the St. Louis track record in 2018 when he earned his first FSS No. 1 qualifier
Quotable:
“I’m looking forward to going to St. Louis this weekend with my new 2021 Dodge Drag Pak. We ended up testing Bowling Green, Ken. last week and made some improvements. Unfortunately, the weather kind of got us at Indy, our last NHRA race, with only getting one qualifying session but we feel we made some progress.

“We set the track record for Factory Stock at St. Louis in 2018, and then reset it again last year. We’ve had some good performances there, and hopefully our Empaco Equipment/Ohio CAT/Ohio Peterbilt, Mr. Heater 2021 Dodge Drag Pak turns the corner here the next two races and starts showing the performance that we’re more than capable of putting down on the race track. Looking forward to seeing everybody this weekend, hopefully we’ll have some good weather and a great race.”


LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak

St. Louis Event Highlights:
  • 2018 event champion 
2020 St. Louis Recap:
Qualified No. 7 (provisional); Remainder of qualifying and all of eliminations were completed at Houston

Last Event (Indianapolis):
Qualified No. 12; Quarterfinal finish (defeated David Davies in E1; defeated by Joseph Welch in E2)

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

Noteworthy:
  • Recorded the first official seven-second FSS pass at the 2018 event (7.936)  
Quotable:
“We're ready for some homecoming success at St. Louis with our Dodge Mopar Drag Pak. By that I mean, we’ve had great success there before. We were the first Factory Stock car to make a seven-second run, we won there in 2018, and now with (crew chief) Kevin Helms back on the scene after recovering from Covid, our chances are stronger than ever with the A.J. (Berge)/Kevin duo.”

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