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DSR St. Louis Qualifying Report

Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals Presented by Pennzoil
Event No. 8
World Wide Technology Raceway
Madison, Ill.
October 2-4, 2020

Note: Persistent showers on Saturday forced NHRA to abbreviate both the Mello Yello Series and the Factory Stock Showdown Series to just one round of qualifying. Mello Yello competitors made their one run on Saturday evening, while the FSS field was set from Q1 on Friday night

DSR Qualifying Highlights:

  • Tony Schumacher laid down an impressive run of 3.680 seconds at 332.92 mph to reset the St. Louis Top Fuel speed record, and earn the 88th No. 1 qualifier of his career
  • Schumacher’s Toyota teammate, Antron Brown, also earned a spot toward the top of the ladder by powering to the third-quickest pass of the Top Fuel session
  • In Funny Car, Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan led the DSR Dodge quartet earning the No. 5 and 6 starting positions, respectively
  • DSR carried a streak of 10 consecutive national event Funny Car wins and a four-way championship battle heading into the weekend and will be looking to extend the team’s current undefeated Funny Car streak to a record 11 victories on Sunday
  • Mark Pawuk paced the Factory Stock field on Friday night with a strong run of 7.814 seconds at 175.48 mph to claim his third FSS No. 1 start, and second at World Wide Technology Raceway 
  • Double-duty driver Leah Pruett joined her Factory Stock teammate in the top half of the field by qualifying her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak seventh

Tony Schumacher No. 1 After Record-Setting Performance
 
MADISON, Ill. (October 3, 2020) – It was a waiting game all day for competitors and fans attending the NHRA Midwest Nationals, but for Tony Schumacher and the Okuma/Sandvik Coromant/Toyota Top Fuel team, the chance to make a run in prime conditions under the World Wide Technology Raceway lights was worth the wait. Schumacher put down an impressive blast of 3.680 seconds at 332.92 mph during Saturday’s lone qualifying session to reset the St. Louis Top Fuel speed record, and earn the 88th No. 1 qualifier of his long and storied career.
 
“It was a strange day altogether. We were in the car, did the burnout and backed up and then got shut off because of rain,” said Schumacher, referring to the persistent showers which initially delayed the first session, and then further delayed Q1 after two pairs of Top Fuelers made a run before Schumacher got shut off on the line due to more rain.
 
“I talked to (crew chief) Mike Green after we re-warmed the car up and we knew we’d be out first and we didn’t think the conditions would be any better. Then you go out and run a great number like that and it tends to set off the crew chiefs in the back and they start turning screws and knobs. It was a great run. I probably drove it further than I should have. It was by far not a straight run, but for Sandvik and Okuma and Toyota and our new, old team, everyone did a heck of a job.”
 
Starting from the top of the ladder, Schumacher will face No. 16 qualifier Kebin Kinsley in round one of eliminations on Sunday morning. Schumacher, a two-time St. Louis winner, and five-time finalist, will be seeking to capture his first win since rejoining the NHRA driving ranks back in July. 
 
“We’re proud to go into race day No. 1,” added Schumacher, who with 84 triumphs, is the winningest NHRA Top Fuel driver of all time. “Great job by the whole team. We have a good car. We needed to get down the track. Now we have data and we’ll be racing in similar conditions. We’re going to try and win this race.” 

Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 16 Kebin Kinsley

The Results: 
Q1: 3.680 E.T. at 332.92 MPH (Three bonus points for making the quickest pass of the session)

Bonus Points: Three 




Driver Information:

Top Fuel:
 

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools 'Tools for the Cause'/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

 
Qualified: No. 3 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 14 Justin Ashley

The Results: 
Q1: 3.720 E.T. at 326.95 MPH (One bonus point for making the third-quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: One

Quotable:
“The track conditions were definitely tricky out there. It was cold. The conditions are rough out there, but we’ve been working hard for all of the people who support us like Matco Tools, Global Electronic Technology, and Toyota, and we’re very happy with the way we’re heading. We’re making progress each and every run and to qualify in the top three is another statement. We have to keep pushing. We only got one qualifying pass and tomorrow will be tricky. We’re looking forward to improving; that’s the game plan.”

 



LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster

 
Qualified: No. 9

The Competition: No. 8 Pat Dakin

The Results: 
Q1: 4.310 E.T. at 249.07 MPH

Quotable:
“So, we won’t have lane choice in the first round, but what’s most important is that we have a lane to race in. There’s a certain amount of pressure when it comes down to one run to get in the show. The first run of any race is about getting your car setup. All systems go. We had some bellhousing issues in the burnout, which compounded some problems. We were set up to run a high 3.60 or low .70. It ended up shaking early and we had to pedal it just like the majority of cars in that round. We know what happened and how to fix it. It was a long day today with a lot of waiting around, and tomorrow is going to be a lot with Factory Stock eliminations also. That seems to be the norm for me and I’m looking forward to a high-paced, high-energy, high-intensity, high-Mopar-horsepower day.” 



Funny Car:

JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 5 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 12 Blake Alexander

The Results:
Q1: 4.750 E.T. at 185.03 MPH

Quotable:
“Wow! I have no idea what to expect for race day tomorrow. This race track was colder than anything we’ve run on in a year-and-a-half and nearly everybody missed it. You’ll have some highly-favored cars in the bottom half of the field and it makes no difference. Tomorrow the track should have a little more temperature on it and it should come back into the tuner’s wheelhouse. I have no idea what to expect, but I’m going to get up early, and I can’t wait to get out here to Gateway.”
 


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

Qualified: No. 14

The Competition: No. 3 Cruz Pedregon

The Results:
Q1: 12.851 E.T. at 71.93 MPH

Quotable:
“What a long day. To get here and know the conditions were going to be cool and then unfortunately the rain came. We got to run at night, but it was so cold. When you have 11,000 horsepower, you won’t see those conditions again. It’s the same for everybody and when my car smoked the tires I just idled down the track instead of hurting itself or crossing the centerline or doing something stupid. It’s going to be like NASCAR tomorrow where we all just show up and race. I constantly brag about adapting like (crew chief Rahn) Tobler can, the NAPA Know How he has, and changing with the conditions. It’s going to be fast. This track is great. Anyone we race tomorrow will be tough. With only three races left after this one, we have to step on it.”
 


MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 6 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 11 Bob Bode

The Results:
Q1: 5.105 E.T. at 148.15 MPH

Quotable:
“It was a long day out there. We finally got a run in late and it put us in the No. 6 spot. That’s not the run we were looking for, but it gives us some data to go off of. This is a great facility with a really good race track and this Dodge Hellcat Funny Car with Pennzoil and Mopar Express Lane here this weekend has been running strong lately. It’s race day tomorrow. This rain and cold doesn’t matter. We have to go rounds and win this thing. There are only a few races left and we have to perform.”
 


TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 8 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 9 Terry Haddock

The Results:
Q1: 7.220 E.T. at 118.97 MPH

Quotable:
“It was an interesting qualifying session. The conditions we had were tricky. We don’t run fuel (nitro) cars in these conditions often and probably for good reason. We’ll go out tomorrow and have a better track and more normal conditions. It will still be cool, but it will be a very interesting day. There will be some great runs and some pedal fests. It will be great for the fans. We’re in the top half and have lane choice and we’ll do our best.”
 

Factory Stock Showdown Series:

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

Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 16 Arthur Kohn

The Results:
Q1: 7.814 E.T. at 175.48 MPH

Quotable:
“It’s great that we qualified No. 1, but I would have loved to have gotten a second shot down the race track just to back up our other run and get more confidence for Sunday. It is what it is. Unfortunately, the weather seems to be against us this year. It looked like it would clear today, and NHRA did their best to dry the track but it kept spritzing. We’re going to have to go into race day with just one run. We’ll do the best we can and hopefully go some rounds tomorrow.”
 

 
LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

Qualified: No. 7 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 10 Lee Hartman

The Results:
Q1: 7.955 E.T. at 172.32 MPH

Quotable:
“I’m super proud of Mark Pawuk carrying the weight of our Mopar Dodge Factory Stock Showdown team lately. His car seems to be typically seven or eight or nine hundredths of-a-second quicker than El Bandito right now. What we’re focused on is trying to finish this year as strong as possible with the two DSR Drag Paks. I’m consistently running in front of Mark to make sure the car gets down the track and that’s the great product of having a team car. You can help each other. We’re trying to get down the track and when you only have one qualifier, that’s tricky. We know what the track can take and Mark’s out there paving the way. He got the pole this weekend, and we’re going to try and get a win in any class, or both of them tomorrow. We’re digging for gold.”
 

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