DSR St. Louis Saturday Qualifying Report

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

DSR Qualifying Highlights:

  • Three-time and defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan rocketed to the pole position on Saturday night to earn his third No. 1 qualifier award of the year, and 43rd overall
  • Hagan recorded the best E.T. of both Q2 and Q3 in addition to Friday night’s second-seeded Q1 effort, which allowed him to capture eight out of nine available bonus points during the weekend
  • Hagan will start race day with a Bye run as he pursues his first World Wide Technology Raceway triumph
  • Funny Car point leader Ron Capps will start Sunday’s elimination rounds from the No. 2 position after clocking the second-quickest pass of Q3, besting his top-seeded Q1 E.T. Capps’ impressive performance earned him five qualifying bonus points overall
  • Double-duty driver Leah Pruett will start Sunday from the No. 4 position on the Top Fuel ladder after recording the third-quickest E.T. of Q3
  • The trio of DSR Dodge Drag Paks earned qualifying positions in the top half of the Factory Stock Showdown field with Mark Pawuk leading the pack in second after resetting his career-best E.T. and speed on Saturday, in addition to resetting the St. Louis FSS track speed record (previously held by Pawuk) 

Hagan and Capps Dominate Funny Car Qualifying at NHRA Midwest Nationals

The defending champ and current point leader are qualified No. 1 and 2 heading into race day

MADISON, Ill. (September 25, 2021) – Three-time and defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan will begin his campaign for a first NHRA Midwest Nationals trophy from the pole position on Sunday morning at World Wide Technology Raceway in suburban St. Louis. It is Hagan’s third No. 1 qualifier award of the season, and 43rd overall.
Hagan earned the No. 1 spot by driving the New Holland Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye to a stout 3.868 E.T. at 333.25 mph during the third qualifying session to move from the No. 2 qualifying position up to the top of the ladder, surpassing teammate Ron Capps who had previously held the provisional pole through the first two sessions.
Saturday’s final qualifying session was reminiscent of Funny Car Q1 with Hagan and Capps closing out the round by lining up in the final pairing. Just like on Friday night, Hagan and Capps unloaded with monster runs, rocketing to the two best passes of the session, and putting on a spectacular show for the fans by clocking side-by-side 333-mph runs with Capps posting a 3.876 E.T.
“I’m humbled and blessed to be here driving this amazing New Holland Dodge. Capps and those boys across the way with ‘Guido’ (Dean Antonelli) and John Medlen are throwing down, and so are our guys with Dickie Venables. He and Mike Knudsen and Alex Conaway and this entire New Holland/Mopar team just have this car on a string,” said Hagan, speaking of his team’s stellar performance which includes two wins in the last four races, with Hagan racing to victory in Brainerd, Minn. and stand-in driver Tommy Johnson Jr. winning in Reading, Penn. when Hagan was sidelined due to COVID-19.
“Our confidence as a team is so high,” added Hagan. “It makes me feel confident seeing what Dickie is doing and that builds my confidence as a driver. We have a car that can win this championship, without a doubt in my mind. I’ve been fortunate to win three of them and I know what it’s like to be there and when things start clicking and coming together and this team is doing that. It’s pretty darn exciting to be a part of.”
Hagan entered the race weekend ranked second in the Countdown to the Championship standings and trailing No. 1 ranked Capps by a scant five points. After posting the quickest pass of both Saturday sessions, and the second-quickest pass on Friday night, Hagan collected eight out of nine available bonus points, helping to narrow the margin between him and his teammate, who amassed five bonus points during qualifying. While Capps holds a one-point lead on Hagan heading into round one of eliminations on Sunday, Hagan knows he is virtually guaranteed to be awarded the 20 round-win points during E1 since his pole position set him up with a first-round Bye. Regardless, he knows that if he wants to continue to be a top title contender, he will have to be able to continue to go toe-to-toe with Capps who is seeking his second series title.
“Don Schumacher has put together a great team with Dickie and my group, and Ron and Guido over there. It’s absolutely throw-down each time we run each other, whether in qualifying or on race day. That NAPA team is going to be tough to go through to win a championship. Teammates are even tougher because we’re working with the same resources and data and parts and pieces. You don’t want for anything at DSR. To see (the NAPA team) run as good as they are, we know we have to face them at some point. I’ve seen Dickie coming into qualifying and race day, and we’ve been low E.T. of most rounds, and that gives me a lot of confidence in what the car can do and what we can do on the race track. I know Dickie can throw down when he needs to and hopefully I can do my job as a driver and give us a few hundredths (of-a-second) at the tree.”

Qualified: No. 1 

The Competition: BYE

The Results:
Q1: 3.889 E.T. at 332.75 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.911 E.T. at 329.10 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.868 E.T. at 333.25 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Eight 

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

Driver of the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 11

The Competition: No. 6 Spencer Massey

The Results: 
Q1: 3.765 E.T. at 323.97 MPH
Q2: 3.770 E.T. at 325.30 MPH
Q3: 3.778 E.T. at 324.67 MPH

“We’re looking forward to a good race day tomorrow. I have all the confidence in this Matco Tools team here at DSR with Toyota and all of our great partners. We have to keep our heads down here at World Wide Technology Raceway. This is maybe the toughest Top Fuel field we’ve seen all year. All the match-ups are monster match-ups. We’d like to get some redemption from last weekend racing Spencer Massey again. It’s like the old days of a Matco/FRAM slugfest from like a decade ago. It’s fun and we’ll give it all we got.” 

Driver of the Okuma Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 4 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 13 Clay Millican

The Results: 
Q1: 6.680 E.T. at 104.23 MPH
Q2: 3.768 E.T. at 319.90 MPH
Q3: 3.714 E.T. at 326.00 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: One

“This is when the Countdown gets spicy. Coming into this race fifth in points and Clay Millican is always a massive contender. That’s a high-horsepower car that can get you anytime, but one thing I know for sure is that we are ready for race day. Our 3.71 was extremely strong. We worked on that from our Q2 run on Saturday afternoon. We did end up swapping cars after our first qualifier because it was just not acting right and we erred on the side of safety and that’s one of the things I love best about DSR and this team. We had our backup car ready to rip, and hats off to the team for getting the car out of the trailer, onto the track and into the No. 4 position. I’m very much looking forward to race day and this Okuma hot rod is still powered by Dodge//SRT with parts made in Okuma machines and I’m proud of this team and ready for race day.”


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

Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 15 Chris King

The Results:
Q1: 3.888 E.T. at 332.59 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.044 E.T. at 317.94 MPH
Q3: 3.876 E.T. at 333.82 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Five

“We’re so entrenched in this Countdown, and with so many great cars that can win at any time, you can’t take a minute to enjoy any of the accolades like points leads or past success here at St. Louis. I hope it’s another late Sunday and we’re in the winner’s circle again and we can look at how many points we gained in qualifying and on race day when we tally them all up. And we need to continue doing that to stay ahead of the competition. Our other DSR Dodge over there, with Matt Hagan, that’s just props to our DSR chassis shop, the fabricators, all the machine shop people back at DSR in Brownsburg (Ind.) and on the DSM side. To have two cars to go out and run No. 1 and 2 on Friday night, and do it again almost a day later and stay one-and-two is great for DSR and a testament to what Don Schumacher has built.”

Factory Stock Showdown:
Driver of the D H Davies Racing Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak

Qualified: No. 7 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 10 Joseph Welch

The Results:
Q1: 7.928 E.T. at 176.51 MPH
Q2: 8.311 E.T. at 171.31 MPH
Q3: 7.829 E.T. at 177.79 MPH

“It’s been all kinds of fun this weekend here at St. Louis and if it’s not fun, then why do it? Every time we take these Dodge Drag Paks out, whether it’s for testing or to an NHRA race, the team gets better, the cars get better and we’re moving in the right direction. A 7.82 and we qualified two-five-seven for the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown Series’ St. Louis event, and we should have good weather tomorrow. We’re ready to take these DSR Dodges into the finals on Sunday.”

Driver of the Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak

Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 15 Lee Hartman

The Results:
Q1: 7.911 E.T. at 178.05 MPH
Q2: 7.793 E.T. at 179.28 MPH
Q3: 7.772 E.T. at 179.14 MPH


Driver of the Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak

Qualified: No. 5 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 12 John Cerbone

The Results:
Q1: 7.842 E.T. at 178.97 MPH
Q2: 7.839 E.T. at 173.99 MPH
Q3: 7.821 E.T. at 174.64 MPH

“We have a Factory Stock Showdown Dodge Drag Pak bracket car. This new 2021 Dodge Drag Pak has been very impressive this weekend at St. Louis. All three of our cars have slightly different setups, tune-ups and gears, and for us, between A.J. Berge and Kevin Helms, to work together and put together some really great runs, it’s really incredible. It’s going to be a very strong Sunday. We have two runner-ups this year and a Factory Stock win is clearly on the horizon.”

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