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DSR Topeka Pre-Race Report

Menards NHRA Nationals 
Presented by PetArmor
Event No. 11 of 20
Heartland Motorsports Park
Topeka, Kan.
Aug. 13 - 15, 2021

Noteworthy:

  • Leah Pruett and Funny Car point leader Ron Capps return to Topeka as the most recent winners on the NHRA tour (Pomona 1)
  • Capps owns the class-best qualifying average and secured back-to-back No. 1 qualifiers at the two most recent races; Capps has advanced to the semifinals or beyond at the previous four events
  • No. 4 ranked Pruett raced to consecutive final round appearances at the past two events, finishing as the runner-up in Sonoma before powering to victory in Pomona
  • For the fifth time this season, Pruett will reprise her ‘double duty’ role, swapping seats between her Cookie and Candy Pop Top Fuel dragster and Mopar Drag Pak FSS entry. She was a finalist at the most recent FSS event in Denver
  • David Davies joins DSR’s championship-winning Mopar Drag Pak team. He will make his DSR debut in the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown Series alongside Pruett and fellow Ohio native Mark Pawuk
DSR-Owned Track Records:
Funny Car, E.T.: 3.802 seconds, Matt Hagan (2017)
Funny Car, speed: 338.85 mph, Matt Hagan (2017)
DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

 
ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Topeka Event Highlights: 
  • 2017 event champion  
  • 2016 event runner-up  
  • Four-time No. 1 qualifier (2009, 2010, 2012, 2015) 
2020 Topeka Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Topeka Recap:
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Scott Palmer in E1, Doug Kalitta in E2; defeated by Steve Torrence in E3)

Last Event (Pomona 1):
Qualified 11th; Semifinal finish (defeated Steve Torrence in E1, Shawn Langdon in E2; defeated by Justin Ashley in E3)

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

Noteworthy:
  • Brown enters Topeka ranked No. 2 in the Top Fuel standings, and has advanced to the semifinals or beyond seven times through the first 10 events of 2021
Quotable:
“I’ve always loved going to Topeka, it’s such a special place to me especially because I’ve always considered the late Gary Ormsby to be one of the greats, so I always get pumped up turning onto Gary Ormsby Drive heading into the track. Heartland Motorsports Park is a great facility and the conditions are usually good, but this weekend it could be hot and slimy, or it could be decent out there, so we’ll see. We’re excited to get out there and do what we do. Topeka has been good to us in qualifying and we’ve won there before, but it would feel really good to get a win out there this weekend.”
 
LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Cookie and Candy Pop Top Fuel Dragster

2020 Topeka Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Topeka Recap:
Qualified 10th; First round exit (defeated by Doug Kalitta in E1)

Last Event (Pomona 1):
Qualified second; Event champion (defeated Steve Chrisman in E1, BYE in E2, Mike Salinas in E3, Justin Ashley in E4)

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

Noteworthy:
  • Returns to Topeka as the most recent Top Fuel winner on the NHRA tour (Pomona 1) 
  • No. 4 ranked Pruett raced to consecutive final round appearances at the past two events, finishing as the runner-up in Sonoma before powering to victory in Pomona
  • For the fifth time this season, Pruett will reprise her ‘double duty’ role, swapping seats between her Cookie and Candy Pop Top Fuel dragster and Mopar Drag Pak FSS entry
Quotable:
“We have got the right mix to put on a spectacular show in Topeka. These past couple of races we have combined winning ingredients and have popped up on the performance scene, and we intend to keep that momentum moving forward. There’s truly no better time to debut with a new partner like Cookie and Candy Pop after the weekend we had in Pomona. 
 
“Overall, between both Top Fuel and Factory Stock, we’ve been to three final rounds in three events in two separate classes. That infused with turnaround triumphs of their own regard have made my projection towards Topeka brighter than ever before.”
 
Funny Car:

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


Topeka Event Highlights: 
  • Four-time event champion (1998, 2006, 2009, 2017)  
  • Two-time runner-up (2000, 2012) 
2020 Topeka Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Topeka Recap:
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jim Campbell in E1; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2)

Last Event (Pomona 1):
Qualified No. 1; Event champion (defeated Bobby Bode in E1, Bob Tasca in E2, John Force in E3, J.R. Todd in E4)

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

Noteworthy:
  • Funny Car point leader Ron Capps returns to Topeka as the most recent winner on the NHRA tour (Pomona 1)
  • Capps owns the class-best qualifying average and secured back-to-back No. 1 qualifiers at the two most recent races, and has advanced to the semifinals or beyond at the previous four events
Quotable:
“This part of the year is so crucial, especially when preparing to embark on the upcoming championship hunt. The tracks we’ll visit coming up will present their own set of tricky conditions. Heat and humidity at times, and then adapting to cool conditions during qualifying when you can, and then race day conditions when you have to get down the track. Heartland Motorsports Park is a great facility, and a lot of records have been set there over the years. The best part of it is, we’re back visiting these tracks that we didn’t get to go to last year due to the pandemic. We always have a great fan turnout at Topeka. It’s been a great track for me personally in my career with quite a few wins there.

"Our NAPA AUTO PARTS team is coming off of a big win at Pomona, and we’ve jumped up into the Camping World Series point lead. I’m super excited for ‘Guido’ (Dean Antonelli), John Medlen and our NAPA AutoCare team. We’re going to keep our foot on the throttle, and keep gaining points right into the Countdown, and Topeka is a great place to go back-to-back.”


MATT HAGAN
Driver of the DSR Performance Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

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

2019 Topeka Recap:
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by Jack Beckman in E1) 

Last Event (Pomona 1):
Qualified fifth; First round exit (defeated by John Force in E1)

Career Statistics:
285 races; 37 wins; 42 No. 1 qualifiers 

Noteworthy:
  • Reigning Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan owns both ends of the Heartland Motorsports Park Funny Car track record
  • For the third time this season, Hagan will campaign the DSR Performance Dodge Funny Car
    • DSR Performance is the retail arm of Don Schumacher Racing, offering performance race parts and lifestyle gear
    • DSR Performance features both new and used parts for racing and street vehicles with the objective of providing premium, championship-winning design and performance direct-to-consumers via www.DSR.parts. In addition to a catalog that features products for both nitro and sportsman racers, DSR Performance also boasts service-based offerings, including parts and tuning consultations with DSR’s brain trust of crew chiefs.
Quotable:
“Topeka has been really kind to me. I’ve won there, and set a few world records there. The conditions will be quite different going there this year in the heat of the summer, but that area is known for having a storm or two roll through and cooling everything down so you just never know, we could still lay down some big numbers this weekend. The facility is great, the track surface is great, the fans are great, and I’m looking forward to putting this DSR Performance Dodge in the winner’s circle. I’m surprised we haven’t racked up more wins yet, actually. It’s humbling but that’s drag racing and you just never know. Usually by this point in the season we’ve won a handful of races, so we’ve got some catching up to do. All I know is that I feel really good about everything moving forward, and we’re going to get after it this weekend.” 


Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown Series:
 

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


FSS Career Statistics:
One race (Norwalk 2021)

Noteworthy:
  • David Davies will make his DSR debut this weekend in Topeka; Davies has previously competed in one Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown Series event, having made his FSS debut in Norwalk earlier this summer
Quotable:
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind over the last few weeks but I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the DSR team. I’m looking forward to this weekend as we bring the D H Davies Racing Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak into Topeka for the Heartland Nationals.
 
“I’ve been a ‘Mopar guy’ for years. I ran a Dodge SRT Demon all over the country competing in various series, and when Dodge announced the new 2021 Mopar Drag Pak at the 2019 SEMA show, I knew at that moment that the next logical step was to move into a drag pak and compete in the NHRA’s Factory Stock Showdown Series.” 


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

2020 Topeka Recap:
N/A (Canceled due to COVID-19)

Last Event (Denver):
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Joseph Welch in E1; defeated by Aaron Stanfield in E2)

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

Quotable:
“We’re coming off of a good showing at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High Nationals in Denver, and I’m very much looking forward to competing in Topeka this weekend. We’ve been working on the car and we’ve made good progress. We actually tested in Norwalk a few weeks ago and were able to gather even more information there. We’re going to have a fresh setup in our car at Topeka. It’s going to be hot, and we’ll tune to the conditions. This will be the last race for my 2015 Mopar Drag Pak, and I’m looking forward to moving into the 2021 car very soon. We’ll be testing and racing the NMCA event at my hometown track in Norwalk, Ohio the week before Indy. Would love to come off of that race on a high note heading into the U.S. Nationals. I’m looking forward to seeing all of the fans in Topeka, and I’m especially excited because our program is headed in the right direction.”


LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak

2020 Topeka Recap:
N/A (Canceled due to COVID-19)

Last Event (Denver):
Qualified fourth; Event runner-up (defeated Waldemar Rodriguez in E1, John Cerbone in E2, Aaron Stanfield in E3; defeated by Stephen Bell in E4)

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

Noteworthy:
  • For the fifth time this season, Pruett will reprise her ‘double duty’ role, swapping seats between her Cookie and Candy Pop Top Fuel dragster and Mopar Drag Pak FSS entry.
  • Pruett was a finalist at the most recent FSS event in Denver 
Quotable:
“The combination of crew chiefs A.J. Berge and Kevin Helms has quickly proven its potential. Starting from the mountain in Denver where success was had all the way to a close final round, the team has been working hard at dialing-in a Topeka tune-up to keep the momentum moving forward. The class is tight, and we’re happy to be back in the mix, but our Dodge team is hungry for a win.”

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