February 27, 2022 , Chandler, Arizona - It was a weekend of firsts for the newly formed Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) as Matt Hagan muscled his Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car from the No. 1 qualifier position to a final round appearance at the 37th annual National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. 

A three-time winner at the Phoenix event, Hagan and his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat rocketed to the top of the timing sheets with the final qualifying pass, a 3.823-second effort at 333.41 mph to reset the category’s previous track record of 3.826 seconds and post the quickest Funny Car pass in more than four years, earning the team’s first No. 1 qualifier position and the 44th of his career.

From the top rung of the eliminations ladder, Hagan launched into Sunday with quick starts and consistent 3.850, 3.864 and 3.875-second runs to claim round wins over Terry Haddock, Alexis DeJoria and Tim Wilkerson and take TSR to its first NHRA final round appearance. 

In a rematch of last weekend’s Winternationals semifinal, Hagan matched up with No. 2 qualifier Robert Hight to battle for the Wally trophy. Hagan was quicker on the tree to give the Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat the early lead when at the 600ft mark a dropped cylinder moved them out of the groove to give the team its first runner-up finish after just two national events.

Fellow Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Cruz Pedregon staged his Snap-on Tools Funny Car for eliminations from the No. 5 spot on the ladder for his 625th national event appearance to put him third on the all-time list. After reaching a milestone 600 round wins last weekend at the Winternationals with his semi final appearance, Pedregon added another by turning on the winlights in the opening round against Jeff Diehl. In his quarterfinal match-up with Tim Wilkerson, the Cruz Pedregon Racing machine took the early lead but lost a good battle to the finish line.

In Top Fuel action, TSR pilot Leah Pruett, a two-time winner at Phoenix, kicked off the weekend by powering her Dodge//SRT dragster (sporting the Sparkling Ice +Caffeine livery) to a strong first qualifying run to put her third on the timesheets with a 3.703 second pass at 328.22 mph. Unable to improve on that first pass, the time put her ninth on the eliminations ladder and set up a first round matchup against No. 8 seed Josh Hart. 

The opening round battle saw Pruett take her 11-thousand horsepower HEMI-powered dragster for a 3.699-second pass, her quickest run of the weekend, against her opponent’s 3.705-second slower lap which unfortunately combined with his quicker start, helped him score a holeshot win. 

While disappointed with her performance in the first two national events of the season, Pruett is focused on the positive progression her new team is making and looking forward to the upcoming NHRA Gatornationals where her Dodge Power Brokers dragster will also be among the eight competitors battling in the NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout. 

The field for the specialty race is set based on a combination of the 2021 season-end points and qualifying points from the first two events of 2022, with reigning Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence already set as the top seed. The No. 1 seed will “call out” his first choice of opponent on Friday at the Gainesville, Florida, national event with the next pick going to the No. 2 seed and down the line. Pruett is seeded sixth for the first of three rounds set to take place during Saturday qualifying at the Gatornationals set to take place March 10-13. 

ADDITIONAL NOTES and QUOTES: 

Leah Pruett, Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel Dragster  
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.703 seconds at 328.22 mph) 
Round 1: (0.127-second reaction time, 3.699 seconds at 330.07 mph) loss to No. 8 Josh Hart  (0.093/3.705/332.10)
 
“We had a real good draw for the first round against Josh Hart. There is no good way to lose, but as a driver, the worst possible way to lose is on a hole shot, and that's what we had here. For me, two weekends in a row, I have mini two-stepped it, so we have a sequence of negative events that are happening for me on my side of the office. The impressive part is that this team has been able to provide us with a car that is consistent, healthy and running 3.60s. I'm most impressed with the crew members having my back, knowing that we are going to work as a team to correct what I've got going on up there. Personally, I'm in such a different head space and enjoying it. I think I'm wanting it more than I ever have. We've all put so much effort into making this operation happen and I just want to go out there and kill it. As a result I’m just a little early (two stepping it), which results in being too late on the tree. 
 
“I’m now looking forward to the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Call out (at Gainesville) and really do not give one tiny atom of an iota of whoever calls me out or if I get to call somebody out. I'm focused on going out on qualifying and getting to race somebody and fixing my problems. That's what's exciting to me. I'm focusing on getting my game. You probably won't hear from me for the next two weeks as I focus on getting ready for the Gatornationals, work on a couple of different items to get back into a performance advantage in the cockpit.”
 
Matt Hagan, Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car  
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.823 seconds at 333.41 mph)

Round 1: (0.084-second reaction time, 3.850 seconds at 332.26 mph) defeats No. 16 Terry Haddock (0.170/4.063/277.43)
Round 2: (0.064/3.864/329.91) defeats No. Alexis DeJoria (0.046/3.941/324.44)
Round 3: (0.073/3.875/332.18) defeats No. 4 Tim Wilkerson (0.094/3.857/333.16)
Round 4: (0.064/4.045/3.837) loss to No. 2 Robert Hight (0.080/3.837/330.39) 

“What a wonderful weekend here in Arizona. It’s just special here. I would have loved to have gotten the first win here for TSR with Tony (Stewart) and Leah (Pruett) and with everybody from our Radford (Racing) family here that shows us lots of love and support. What I am most proud of this weekend is my guys. They made quick turnarounds, nothing was falling off the race car, they're gelling really well and things are starting to flow. That's huge to me as that builds competence. I know (Crew Chief) Dickie Venables is capable of. I know we’re going to win a lot of races and get a lot of trophies and the big picture on our mind is that championship.

“There is still a learning curve, but one thing about Dickie, he learns fast and he's very methodical about what we do. I feel good with our lights and the way the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is running and driving. I know Robert Hight has pulled off two wins now, but it's just a matter of time before we start pulling in wins for TSR over here. They give us all the parts and pieces that we need. This Dodge Power Brokers Hellcat has been running strong, we sat on the pole and we're just piecing it together little-by-little. Really proud of everybody in this organization.

“We put a hole out on the run (dropped a cylinder) trying to run really hard. We wanted to get back to that record run again and put everything back up the same way, but when you do that, you put a lot of fuel and volume in there and sometimes it’s just too much. It just didn't go our way this weekend but we've got Gainesville coming up and I'm excited about that. I haven’t yet won the Gatornationals so I think that's one I need to put down in my record book.”

Cruz Pedregon, Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.861 seconds at 328.14 mph)

Round 1: (0.101-second reaction time, 4.310 seconds at 213.74 mph) defeats No. 12 Jeff Diehl (0.117/6.087/116.66)
Round 2: (0.063/3.905/326.71) loss to No. Tim Wilkerson (0.091/3.856/331.45)

“Overall it was a great weekend for the Snap-on Tools Dodge Hellcat. We qualified in the Top 5 and made it to the quarterfinals. We had a close loss to Wilkerson 3.85 to a 3.90. We were in the race till the end, overall great effort by the Snap-on team. I’m proud of my guys, and we’ll keep chipping away at it. The team will travel back to Indy and prepare the new chassis for our upcoming eastern debut at the Gatornationals in Gainesville.”

PEP BOYS NHRA TOP FUEL ALL-STAR CALLOUT Standings
  1.  Steve Torrence
  2.  Brittany Force
  3.  Mike Salinas
  4.  Justin Ashley
  5.  Antron Brown
  6.  Leah Pruett
  7.  Doug Kalitta
  8.  Shawn Langdon

 
DodgeGarage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans can follow all the NHRA action this season at DodgeGarage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag-racing news. The site includes daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. For more information, visit www.dodgegarage.com.
 
@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers on the track. Fans can see action from the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers, competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.

Dodge//SRT
For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge. Their influence continues today as Dodge shifts into high gear with a lineup that delivers unrivaled performance in each of the segments where they compete.

Dodge drives forward as a pure performance brand, offering SRT Hellcat versions of the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Dodge Durango, as well as an R/T plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version of the all-new 2023 Dodge Hornet, representing the brand’s first-ever electrified performance vehicle. Dodge delivers the drag-strip dominating 807-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock; the 797-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Redeye, the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world; and the 710-horsepower Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, the most powerful SUV ever; and best-in-class standard performance in the compact utility vehicle segment with the Dodge Hornet. Combined, these four muscle vehicles make Dodge the industry’s most powerful brand, offering more horsepower than any other American brand across its entire lineup.

In 2022, the Dodge brand ranked No. 1 in the J.D. Power APEAL Study (mass market), making it the only domestic brand ever to do so three years in a row. In 2020, Dodge was named the "#1 Brand in Initial Quality," making it the first domestic brand ever to rank No. 1 in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). 

Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by leading global automaker and mobility provider Stellantis. For more information regarding Stellantis (NYSE: STLA), please visit www.stellantis.com.
  
Mopar
This year marks the 85th anniversary of Mopar.

A simple combination of the words MOtor and PARts, Mopar offers exceptional service, parts and customer-care. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, Mopar has evolved over 85 years to represent both complete vehicle care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.

Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era with performance parts to enhance speed and handling for both on-road and racing use. Later, Mopar  expanded to include technical service and customer support, and today integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.

Complete information on Mopar is available at www.mopar.com and the newly redesigned Mopar blog at blog.mopar.com. For more information regarding Stellantis (NYSE: STLA), please visit www.stellantis.com.

Follow Dodge, Mopar and Stellantis news and video on:
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