BRAINERD, Minn. (August 18, 2019) – Leah Pruett and Ron Capps earned Don Schumacher Racing an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series double-up with Top Fuel and Funny Car wins, respectively, at Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday. It was the 161st Top Fuel win, and 156th Funny Car victory for DSR, bringing the winningest team in NHRA history’s total win count to an unprecedented 341 triumphs.
For Pruett, the win Sunday was her first in 2019, and first since winning the 2018 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, snapping a 26-race win drought. She scored her eighth career victory by defeating Kyle Wurtzel, Billy Torrence, Austin Prock, and Mike Salinas.
It’s been a challenging season for Leah, and Sunday she and her MOPAR Dodge Top Fuel team were the last ones standing after starting the day from the fourth position on the eliminations ladder. After being knocked out in the first round the previous two races, the first hurdle was cleared when she defeated Wurtzel by posting a lap of 3.744 seconds at 327.43 mph. She followed that win by defeating the last two event winners in consecutive rounds, first beating Billy Torrence in the second round and then avenging two consecutive first-round losses to Austin Prock in the semifinals. By defeating Prock, she reached the final round for the 15th time in her career and officially clinched her spot in the Countdown to the Championship. In the final, Pruett left first and smoothly drove away to score her 130th career round win and second race win at Brainerd.
“It feels so good to finally get that win, not only for myself and my team but for Don Schumacher and Dodge,” said the California native, who currently occupies the seventh spot in the Top Fuel standings. “I’m proud to be the one to put on that final round Top Fuel win light. This is the perfect time to be able to gain momentum heading into the playoffs. We made four incredible runs, and that’s something that (crew chiefs) Todd Okuhara and Neal Strausbaugh have worked hard to do consistently, and now it’s coming into play at a perfect time.
“We’ve made some chassis improvements, and you have to race with that extreme mindset where instead of playing it safe and being conservative, you have to race intensely, and we’ve gotten that mindset back. I’m excited because when I hear the crew chiefs talk about what they’re putting into the car and it’s finally reacting and doing what they want it to do, that’s great communication between the race car and the team. Putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together, we could see internally that we were moving in the right direction, but now everyone could finally see it this weekend.”
In Funny Car, Ron Capps drove the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to his sixth Brainerd International Raceway victory. It was the 2016 Funny Car world champion’s third triumph of the season and 64th win overall.