Dodge NHRA Finals Presented by Pennzoil
Event No. 11 of 11
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nev.
October 31 - November 1, 2020
Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 6 (3.791 E.T. at 322.04 MPH)
E1: 3.753 E.T. at 317.64 MPH defeated Chris Karamesines 4.260 E.T. at 203.00 MPH
E2: 3.810 E.T. at 321.65 MPH defeated by Justin Ashley 3.777 E.T. at 320.36 MPH
Tenacious Leah Pruett had her sights set on clinching a first Top Fuel world championship in 2020, and by racing to the semifinals at three of the first five events, a runner-up finish at the U.S. Nationals, and another semifinal finish in Gainesville, she appeared to be on-track to have a viable shot at clinching the crown. The Southern California native maintained a ‘top three’ ranking throughout seven events, and was within striking distance of the No. 1 spot until the second-to-last race of the year when rival Steve Torrence extended his point lead to a margin where Pruett was unable to catch-up. Despite learning that she was no longer in championship contention, Pruett fought hard to finish high on the leaderboard. Pruett, who joined DSR in 2016, finished in the No. 4 spot in 2018 and 2019, and by racing to the quarterfinals at the Dodge NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, Pruett locked-in a fourth-place finish for the third consecutive year.
Our fourth-place finish on the season is a direct reflection of our overall performance. It’s very respectable, of course, but it’s not the best on the track. We truly feel like we were completely in-stride and making progress as a championship contender, and once our St. Louis incident happened, we lost our consistency. It’s like we had a broken link in our system that we’re working to get back. A scuffed piston on our round-two lap put us behind and we’re trying to find the confidence we once had to get back our complete performance package and we know that’s possible. I think overall the beauty of the 2020 season for us is that we had shown glimpses of a championship-caliber performance, and we’ll be working to get it back. We made it the entire season and didn’t lose first round and next year we have to make it to at least the semis at every race.
Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 3 (7.976 E.T. at 170.00 MPH)
E1: 7.940 E.T. at 171.27 MPH defeated Kevin Skinner 8.104 E.T. at 168.03 MPH
E2: 8.056 E.T. at 168.05 MPH defeated by John Cerbone 8.064 E.T. at 169.21 MPH
Admittedly, 2020 was a tough year for Leah Pruett and her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak team. Pruett, who had clinched the Factory Stock Showdown series title in 2018, battled through a tough Factory Stock class to qualify for all six 2020 FSS events. Pruett recorded two round wins throughout the season, and is ready to come back swinging next year as she and teammate Mark Pawuk prepare to hit the track in their brand-new 2021 Dodge Challenger Drag Paks.
What a table-turn of events this weekend. We had a very competitive car all weekend at Vegas with very tight racing. Of course, if we would have raced anyone else that second round we probably would have won. When your competitor has a .004 light against you, sometimes it makes it difficult to put on your win light. It was a proper finish for El Bandito. He finished off strong and the new Drag Pak is very exciting and we’re ready to show off some new Mopar-muscle.
Source: Don Schumacher Racing