NHRA Brainerd Nationals
Event 12 of 20
Brainerd International Raceway
Aug. 20 - 22, 2021
Qualified: No. 8 (3.789 E.T. at 319.90 MPH)
E1: 4.472 E.T. at 179.64 MPH defeated by Justin Ashley 3.765 E.T. at 326.32 MPH
Leah Pruett clinched a berth into the NHRA’s 2021 Countdown to the Championship by qualifying for the Brainerd Nationals, and she made it official when she signed her name to the NHRA’s Countdown Clinched list following E1 on Sunday morning, ensuring she will finish ranked in the Top 10 for the sixth consecutive year.
Starting race day from the eighth seed, Pruett found herself in a Pomona 1 final round rematch versus Justin Ashley in the opening session on Sunday morning. Unfortunately for Pruett, who entered the race weekend as the defending Top Fuel event champion (2019), her hopes of going back-to-back in Brained were up in smoke almost immediately when her machine lost traction early into the run and Ashley was able to avenge his Pomona loss by driving away with the win. Pruett departs Brainerd International Raceway ranked fourth (tied).
I’m not sure if there’s an amusement park here at Brainerd, but we sure feel like we’re on a roller coaster with this season of highs and lows. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the number of runs for the team to stay on track is crucial. So, when we lost our third qualifying session lap to a mechanical malfunction, we were robbed of an opportunity to learn this tune-up and get better. What we had for Q3 is pretty much what we had for E1, and that’s a high sixty run and we were just outside of that window. The goal was to turn on win lights. We will not test before the Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals in Indy, but we are real close to breaking through again and we have the confidence to do it. We appreciate the great fan support this weekend at Brainerd for our Mopar Dodge//SRT team and now we focus on Indy and the Countdown.
Source: Don Schumacher Racing