Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Presented by Pennzoil
Event No. 8 of 20
July 16-18, 2021
Driver of the Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 11 (4.056 E.T. at 249.49 MPH)
E1: 3.824 E.T. at 316.45 MPH defeated Doug Kalitta 7.384 E.T. at 108.12 MPH
E2: No Time; Oil leak after the burnout
Leah Pruett started race day in the No. 11 seed facing heavy-hitter and fellow championship contender Doug Kalitta in round one. Pruett took advantage of Kalitta’s difficulties gaining traction off the start and, after wrangling her dragster slightly mid-track, crossed the finish line with a 3.824-second pass at 316.45 mph to advance. Armed with lane choice, Pruett lined up next to Joey Haas in E2, and was ready to continue her quest for a second Denver Top Fuel trophy, but an oil leak while backing up from her burnout caused her to be shut off on the line before having an opportunity to stage the car.
What a complex day of emotions, to say the least. Usually I like to reflect on my day thinking of Top Fuel and Factory Stock separately, but this weekend, it all runs together. I was going back-and-forth between the pits all weekend, up the stairs, down the stairs, warming up, just shifting gears all weekend long.
Winning first round of Top Fuel was great, and was what this team needed. We put down a really solid .82 run and we would’ve even had top speed if we had made it all the way down to the finish line. Our Dodge//SRT Top Fuel dragster was exactly on the path that we wanted. Unfortunately, second round, we had a valve cover leak and it spilled some of that good Pennzoil on the track during the burnout. Just very unfortunate, and not how we wanted to show out at our sponsor’s event. We could easily be discouraged, but we’ve done our due diligence and we’ll keep our heads up, and keep dotting our I’s and crossing our T’s. We are resilient and we will get out of this hole, and that starts in Sonoma.
Coming off of that Top Fuel disappointment, man, what a triumphant feeling to make it to the finals in Factory Stock. It’s been a small while since we visited the final round, and being competitive with the other manufacturers in our class, and the consistency that we had in eliminations today was so impressive. Testing last week was very important. We’ll continue to pick away at our sea-level tune-up, but to me, the most impressive thing is getting this new Drag Pak dialed-in and working very well. The car is responding, and it’s consistent. I haven’t been this excited about our program since we were so dominant in 2018. I had a ton of fun driving this Drag Pak this weekend. To go from such a disappointing second round exit in Top Fuel, to finding that inner strength, to wanting to chop the tree down, and the only thing I wanted to do was put on a win light, and I was able to do that with Factory Stock, it was a roller coaster of emotions. I’m very blessed to be able to run in both categories and compete with two different teams. The power is in the numbers so, we’re going to keep putting in the hours and chasing those win lights, and they will come.
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Source: Don Schumacher Racing