Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals
Presented by Pennzoil
Event 19 of 20
Countdown Event 6 of 7
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nev.
Oct. 29 - 31, 2021
Qualified: No. 9 (3.769 E.T. at 314.61 MPH)
E1: 3.752 E.T. at 318.32 MPH defeated Antron Brown 4.967 E.T. at 155.11 MPH
E2: Foul (red light); defeated by Brittany Force 8.087 E.T. at 82.88 MPH
Flying the colors of the Direct Connection livery for the first time, Leah Pruett was looking for a long day of going rounds aboard her new-look Top Fuel dragster. By qualifying ninth for the Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil, Pruett drew teammate Antron Brown as her E1 competitor. Pruett was quick on the throttle to beat her opponent off the line and clocked her quickest pass of the weekend (3.752 seconds) to defeat Brown who was up in smoke early into the run. In round two, Pruett was prepared to go head-to-head with Brittany Force, and knowing Force was going to be armed with an uber-quick machine, Pruett was set on giving herself every advantage possible. An amped-up Pruett staged her car, but it was immediate heartbreak for the double-duty driver as she stood on the throttle early and activated the red light, allowing her competitor the automatic round win.
We had quite the Direct Connection facing Antron Brown, our teammate, this morning. We had a .044 light and I’ve been doing everything by the book that you should do as a driver from sleep schedule to eating right to preparing right to nutrition. You name it, I’ve been trying to refine it. We had a solid first round pass with that 3.75 to get the win. Before and after the first round of Top Fuel, we had Factory Stock. When you start your day at the track at 8 am it makes for a long day. We got wins in Factory Stock and Top Fuel to start the day and another round win in Factory Stock before the second round of Top Fuel. I felt in a good head space and we went up to repeat what we had just done the round before. I thought I had seen yellow and slapped the pedal and there was that bright red light right in my face. I’m sure the fans could probably hear the cuss words in the stands coming out of my mouth at the moment. It used to eat me and bog me down, but comparing it to other lights in that lane at that time of the day it shows me what I need to work on to really be at tip-top condition as a driver. It being the last Factory Stock race with DSR, I think I just expired myself mentally.
Driver of the Direct Connection Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 4 (7.963 E.T. at 173.21 MPH)
E1: 7.932 E.T. at 174.77 MPH defeated Ryan Priddy 10.179 E.T. at 92.86 MPH
E2: 7.981 E.T. at 173.94 MPH defeated Mark Pawuk 7.998 E.T. at 177.44 MPH
E3: 7.934 E.T. at 174.53 MPH defeated Stephen Bell 8.147 E.T. at 172.12 MPH
E4: 7.944 E.T. at 174.30 MPH defeated by Aaron Stanfield 7.903 E.T. at 173.49 MPH
After four years of competing in both Top Fuel and Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS), Pruett kicked off her final ‘double-duty’ race day from the No. 4 spot on the eliminations ladder with the 2021 Direct Connection Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak. Working to close-out the FSS season with a Wally, the 2018 FSS champion began her final day of competition aboard her Drag Pak with a first round win over No. 13-seed Ryan Priddy.
In the quarterfinals against No. 5 seed Mark Pawuk, Pruett had a quick start and recorded a 7.981-second run at 173.94 mph to beat her teammate’s 7.998 second pass. That set up a semifinal battle against No. 8 qualifier Stephen Bell in which Pruett laid down another stout effort at 7.934 seconds straight down the groove to turn on win lights and advance to her third final round appearance in eight FSS events this year.
Pruett readied herself for the final showdown against the No. 2 qualifier and 2021 FSS Champion Aaron Stanfield in the opposite lane and used another quick launch (0.036 seconds to 0.045 seconds) to give the Direct Connection Drag Pak an early lead. Despite a solid performance at 7.944 seconds at 174.30 mph, her hard-charging opponent made the pass at half-track and edged her at the finish to close out the 2021 FSS season.
We got a win in Factory Stock to start our day, and then we had our teammate, Mark Pawuk in round two. We really threw it down from burnout to turnout and was able to advance to the final. Man, nothing would have been sweeter than winning in my last race in this Drag Pak with Direct Connection on the sides for Dodge and SRT, but we came up a little short against the current champion, Aaron Stanfield. Overall, what a roller coaster of a day. I’m disappointed in myself for the second round performance against Brittany Force in Top Fuel, but I’m not disappointed by the progress this Drag Pak team has made this year and we’re ready for the Top Fuel final at Pomona in two weeks.
Source: Don Schumacher Racing