Pep Boys NHRA Nationals

Pep Boys NHRA Nationals

September 16, 2022

Pep Boys NHRA Nationals
Maple Grove Raceway
Reading, Pennsylvania
September 16 - 18, 2022

Notes of Interest:

 ●  The Pep Boys NHRA Nationals Sept. 16-18 at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania, is the 17th race on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series’ 22-race schedule. However, it’s the opening round in the six-race Countdown to the Championship, where both Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) drivers – Leah Pruett in Top Fuel and Matt Hagan in Funny Car – are ready to make a title run in their respective divisions. The top-10 drivers in each of the NHRA’s four professional categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – compete in the Countdown.

●  This year’s Countdown marks Pruett’s sixth appearance in the NHRA postseason and Hagan’s 11th. Pruett is seventh heading into the Countdown, 140 points behind leader Brittany Force.

●  Pruett has a winning career record (9-6) against No. 1 seed Force, but she has lost to the 2017 series champion both times they have met at Maple Grove – in 2016 when Pruett was the No. 1 qualifier and in 2021. Pruett’s overall record in Countdown events is 40-40. She is seeking her first Countdown event win.

●  Pruett comes into Reading representing the Rayce Rudeen Foundation on her blue-and-yellow Top Fuel dragster.

●  The Rayce Rudeen Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with organizations and programs to encourage a healthy and productive life that is free of addiction. The designated 501(c)(3) is named in honor of Rayce Rudeen, who at age 26 passed away from an accidental Fentanyl overdose. Since its inception, the Rayce Rudeen Foundation has advocated for creating a supportive community in which everyone can access prevention, treatment, recovery and family-support services, all free from stigma. By collaborating with local universities, researchers, organizations, businesses and community coalitions, the Rayce Rudeen Foundation is leading communities toward a united and compassionate response to addiction by identifying gaps in care and building educational tools. 

●  The Pep Boys NHRA Nationals will serve as Pruett’s 188th career Top Fuel start and her ninth at Maple Grove. 

●  Pruett is seeking her first victory in the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals. However, she does have No. 1 qualifier at the event, earned on Oct. 1, 2016 with a run of 3.705 seconds. Pruett has 10 career Top Fuel wins.

●  Pruett made her only Funny Car start at Maple Grove in 2011 when she qualified No. 16 before losing to Johnny Gray in Round 1.

Leah Pruett, driver of the Rayce Rudeen Foundation Top Fuel Dragster:

In TSR’s inaugural season, both you and your teammate are in the Countdown to the Championship. Talk about that.

Qualifying for the countdown was in our expectation wheelhouse. I’m very proud of my men for consistently executing their talents and work ethic to the level we believed true from the beginning. I’m even more proud of the attitudes they carry and enthusiasm to apply the best full-court press plays we have.

You and your crew tested prior to Reading. How will that additional track time help in advance of the Countdown?

Our test session is extremely performance-point focused. What we have in mind can fundamentally improve our acceleration package. We should know in a short number of runs if it’s a package we want to be dedicated to. However, we do not want to take the risk in Reading qualifying without having important data, especially since there are only three qualifying runs.

You first ran the Rayce Rudeen Foundation Top Fuel dragster at the Sonoma Nationals, where you earned No. 1 qualifier and advanced to Round 2. Describe the importance of running their scheme again, knowing all the foundation is accomplishing.

The honor I have to carry the Rayce Rudeen Foundation colors and spread their message is incredible. I feel like we made a great impact on the West Coast and helped many families and individuals struggling with addiction. I’m looking forward to making a difference on the East Coast, as well as advance in the Countdown.”

Contact: Ashley Wilson, (303) 594-8147,