Leah Pruett, driver of the Dodge Direct Connection Top Fuel Dragster:
Leah Pruett, Driver of the Dodge Direct Connection Top Fuel Dragster:
The conclusion to our final Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway was less than ideal with the first-round exit, but there is still a lot of value in it for us for us as a unit. You can't curb the heartbreak. One of the most frustrating things for our team as a whole is that we were as prepared as we could possibly be for this event from parts and programs to driving preparation. Everything was there to execute on the mountain. Unfortunately, because of our challenges in qualifying with dropping a cylinder at the step in the third and fourth qualifying sessions, we became very limited on what we learned performance-momentum wise. This made first round even more challenging. We've been in an aggressive mindset, so we were focusing on making sure that all eight cylinders were lit and everything was working properly and that's exactly what happened. Unfortunately, our competitor Josh Hart had an insane .021 light to my .036, which were both low of the round. I knew when I hit the gas that I had a good reaction time and I thought I had him. I was surprised, as well as the fans, that the win light did not to come on our side of the track. The value is there, which means our work ethic is getting even that much stronger. Leaving the mountain tune-up wise, there is not much that we can take going into Seattle, but just like before, when our hunger from a hard loss grows, or is even peaked as it is right now, we have a positive mindset. Knowing that we have a good race car, we know we have a race car capable of winning and preparing for championship contention gives us life and excitement for the upcoming Seattle race which we are currently preparing for now. I would've loved more than anything to win again at Bandimere, with such an emotional connection, but you have to be okay with the way the chapters end in life. For us, the TSR team and Dodge, this is a chapter in our life that's just beginning and I couldn't be more proud of the progress that we had made given our challenges this weekend. I’m also proud of myself for my preparation and focus given all of the events this weekend and want to thank the fans for their continued support. We hope to see them at a travel race next year.
Pruett was named the Honorary Starter for Sunday’s final Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Pruett got her drag racing start at Bandimere Speedway in Junior Dragsters at the age of eight years old. The 2023 season marks 27 years of competition on Thunder Mountain for Pruett.
Pruett closes out her time at Bandimere Speedway 13-5 in Top Fuel heats, which gives her a 72 win percentage, the highest of any track on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series circuit.
Tony Stewart, Team Owner:
The Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection Funny Car team won the race and had a great weekend. Leah cut a .036 light, which was awesome. Unfortunately, her opponent guessed and beat her off the line, so she went out the first round. For Matt to win the last race at Bandimere Speedway, it is so special. The Funny Cars were the last pair to go down the track. It’s an epic event. It’s the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals. To be able to finish it off for our partners is a great day. I appreciate everything they do for our Funny Car and Top Fuel teams. This is the first stop on the Western Swing with us going to Seattle and Sonoma after this. You can’t win them all if you don’t win the first one. Dickie (Venables – crew chief) and the whole team are very excited. Leah and her crew are excited also. They had some challenging moments, but made big gains and learned from it. I feel like we’re in a good spot. I’m really proud of our team.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series visited to the iconic “Thunder Mountain” at Bandimere Speedway for the 43rd and final time. Bandimere Speedway is celebrating their 65th anniversary this year, with the facility first opening in 1958. The Mile-High Nationals began in 1979 as a sportsman only national event, but was elevated to full national event status in 1980. The Bandimere family has agreed to sell the current property and land, with the 2023 racing season marking the end of drag racing at the Morrison, Colorado location. TSR partner, Dodge, is celebrating a 35-year partnership with Bandimere Speedway, which is the longest-running active event or race sponsorship in all of motorsports.