Pritchett Claims No. 2 Qualifying Spot in Mopar Top Fuel Dragster at NHRA Midwest Nationals

On a gorgeous fall weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park near downtown St. Louis, Leah Pritchett led all Mopar HEMI®-powered drivers in qualifying for the sixth annual NHRA Midwest Nationals with a second-place effort in Top Fuel.

Pritchett qualified No. 2 in her Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil dragster from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) on the strength of a 3.670-second pass at 329.10 mph in the fourth and final qualifying session of the weekend late on Saturday afternoon. The weekend has featured prime weather conditions for quick times and record-setting performances, including a national elapsed-time (e.t.) record by Clay Millican in Top Fuel on Friday evening.

Pritchett’s DSR Mopar stablemate Tony Schumacher will start from third on Sunday’s elimination ladder in his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster.

The Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars from DSR are scattered throughout Sunday’s bracket, with all in the top nine.

Defending champion and current points leader Ron Capps set the pace with a pass of 3.849 seconds at 332.51 mph in his Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car on Friday evening, good enough for third place. Jack Beckman, last year’s event winner, qualified sixth in his Infinite Hero machine, while Matt Hagan qualified No. 8 in the Mopar/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T from DSR. Last year’s event runner-up, Tommy Johnson Jr., will start from the ninth spot with the Make-A-Wish team.

The event is the third in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs and serves as a pivotal stop in the six-race playoff stretch throughout the fall months.

Pritchett collected a total of five qualifying points as she looks to get back into the championship battle from the seventh position in Top Fuel, while Capps collected six points to add to his Funny Car lead. At all events, three points are awarded to the driver setting the lowest elapsed time in each qualifying session, two are given to the second quickest time and the third quickest e.t. receives one point, making them crucial to winning the year-end title.

Pritchett Takes Part in Factory Stock Showdown
This weekend at Gateway, Leah Pritchett also competed in the fifth and final Factory Stock Showdown of 2017 for modern American muscle. Pritchett was behind the wheel of a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak and qualified in the fourth position for the eight-car field on Friday with an 8.136-second pass at 168.49 mph. However, she turned on the red light in the first round on Saturday. A total of 19 cars made qualifying attempts for the prestigious event.

Mopar/Dodge Notes & Quotes
(best elapsed time in bold)

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Ashley Sanford
Friday: (3.775 seconds at 325.69 mph – Q1); (3.697/329.83 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.697/329.83 – Q3); (3.670/329.10 – Q4)
“In qualifying, you can have your own victories, and we’ve had a strong presence on the track this weekend in very good conditions. The strength we’ve showed ourselves gives us confidence that we can run in warm conditions. Our qualifying effort gives us some momentum going into Sunday.
“We want to end this season the way we started it.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 8, will face No. 9 Tommy Johnson Jr.
Friday: (3.930 seconds at 327.19 mph – Q1); (4.337/202.21 – Q2)
Saturday: (9.129/77.31 – Q3); (3.894/330.96 – Q4)
“It’s a tricky racetrack out here in St. Louis, always hot, always greasy. We have a lot of guys working hard to figure this thing out. We have a teammate tomorrow (Tommy Johnson Jr.) and you always hate running teammates because they’re probably the best cars out there. But the ladder looks like it’s lined up that if we can do well to really take some heavy hitters out and gain some points. I’m obviously excited. We ended on a nice lap there, we ran .89 this evening and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Jim Campbell
Friday: (3.852 seconds at 330.88 mph – Q1); (3.849/332.51 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.898/329.83 – Q3); (4.292/207.21 – Q4)

“I feel good. Coming off the win (last week at Reading) we gained a bunch of confidence like we had (earlier) this year. We unloaded and had two great runs on Friday. It’s been fun this weekend, because you go up there with the confidence again that you can call pretty much within a couple hundredths of what the car is going to run. And (crew chief Rahn) Tobler’s right on when he says what he wants to do. So that gives us all a lot of confidence. We take nothing for granted, nobody for granted. We’re going to go up every round and try to just do what we did all year long.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Del Worsham
Friday: (3.873 seconds at 331.77 mph – Q1); (3.877/331.12 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.107/239.10 – Q3); (10.074/69.65 – Q4)

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 9, will face No. 8 Matt Hagan
Friday: (4.314 seconds at 213.50 mph – Q1); (3.897/325.30 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.130/234.74 – Q3); (4.007/308.21 – Q4)

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Troy Buff
Friday: (3.729 seconds at 329.26 mph – Q1); (3.680/327.66 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.754/328.54 – Q3); (3.681/330.72 – Q4)

Tune-in Info          
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the elimination rounds of the sixth annual NHRA Midwest Nationals LIVE at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 1.
Mopar Motorsports PR
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