Tony Stewart Racing Reading Event Recap for the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals

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Leah Pruett, driver of the Mobil 1 Top Fuel Dragster:

  • Earned No. 13 provisional qualifying position in Q1 on Friday (6.503 ET at 105.18 mph)
  • Earned No. 9 provisional qualifying position in Q2 on Friday (3.743 ET at 327.90 mph)
  • Fell to No. 10 provisional qualifying position based off of Friday’s Q2 run. In Q3 on Saturday, Pruett ran a 5.863 ET at 116.97 mph.
  • Secured No. 10 qualifying position based off of Friday’s Q2 run. In Q4 on Saturday, Pruett ran a 3.750 ET at 328.14 mph.
  • Advanced to Semifinals on Sunday:
  • Round 1: 4.362 ET at 254.66 mph, defeated Clay Millican (5.910 ET at 103.63 mph)
  • Round 2: 3.744 ET at 324.20 mph, defeated Brittany Force (3.768 ET at 317.05 mph)
  • Semifinals: 3.677 ET at 333.33 mph, lost to Doug Kalitta (3.684 ET at 332.84 mph)
  • Currently fourth in the Top Fuel championship standings, 54 points behind leader Steve Torrence

Matt Hagan, driver of the Rinnai Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car:

  • Earned No. 12 provisional qualifying position in Q1 on Friday (5.934 ET at 116.73 mph)
  • Earned No. 9 provisional qualifying position in Q2 on Friday (3.916 ET at 328.78 mph)
  • Earned No. 5 provisional qualifying position in Q3 on Saturday (3.898 ET at 335.23 mph)
  • Scored two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session
  • Secured No. 5 qualifying position in Q4 on Saturday (3.891 ET at 333.49 mph)
  • Advanced to Round 2 on Sunday:
  • Round 1: 3.871 ET at 336.15 mph, defeated J.R. Todd (3.930 ET at 332.75 mph)
  • Round 2: 3.859 ET at 335.48 mph, lost to Robert Hight (3.852 ET at 327.66 mph)
  • Currently fourth in the Funny Car championship standings, 51 points behind leader Robert Hight

  • The Pep Boys NHRA Nationals served as the first race in the Countdown to the Championship, with five events remaining.  
  • With Hagan’s Round 1 win, he is now just one round win shy of 500.
  • Pruett’s Semifinal appearance matched her best performance at Maple Grove Raceway. She previously reached the Semifinals in 2016 before losing to Brittany Force.

Leah Pruett;

“This Reading race gave us great racing conditions. Crew chiefs Neal Strausbaugh and Mike Domagala capitalized on every run we made to narrow-in on balancing our car’s power and clutch application threshold. It can be disheartening for most when computer programs falter like they did in Q1, mechanical failures happen resulting in the mags being 10 degrees off, or a good supercharger locks-up and gets sidelined. But the headstrongness of this Mobil 1 team pushed through. We definitely have a good streak of luck on our side, as those issues could have led to detrimental results, but didn’t. We’ve stayed dedicated to pushing through and man did it show in eliminations on Sunday. In our first-round win against Clay (Millican), it was a pedal-fest post tire shake, so the win was a welcomed break. In Q2, we ran a 3.74 with a plug shot out, but still grabbed the win. Our hot rod came to life in the semifinals running a stout 3.67. We made so much progress tune-up wise and the strategy of getting to that tune finally gave us what we were looking for. Even though we didn’t advance to the final round, that semifinal round validated what we need and will be implementing the rest of this Countdown. I haven’t been this excited for my team’s momentum in a minute. Not because we got some lucky breaks, but because I know what we have is the most significant amount of progress we’ve ever made, and I can’t wait for it to show again soon in Charlotte.”

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Matt Hagan;

“With it being the start of the Countdown this weekend, we would have liked to have gone more rounds. It is extremely tough to lose in the first round, but losing in the second round is also tough. At least we went a couple of rounds and we made a lot of strides in the horsepower department. Dickie (Venables – crew chief) is doing a great job making some changes and our miles per hour were up like crazy. We ran a 336 and a 335, which shows how much horsepower we have and that we are really making some beans out there. All in all, I think it was a productive weekend. We were just on the backside of a good drag race. To lose by .0001 is just splitting frog hairs out there. We just weren’t on the right side of it. I enjoy running Robert (Hight) and that team always makes us bring out our best on the starting line and on the race track. You want Robert, you want J.R. (Todd), and you want (Ron) Capps. You want all of the guys that are heavy-hitters out here. At the end of the day, I am proud of my guys and they did a phenomenal job on the race car. We had a good weekend with Rinnai on the car and I’m glad their group was able to come out to the track and experience things firsthand. We aren’t leaving here the way we wanted to, but we just have to keep digging and working hard to get where we need to be.”


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