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DSR Qualifying Report: Bristol NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
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DSR Qualifying Report: Bristol NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals


DSR 18NHRA Bristol Qualifying Report

NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
Event 18 of 20
Countdown Event 5 of 7
Bristol Dragway
Bristol, Tenn.
Oct. 15 – 17, 2021

DSR Qualifying Highlights:

  • No. 2 ranked Countdown contender Ron Capps led DSR in qualifying at the Thunder Valley Nationals by clocking the second-quickest Funny Car pass on Saturday to earn two bonus points and the No. 2 spot on the eliminations ladder
  • As last week’s event winner, Capps is aiming to go back-to-back with consecutive wins on Sunday and pick up his third Funny Car victory of the season while adding to his Bristol win count, which stands at a category-best five Bristol Dragway triumphs
  • Current point leader and defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan qualified right behind his teammate in third by recording the best run of Q2 and third-quickest run of Q3 to add four bonus points to his total
  • Hagan reset the Bristol Funny Car speed record by posting the first 330-mph Funny Car pass in the facility’s history during Q2
  • By driving her Top Fuel dragster to the second-quickest run of Q2, Leah Pruett earned two bonus points and secured a spot in the ‘quick half’ of the Top Fuel field to start race day from sixth

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

Driver of the Matco Tools ‘Tools for a Cause’ Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 13

The Competition: No. 2 Mike Salinas

The Results:
Q1: 7.275 E.T. at 86.08 MPH
Q2: 7.076 E.T. at 91.93 MPH
Q3: 4.572 E.T. at 172.45 MPH

Antron Brown nhra

Antron Brown

“It was a rough qualifying outing here in Bristol. We’ve been bit by some gremlins and we’re working on getting them sorted out, and getting ready for race day. We’ll go in and give it everything we’ve got tomorrow.”

Driver of the Sparkling Ice Spiked Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 6 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 9 Spencer Massey

The Results:
Q1: 3.752 E.T. at 321.42 MPH
Q2: 3.691 E.T. at 327.11 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q3: 6.898 E.T. at 90.54 MPH

Bonus Points: Two

Leah Pruett nhra

Leah Pruett

“It felt great to make a solid run in Q1 with our 75 placing us in the back of the pack of the run order, and hitting it off for Q2 with that 3.69. Man, every portion of that run felt incredibly great and gave us something to work off of for the final hit. We swung for it in Q3, and it was just a little much, and we weren’t able to improve on our 3.69. Race day is going to be astronomically fast. It’s actually going to be so tight and so fast in some of the most unique conditions we’ve seen all year. We’ve been talking about racing at Bristol in October, and we knew it was going to be quick and fast, and here we are and we’re ready for it. We’re ready to take on Spencer Massey first round. He’s never to be taken lightly. That car can rip down the track, and it’s going to be an exciting first round match-up. We’ll get our Goodyears nice and hot and sticky, and put that traction to the ground, and get that right foot ready on time. We’re looking forward to making some ground in the Countdown, and really shattering everyone’s expectations, but living up to our own in the Sparkling Ice Spiked car.”

Funny Car:

Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 13 Blake Alexander

The Results:
Q1: 5.752 E.T. at 122.36 MPH
Q2: 6.329 E.T. at 113.01 MPH
Q3: 3.945 E.T. at 325.61 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Two

Ron Capps nhra

Ron Capps

“It’s been tricky this weekend at Bristol. That first session today was tough and nobody got down that tricky left lane. We knew we’d have the right lane for the late Q3 run and it’s been the better lane. The Safety Safari has done a heck of a job working on this track and making both lanes equal. It can be treacherous out there with the bumps. The car pushed me around after that second bump and I didn’t think it ran that great, so when they came on the radio and said 3.94, I was ecstatic. I expected many of the cars behind us to go quicker, but it held for No. 2. The best thing about today is that with the rain, our sessions got pushed back and it cooled off. It should be even cooler tomorrow and today’s conditions gave us a taste of what a colder track will be like for race day. I’m really happy ‘Guido’ (Dean Antonelli) and John Medlen were able to get the car to go down the track and get some data. It’s going to be crazy. Bring jackets if you’re coming, but if you’re watching on FOX Sports at home, it’s going to be a crazy race day and hopefully we can outlast everybody.”

Driver of the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Qualified: No. 3 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 12 J.R. Todd

The Results:
Q1: No Time (NHRA Timing System Issue)
Q2: 3.958 E.T. at 330.31 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.959 E.T. at 326.24 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Four

Matt Hagan nhra

Matt Hagan

“We have a great race car and we’ve been more successful getting down a tricky Bristol race track than a lot of other guys and gals out here. It’s very tricky in both lanes. We’re used to coming here in June when it’s hot and sticky and not this cool out. This track has a lot of bumps, and this Hellcat has been bumping around out there like a roller coaster. I’m confident in Dickie Venables and this team, and I know they’ll put together a great package to be able to go some rounds. We start from the No. 3 spot and that’s great. I’m excited about it. We have Jason Johnson and the entire Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage crew here supporting us, and we want to put on a heck of a show for them and these great Thunder Valley fans and turn on some win lights.”

Established in 1998 as a single-car Top Fuel team, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) has grown to become the winningest organization in NHRA Drag Racing history, and further cemented its position as one of motorsports’ elite teams when it surpassed the ‘350 wins’ milestone during the 2020 season. DSR owns 18 world championships in three different NHRA categories, and including hall-of-fame team owner Don Schumacher’s five NHRA Funny Car triumphs from the 1970s, DSR has been successful in capturing 366 national event victories overall.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR fields four professional teams competing in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Three-time world champion Antron Brown, and double-duty driver Leah Pruett headline DSR’s Top Fuel dragster team. DSR’s two Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars are driven by 2016 Funny Car world champion Ron Capps, and Matt Hagan, who earned his third NHRA series title in 2020.

DSR also campaigns three entries in the NHRA Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown Series. The trio of DSR Dodge Drag Paks is piloted by Pruett, the 2018 series champion, former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk, and David Davies who made his FSS debut in 2021.

Follow Don Schumacher Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter and Instagram at@shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

Photo Credit: Auto Imagery via Don Schumacher Racing, Driver photos: NHRA