Coming off a Funny Car event win last weekend at Indianapolis, Don Schumacher Racing’s (DSR) contingent of Mopar® Dodge SRT®-sponsored entries came back firing on all cylinders to earn a pair of No. 2 qualifying positions at the Lucas Oil NHRA Summmernationals, as National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competition returns to the “Crossroads of America” as part of the new rescheduled season plan.
DSR Top Fuel pilot Leah Pruett showed off a new demon-red Hellcat Redeye paint-scheme by putting her Mopar Dodge Charger SRT second on the Top-Fuel eliminations ladder, while Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. came close to repeating his top qualifying effort from last week, eventually settling into the No. 2 spot going into Sunday’s competition.
Johnson Jr.’s second qualifying run of 4.017 seconds at 300.86 mph took him to the top of the timing sheets, and while it looked like he might repeat last week’s performance as top qualifier, Bob Tasca bumped the MD Anderson Dodge from the No. 1 spot later in the session. As No.2 qualifier, Johnson Jr. will face Bob Bode as his first round opponent.
DSR teammates Ron Capps and Jack Beckman, winner of the 2020 season opening event, both secured lane choice for their opening rounds of eliminations with their No. 4 and No. 6 positions respectively in qualifying. Beckman will see Chad Green in first round action.
Capps, who was second quickest in the first qualifying session, will be paired up with DSR teammate Matt Hagan, winner of last week’s E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals. With the shortening of qualifying to just two sessions with the new season schedule, Hagan had little room for error to make the field after a difficult first run, but safely put his new-look Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye in the show on his final pass no put him .
Top Fuel No.2 qualifier Pruett earned bonus points for her Mopar Dodge SRT dragster by posting runs that put her in the top-three on the timing sheets in both sessions. She’ll see Lex Joon in the first round of eliminations.
Pruett will have two opportunities to fight for a Wally on Sunday as she pulls double duty this weekend by getting back into her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak for Factory Stock Showdown action.
Factory Stock Showdown
The SAMTech.edu NHRA Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) class took to the track for the first time this 2020 season with Pruett, the 2018 champion in the category, and Mark Pawuk get behind the wheel of their Don Schumacher Motorsports-prepared Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Paks. Both drivers return aboard the same factory-built vehicles with which they finished the 2019 season (at Dallas), when Pruett qualified second and reached the final while Pawuk qualified ninth.
Looking to build off those results, the pair both qualified their Mopar muscle cars for Sunday eliminations. Pawuk qualified 12th on the strength of his first run at 8.078 sec/170.28 mph and will face no. 5 qualifier Arthur Kohn.
Pruett’s second elapsed time run of 8.146 sec. /168.32 mph put her 16th on the eliminations ladder and will see her matched up with No. 1 qualifier Chris Holbrook. Elimination rounds at the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals begin at 9:45 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, July 19, while television coverage will air starting at 12 p.m. (ET) on the FOX national broadcast network and will include LIVE final elimination round action.