National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Drag Racing Series teams in four professional classes and nine sportsman categories are all revved up and ready to drive into the Mopar® Express Lane Midwest Nationals Presented by Pennzoil at the World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis, Missouri, on Oct. 2-4.
Just a short drive from the famed Gateway Arch, the drag strip held its inaugural NHRA national event in 1997, while this 2020 edition marks its first year under the Mopar Express Lane sponsorship banner.
The venue will feature the familiar blue, white and yellow Mopar Express Lane signage associated with speedy in-and-out quality, factory-backed service by the certified technicians that keep customer vehicles in tip-top shape while providing everything from convenient oil changes to complimentary multi-point check-ups.
In addition to the non-stop racing action on the drag strip, those attending will be able to watch teams at work in the pits and are also invited to visit the Mopar and Dodge//SRT® displays in the midway where production vehicle offerings will be showcased.
This weekend’s support of the Midwest Nationals marks the second of four title event commitments by Mopar and Dodge//SRT brands of NHRA national events on the reconstructed 2020 calendar:
● Aug. 6-9: Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals Presented by Pennzoil – Indianapolis, Indiana
● Oct. 2-4: Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals Presented by Pennzoil – Madison, Illinois
● Oct. 23-25: Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented By Pennzoil – Houston, Texas (rescheduled from the spring date)
● Oct. 30-Nov. 1: Dodge NHRA Nationals – Las Vegas, Nevada
The Mopar Express Lane Midwest Nationals Presented by Pennzoil is the first of the final four national events left to contest the 2020 season and could be the gateway to a championship run for one of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars. A four-way battle for the Funny Car world championship is being fought amongst the HEMI®-powered teammates, with Jack Beckman leading the charge and Matt Hagan right on his bumper with a slim four-point deficit, while Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps remain within just a few car lengths out of the top spot.
While they jostle for position atop the leaderboard, the DSR Funny Car foursome will also be looking to extend their team’s current streak of consecutive national event wins to a record 11 victories. Each driver has contributed at least one Wally trophy to the string of 10 wins that dates back to October 2019. The DSR team previously set the win streak record at 10 races during the 2017 season with the same driver lineup.
Capps has taken four Wallys home from St. Louis (1997, 2005, 2007, 2017) and Beckman has two (2012, 2016), while both Hagan and Johnson will be looking to earn their first wins at the venue.
Hagan will park the red, black and chrome Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye-themed Funny Car that he has been running since July to return to the World Wide Technology Raceway drag strip aboard his familiar Mopar HEMI-powered machine.
Leah Pruett will also return to her blue and white Mopar Top Fuel Dragster as she looks for any opportunity to gain some traction in the Top Fuel championship, where she sits in third place within two rounds of points leader Steve Torrence and second-place contender Doug Kalitta. Pruett knows a breakthrough win is within sight after advancing to at least a semifinal appearance or better in her last four attempts.
Pruett is also looking to turn on some win lights in Factory Stock Showdown competition aboard her Mopar Drag Pak, along with teammate Mark Pawuk and his Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak. This will be the third of six events on the revised season schedule.
Two NHRA nitro qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:30 and 5 p.m. ET on Sat., Oct. 3, with highlights to be aired on FS1 later that night from 10-11 p.m. ET and also on Sun., Oct. 4 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET. Elimination rounds for the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals Presented by Pennzoil are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Sun., Oct. 4, with the television broadcast on FS1 beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET featuring live coverage of the final round.