Tony Stewart Racing: Event Recap for the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals

Leah Pruett & Matt Hagan
Top Fuel | Funny Car
Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals
July 29-31 | Kent, Washington

Event Recap

Leah Pruett, driver of the Sparkling Ice +Caffeine Top Fuel Dragster:

● Earned No. 13 provisional qualifying position in Q1 on Friday (5.956 ET at 114.25 mph).

● Smoked the tires in Q2 on Saturday and dropped to the No. 15 qualifying position (6.465 ET at 104.78 mph).

● Secured No. 12 qualifying position in Q3 on Saturday (3.897 ET at 314.39 mph).

● Advanced to Semifinals on Sunday:

●  Round 1: 3.781 ET at 325.69 mph, defeated Antron Brown (3.796 ET at 320.81 mph).

●  Round 2: 3.818 ET at 322.42 mph, defeated Doug Kalitta (3.827 ET at 316.67 mph).

● Semifinal: 6.295 ET at 107.05 mph, lost to Brittany Force (3.823 ET at 325.61 mph).

● Currently sixth in the Top Fuel championship standings, 410 points behind leader Brittany Force.

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

● Earned No. 10 provisional qualifying position in Q1 on Friday (4.200 ET at 251.49 mph).

● Maintained No. 10 qualifying position in Q2 on Saturday (4.085 ET at 303.03 mph).

● Secured No. 10 qualifying position in Q3 on Saturday (4.03 ET at 311.20 mph).

● Eliminated following Round 1 on Sunday:

●  Round 1: 4.633 ET at 186.00 mph, lost to John Force (4.277 ET at 277.66 mph).

● Currently second in the Funny Car championship standings, 228 points behind leader Robert Hight.

Notes of Interest

● Pruett’s semifinal appearance maintained her sixth-place standing in the championship.

● Pruett and Brittany Force faced each other for the first time in eliminations this season. Despite losing to Force in the semifinal, Pruett holds a 9-6 overall record against Force.

● Hagan faced John Force in Round 1 of eliminations for the 17th time in his career. Hagan is 7-10 against Force in first-round meetings and 20-28 overall.

● At 138 degrees Fahrenheit, Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington, was home to the hottest track conditions the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series has endured this season.

● The Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals marked a home race for Preston, Washington-based Sparkling Ice. Pruett attended two meet-and-greets with Sparkling Ice employees at the track in addition to a fan meet-and-greet on Thursday at the Fred Meyer in nearby Maple Valley.

Leah Pruett, Driver of the Sparkling Ice +Caffeine Top Fuel Dragster

“This was one of the largest learning curves that we’ve had in a long time. We came out on the good side of things. Qualifying No. 12 wasn’t ideal, but a problem kept arising that would happen every two or three races. Saturday night before eliminations, this Sparkling Ice team spent about four hours dedicated to finding our out-of-control shaft issue, with an outlier we couldn’t put our finger on. By 11 p.m., we found a very large issue, so we addressed it going into raceday with things unknown. We were able to put down a solid .78 run with lane choice for the second round. We have a better performing racecar than we we’ve had all year even though we didn’t make it to the finals. There was a huge piece of the puzzle that was missing and we found it here in Seattle. It’s very difficult to do something like that on the Western Swing, but we did, so we have more confidence than ever going into finalizing our spot in the top-10 and keeping the points going. I did not do my best job in the semifinal. We put on a different blower and the car ended up being better than we thought it was, so we were overpowered. We didn’t finish the best way we wanted to, but everyone on the team has a great mindset. We had a great Western Swing and we only missed running in three rounds. Our parts attrition has been fantastic and attitudes are great. I personally learned a lot of dynamics of doing a great job on the tree. I didn’t get to fully use some of the apparatuses I have in the toolbox to practice on the road, so I’ll be spending these next two weeks dialing myself back in. We have a racecar that’s performing better than ever now and will be more consistent. It makes the drive home for the team even better when you’ve had a successful Swing like this.”

Matt Hagan, Driver of the Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car

“The Western Swing wasn’t very kind to us. It was tough having three first-round losses in a row. I think we have some problems with our fuel management system, where we are dropping cylinders. That’s something that’s uncommon for us, so we have to use this next week off to take a look at some things. We’ll look at what we’ve changed from the beginning of the season to now and go back to where the car is running on all eight cylinders again. We have to get back on top of where we were and how we were doing it. Our Dodge Power Brokers crew wants to perform well in qualifying to set us up for a great day on Sunday. The car had a cylinder out at the step and it was one of those rounds that could’ve gone either way and today, things didn’t go our way. I always love racing John (Force). He’s a character and I like getting up on the wheel for him because I get excited to race him. He’s one of those guys you just want to beat because he’s John Force. I’m looking forward to the week off to see my family and get back to the farm. The week off will allow us to hit the reset button and get focused to race in Topeka.”

Next Up

The next event on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule is the Menards NHRA Nationals Presented by PetArmor Aug. 12-14 at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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