Leah Pruett & Matt Hagan
Top Fuel | Funny Car
Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals
Sept. 23-25 | Charlotte, North Carolina

Event Recap

Leah Pruett, driver of the Code 3 Associates Top Fuel Dragster:

● Earned No. 8 provisional qualifying position in Q1 on Friday (3.758 ET at 316.82 mph).

● Earned No. 11 provisional qualifying position based off Friday’s Q1 run. In Q2 on Saturday, Pruett ran 4.446 ET at 178.50 mph.

● Secured No. 13 qualifying position in Q3 on Saturday (3.754 ET at 325.92 mph).

● Ran a 3.796 ET at 314.39 mph in Round 1 of eliminations on Sunday, lost to Mike Salinas (3.696 ET at 331.20 mph).

● Currently 10th in the Top Fuel championship standings, 178 points behind leader Justin Ashley.

Matt Hagan, driver of the Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car:

● Earned No. 2 provisional qualifying position in Q1 on Friday (3.861 ET at 329.99 mph).

● Maintained No. 2 provisional qualifying position after Q2 on Saturday (6.692 ET at 99.83 mph).

● Secured No. 2 qualifying position based off Friday’s Q1 run. In Q3 on Saturday, Hagan ran a 6.427 ET at 106.11 mph.

● Advanced to Semifinals on Sunday:

●  Round 1: 3.929 ET at 315.71 mph, defeated John Smith (4.369 ET at 217.70 mph).

●  Round 2: 10.423 ET at 77.63 mph in a bye.

● Semifinals: 3.893 ET at 334.01 mph, lost to Alexis DeJoria (3.887 ET at 332.02 mph).

● Currently third in the Funny Car championship standings, 60 points behind leader Robert Hight.

Notes of Interest

● Hagan improved upon his previous performance at Charlotte back on May 1 when he competed NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. In that event nearly five months ago, Hagan advanced to Round 2. In the Carolina Nationals, Hagan advanced to the semifinals.

● Hagan and DeJoria faced each other for the fifth time in eliminations this season and the first time at Charlotte. Despite losing to DeJoria in the semifinal, Hagan holds a 16-10 overall record against DeJoria.

● Code 3 Associates was represented on Pruett’s Top Fuel dragster at Charlotte during the Carolina Nationals. Code 3 Associates is a non-profit organization specializing in animal rescue and recovery in disaster areas, and the Colorado-based organization has response counties in Florida currently in the path of Hurricane Ian. Code 3 Associates has compiled a list of ways to prepare for a disaster and people can support their deployment to Florida by providing a donation here.

Leah Pruett, Driver of the Code 3 Associates Top Fuel Dragster

“I wish we had better results to report, but I think the biggest frustration for us other than not going past the first round was that this Code 3 Associates team made bigger moves to the racecar than we’ve made all year. We asked it to have quicker speed earlier and it was just extremely nonresponsive. We went to some extreme levels from a tune-up standpoint. We were the most tuned-up we’ve been all season long. It’s not necessarily that the weather conditions called for that. We needed to find our ground zero again. We dropped a hole first round 250 feet out. It didn’t quite give us a fighting chance against (Mike) Salinas because he really threw down with the .69. For us, we’ve had to recalibrate. You would think over the course of the season, you would just continue to build on what you have. For us, there’s been a horsepower thief somewhere running rampant through our pit. Our parts look great, but the car hasn’t been responsive. The highlight is finally in the first round, we did make some mile-an-hour moves early, which we were looking for. We are a full orbit away from where we need to be. We don’t have the understanding quite yet of why, but we know what the car is asking for. The car is asking to be shoved and we’re going to have to find where that cliff is and shove it off the cliff. Our parts came back healthy, even having a cylinder out, which shows we can put some more tune-up in it. Those have been our efforts. Going into St. Louis, it’s literally going to be everything we have, and parts being ready for everything that they can give.”

Matt Hagan, Driver of the Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car

“All in all, we had a pretty decent weekend. We were the No. 2 qualifier, which helped being on the top side of the ladder and gave us the bye after Round 1 into the semifinals. Unfortunately, we’re on the back side of good drag racing lately and that was the case today going up against Alexis (DeJoria). We came up a little short in Indy and here in Charlotte. It stinks because I know we’re running good. It always comes down to the last race in the Countdown. We need to just keep digging hard and being aggressive going down the racetrack. We can always look back and say we should’ve done something differently, but you go up there thinking you’re doing the right things and it just wasn’t quite enough today.”

Next Up

The next event on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule is the NHRA Midwest Nationals Sept. 30-Oct. 2 near St. Louis, Missouri. It is the third event in the Countdown to the Championship and the fourth-to-last race of the season.



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

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