Leah Pruett rode her Dodge Power Brokers dragster from the No. 3 qualifying position to the winner’s circle past a packed house at Bandimere Speedway to claim Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) inaugural Top Fuel Wally Trophy at the 42nd Annual Dodge Power Brokers National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mile-High Nationals.
“Congratulations to Leah Pruett on propelling her Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel dragster to its 10th career win and Tony Stewart Racing’s first Top Fuel win at our showpiece event,” said Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis. “Leah’s win today demonstrates the hard work, dedication and tenacity she and her team put into every race, the type of performance that Dodge//SRT is known for and what enthusiasts can expect from Dodge. Power Brokers and Direct Connection.”
Pruett’s victory, his second (2018) on the scenic dragstrip known as Thunder Mountain, was his first with his new team and solidified his place in the Top Fuel Top-10 as he rose from tenth to sixth place. in the championship standings.
Pruett began his run to conquer the mountain from third on the elimination ladder and a solid first-round win over No. 14 seed Antron Brown. She then turned on the victory lights in the quarter-finals after she and No. 6 qualifier Clay Millican scrambled the tires halfway through.
In the semis, Pruett had a lightning-fast 0.015 second reaction time against No. 2 qualifier Justin Ashley en route to recording his fastest run of the day with an elapsed time of 3.879 seconds at 317.94 mph to qualify for his first elimination final this season and the 19th of his career.
What could have been a thrilling final-round battle against No. 12 seed Shawn Langdon turned into a solo race after his opponent’s dragster crashed out of burnout. Pruett, however, chose to demonstrate the performance of his Dodge Power Broker dragster and show fans how far the team has come this year with an elapsed time of 3.884 seconds at 316.38 mph to leave no doubt about the his team’s ability to win.
“That’s it,” Pruett said of the Wally Trophy she held in her arms. “This being the Dodge Power Brokers National Championships (MILe-High), we’ve been trading this Dodge power all week. My crew was impeccable throughout the weekend and couldn’t be more proud to do so in front of those Denver fans. I will say two things; this view never gets old. Also, this is the first Top Fuel win for Tony Stewart Racing and it will never get old either.
TSR Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, who scored three wins this season aboard the Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat, entered the weekend looking to repeat his 2021 performance at Bandimere Speedway when he is rose from the No. 1 qualifying position to his coveted first victory at the Dodge Power Brokers Mile-High Nationals. The defending winner looked set to do so after completing three of four qualifying sessions en route to the No. 1 qualifying position for the second straight year and his fourth of the season.
In the first round of eliminations, Hagan lined up his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat next to No. 14 seed Jack Wyatt and was the first off the starting line when his car began to lose traction. As he tried to pedal, he couldn’t regain control quickly enough and saw his hopes of moving forward vanish in the smoke from the tires.
Despite the rare first-round loss, Hagan remains second in the Funny Car standings and within 95 points of rival Robert Hight who won the 2022 Dodge Power Brokers Mile-High Nationals event title.
After earning a spot in the top half of Funny Car’s elimination ladder in every event this season with his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Snap-On Tools, Cruz Pedregon had a little more difficulty at Thunder Mountain in qualifying and landed in ninth place to start his racing day. The two-time Funny Car event winner at the Dodge Power Brokers Mile-High Nationals lined up next to No. 6 seed JR Todd for his opening lap pairing, but had a cylinder that put end his day prematurely. Pedregon drops a spot to sixth in the Funny Car Points Battle with five more events remaining before the start of the ‘Countdown to the Championship’ playoff series.
The next stops for the three back-to-back NHRA “western swing” events are at Sonoma Raceway in California for the Sonoma Nationals July 22-24, then Pacific Raceways for the Northwest Nationals near Seattle, Wash., July 29-31.
NHRA CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS:
After the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway
FUNNY CAR (season wins in brackets)
1. Height Robert 1050 (5)
2. Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat): 955 (3)
3. Ron Caps: 884 (2)
4. John Strength: 736
5. Bob Tasca III: 575
6. Cruz Pedregon (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat): 593
7. JR Todd: 563
8. Alexis DeJoria: 523
9. Tim Wilkerson: 488
10. Chad Green: 440
TOP FUEL (season wins in brackets)
1. Mike Salinas: 877 (3)
2. Breton Force: 867 (3)
3. Justin Ashley: 785 (2)
4. Steve Torrence: 744
5.Josh Hart: 509
6. Leah Pruett (Dodge Power Brokers): 540 (1)
7. Austin Prock: 538
8. Shawn Langdon: 529
9. Millican Clay: 519
10. Doug Kalitta: 492