This past weekend, both of the Dodge-sponsored NHRA Top Fuel teams won at the Texas Nationals, with Matt Hagan winning in the Funny Car class for the second event in a row while Leah Pruett took the big win in the Top Fuel Dragster class. With these two big wins, the Tony Stewart Racing Top Fuel have both moved into the top spot in the championship race with just two events left on the season.
Leah Pruett and her Mobil 1 Dodge//SRT dragster qualified in the 7th position, beating Shawn Langdon in the first round, Doug Kalitta in the second round, Clay Millican in the third round and Steve Torrence in the finals. What makes her win even more impressive is that she was not the quickest driver in the finals, at Torrence ran a 3.662 to Pruett’s 3.684, but thanks to a big advantage on the starting line (.055 to .082), Pruett took the holeshot win. This is Pruett’s second win of 2023.
Matt Hagan qualified in the 5th spot with his TSR American Rebel Dodge//SRT Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat funny car, beating Paul Lee in round one, Alex Laughlin in round 2, Tim Wilkerson in round 3 and John Force in the finals. In that final run against Force, Hagan trailed on the start (.054 to .062), but he ran a 3.883 at 332.25 while Force ran into problems, running a losing 6.818 at 94 miles per hour. This is Hagan’s 6th win on the season.
This also marks the first time that both of the Tony Stewart Racing Top Fuel drivers have won at the same event.
The Championship Race
With her second win on the season, Leah Pruett has driven her Mobil 1 Dodge//SRT dragster into the top spot in the championship race with just two races left on the season. She currently leads 2nd place driver Doug Kalitta by 4 points and 3rd place driver Steve Torrence by 13 points. With such a small gap to the 2nd and 3rd place drivers, these three will battle through the final two races for the 2023 Top Fuel Championship. 4th place driver Justin Ashley is now 108 points back, so he is still technically in contention, but he needs to win at least one, if not both of the last two events.
In the Funny Car group, Matt Hagan and his Dodge Charger hold a 36 point lead over 2nd place driver Bob Tasca III and his Ford Mustang. 3rd place driver Robert Hight and his Camaro are 69 points back and 4th place driver Ron Capps and his Toyota are 99 points back. Realistically, Hight and Capps will have a hard road ahead of them, closing gaps that big in two events, but it is possible. That being said, Hagan is in good shape to win the title by just going rounds at the final two events of the 2023 NHRA season.