While the four-wide format hadn’t been run at the Charlotte-area track since 2019, just a month had passed since the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals had yielded promising results for the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) team with Matt Hagan’s runner-up performance and Ron Capps semifinal finish. Pedregon, for his part, was looking to build and capitalize on his team’s steady improvement through the first three races of the 2021 season.
Hagan and his crew had their work cut out for them heading into eliminations after struggles in qualifying had the blue and white Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat starting from the No. 11 position. Never one to be deterred by a challenge, the reigning Funny Car world champion, came out fighting with a stout 3.936-second elapsed time pass to win the first elimination quad. That set up a second-round rematch with Pedregon and brought DeJoria and Tasca into the mix. While Hagan was quickest out of the gate, he saw his early lead erased by a mechanical setback and could only watch as Pedregon and DeJoria advanced past him and to the final quad.
For his part as the top qualified HEMI®-powered Dodge, Capps was looking to repeat his 2017 winning performance at this four-wide event from the No. 3 seeded position after earning that spot with the second quickest runs in both Saturday sessions and collecting four bonus points for his efforts. Aboard his chrome blue Pennzoil Synthetics NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Capps drove a solid 3.991 seconds/273.88 mph run with a 0.067-second reaction time, but despite Pedregon’s slower run, his opponent’s perfect reaction time put Capps third across the finish and ended his day prematurely.
In Top Fuel action, Leah Pruett was feeling pretty confident about her chances to perform well in eliminations after taking her white and blue Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel dragster to the No. 3 position in the opening qualifying session with a 3.718 second elapsed time run. That performance put her in the top half of the field for the 44th time in 50 opportunities, including the past seven events. In the opening Top Fuel quad against Antron Brown, Shawn Langdon, and Krista Baldwin, Pruett had a respectable start but was forced to abandon the run after issues surfaced early.
The NHRA’s 70th anniversary season continues with the next event set to take place this coming weekend, May 21st through the 23rd, near Houston, Texas, at the Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil, the first of five national events for which Mopar and Dodge//SRT share title sponsorship duties this season.