Leah Pritchett is a fighter.
After losing what was her first full-time ride in drag racing on April 11, the Avon, Ind.-based driver vowed with every bit of her inner strength she'd be back.
On Wednesday, she proved this wasn't an idle threat.
Pritchett will compete this weekend at the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, N.C.
“It has been a whirlwind of a week," Pritchett said. “This will also buy me a bit more time to work on sufficient funding for the rest of the season to compete with a readily available team.”
A week earlier an unemployed Pritchett proclaimed, "I'm still on the gas like never before. I don't know how big my tank is, or how much fuel is in it. But I do know it's a lot. It's going to run for a long time."
This weekend, Pritchett will run in a dragster fielded by the Lagana Family with sponsorship from FireAde 2000, Boninfante Friction, and Aerodine Composites.
"Having partners able to come in the clutch at the last moment enables me to enter one more race at this time, and will help me stay relevant in the NHRA Mello Yello Series Championship Point standings,” added Pritchett.
Pritchett has climbed the ladder in NHRA Mello Yello Series Drag Racing starting with Junior Dragster before advancing into a Nostalgia Funny Car, where she won an NHRA Heritage Series title. She briefly drove a fuel Funny Car before running a season in Pro Modified.
Pritchett moved over into Top Fuel where she drove for the Dote Racing team. In January, she inked a deal to drive a Quaker State-sponsored dragster for BVR.
Pritchett scored her first career Top Fuel victory in February, winning the CARQUEST NHRA Nationals title at Wild Horse Motorsports Park located outside of Phoenix.
Veteran tuner John Stewart will serve as her crew chief this weekend, with a few of her former crewmen from the BVR team pitching in.
Dom Lagana initially was to drive his family-owned dragster, but he was glad to step aside for Pritchett and this one-race deal.
“It’s pretty cool,” Lagana said. “It’s an honor for us to have a recent event winner, and points chaser to drive the car. Leah and Brittany (Force), in my eyes, are the most popular drivers right now in NHRA, so to be able to keep her (Pritchett) out there for a race is pretty cool.”
Bobby Bennett | foxsports.com | April 20, 2016