COMMERCE, Ga. (May 17, 2015) – Leah Pritchett, after her best career qualifying performance Saturday, advanced to her first Top Fuel final round appearance Sunday with the Gumout dragster at Atlanta Dragway in the 35th annual Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals drag races.
Pritchett, 26, took the 10,000-horsepower Gumout dragster to third in qualifying Saturday for her best showing in the Top Fuel division. The California native then returned Sunday to make an impressive trek through the tough 16-driver Top Fuel field before losing in the final to former NHRA Mello Yello Series champion Antron Brown.
Now residing in Avon, Ind., Pritchett opened her Sunday racing by clocking 3.805 seconds and 317.64 miles per hour to defeat drag racing legend Chris Karamesines. Leah scored a second round victory over J.R. Todd with another strong 3.813-second reading at 319.29 m.p.h.
Pritchett, a two-time semi-finalist in the Top Fuel ranks, then upset three-time NHRA Mello Yello Series champion Larry Dixon in the semi-finals with a 3.936-second victory, as the former Heritage Funny Car world champion advanced to the final round and a match-up with Brown.
“It was an incredible run through the Top Fuel field today,” said Pritchett. “I even got my husband, Gary (a crew member on Steve Torrence’s Top Fuel team), to help me before the final round. Gary helped me pack the parachute and mix the fuel today. Everything worked well for the Dote Racing team and the Gumout dragster. It turned into a one-lane (right) track at the end and Antron had the right lane. We tried to stay with him but we hazed the rear tires at the 330-foot mark. Overall, it was a great showing with a little one-car team against the big squads.”
Pritchett lost to Brown’s 3.887 seconds in the Southern Nationals Top Fuel final in seeking her first NHRA national event in the sport’s top division. Leah has three NHRA national titles in the ProMod category.
“It was a tricky track with the final round having a 126-degree track temperature,” she said. “So it was tough going against Antron who had the better lane. But everything worked well up until that point of the day. You needed a ‘hot track’ setup here and you might in Topeka next week too. I’m anxious to get the Gumout dragster back at the track after this weekend.”