Female Racer Records 3.78 Seconds but Loses 1st Round to Larry Dixon
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 24, 2015) – Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Kansas Nationals ended much too early for female Top Fuel dragster driver Leah Pritchett.
The popular 26-year-old California native had a good Saturday qualifying effort and started eighth in the first round of eliminations at Heartland Park.
Unfortunately, Pritchett’s excellent qualifying performance and a strong first round showing didn’t help the driver of the Gumout Top Fuel dragster Sunday.
As the first drivers on the track in Sunday morning eliminations, Pritchett and three-time NHRA Mello Yello Series champion Larry Dixon made for a tremendous match-up with their respective 10,000-horsepower, nitro-burning machines. Pritchett had defeated Dixon the previous week in the semi-finals at Atlanta Dragway but Dixon is a seasoned veteran and tough off the line.
In a sensational side-by-side race that had the crowd on its feet, Dixon clocked a 3.767 seconds to Pritchett’s 3.787 reading in the first round. Dixon went on to advance to the final round Sunday where he lost to Richie Crampton.
“A close loss today to Larry has a roller coaster of emotions,” said Pritchett after the race. “We have a great car with talented people running our Gumout program for Dote Racing. But today we just didn’t have enough for Larry. Being the first pair of Top Fuel dragsters out in the morning after hours of rain delay really added to the suspense of race day.”
Despite the first round loss, Pritchett and the Dote Racing squad is looking forward to the next event at Englishtown, N.J., on June 5-7 in the NHRA Toyota Summernationals.
“There is nothing to be ashamed about here at Topeka,” said Pritchett. “We ran well but just got beat by a quicker car today. We will keep our heads held high and march on to Englishtown in two weeks.”
Pritchett and the Gumout machine scored a runner-up finish last week at Atlanta Dragway. It was Pritchett’s first career final round appearance in the Top Fuel ranks.