Former champ Langdon tops Pritchett by 0.0016 seconds in closest race of the day
NORWALK, Ohio (July 5, 2015) – They say drag racing is a game of inches and female star Leah Pritchett found that out Sunday in the first round of eliminations in the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals.
Driving the Gumout “Solid Gold” Top Fuel dragster for Dote Racing, Pritchett was matched up against longtime rival and former NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon in the first race down the Summit Motorsports Park track surface Sunday morning.
The two drivers had competed against each other dating back to their Junior Dragster days in the Southern California competition in the 1990s. But Sunday, Pritchett, who qualified tenth, and Langdon, who qualified seventh, recorded the closest race of final eliminations.
Pritchett, runner-up earlier this year at the Southern Nationals, posted her best time of the weekend with 3.790 seconds at 324.05 miles per hour to Langdon’s 3.794 at 318.09. But Shawn’s reaction time of .055 to Leah’s .060 seconds made up the difference, by inches, to advance to the quarter-finals.
“The Top Fuel category is stout to say the least, but running against Shawn and the entire AJR team first round and first pair out in the ‘new’ track and air conditions for the weekend, required us to bring an A-plus game,” said Pritchett, who’ll compete next week in the Route 66 Nationals at Joliet, Ill. “The Dote Racing team delivered, with technically a faster car than Shawn’s. Drag racing is a numbers game and, with Shawn beating me off the line by .005 (.055 to .060) the margin of victory at the stripe was .001.”
Pritchett thought she had a strong run and great shot to upset Langdon in the first round.
“I honestly did not know who won until I saw his win light,” she said. “Once I left the line, I felt that had cut a decent light. The tires were staying hooked. I could tell we were on a good run, and most importantly I did not see Shawn but I heard him next me. That’s not a good feeling. I hate more than (anything) to lose on a hole shot and I could beat myself up over this. But instead, I am going to focus on what improvements I can make to prepare us for Joliet in just five days away. It’s only my second hole shot loss in my three years of driving in Top Fuel.”
Doug Kalitta won the Top Fuel title Sunday at Norwalk over Antron Brown, 3.823 to 3.918.
Qualifying starts Friday (July 10) in the Route 66 Nationals at 5:30 p.m. CDT.