Main event run is shortened for Gumout’s Top Fuel dragster driver
PAHRUMP, Nev. (Oct. 11, 2015) – Leah Pritchett’s road racing debut proved to be a great experience for the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel dragster driver despite a shortened main event this weekend at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Resort Ranch and Country Club during the VARA Racing "Shootout at the Ranch."
The runner-up at this year’s NHRA Southern Nationals drag races had a smooth transition from her 325-miles per hour, nitro-burning dragster to the open-wheel vintage Formula Ford racer at the Nevada racing facility. Pritchett improved throughout the weekend in the 1979 Gumout Van Dieman racer after impressive practice rounds Friday at the 3.4-mile, 30-turn permanent road circuit.
After qualifying for a fourth row start, Pritchett’s road racing feature was cut short with a car issue. The 27-year-old California native had to start from pit lane in the 30-minute main event. Despite taking the green flag in last position, Leah quickly gained three positions and looked to be comfortable behind the wheel of the open-wheeler.
Unfortunately, Pritchett was forced to park her Formula Ford racer early in the event. After such a promising start, the Avon, Ind., driver had to watch from the pit area for the rest of the Formula Ford Event.
“My first official open-wheel race is in the books,” said Leah. “But wasn’t without some adversity and a less than desired result. A car issue resulting in me missing the rolling start. We got the car fired and I had to begin from pit lane while the field took the green at over 100mph, leaving me to hit the track from the back of the field. But I still wanted to run the race and gain experience.
“I passed three cars in the first lap, but our Formula Ford had a problem later and I couldn’t finish the race. You gotta love racecars sometimes. But overall, I had a great experience in working with a variety of nice people who really helped me with the transition to road racing. While we didn’t finish as we wanted, I would love to give it a try in the near future again.”
Pritchett, driving for Dote Racing, enjoyed her career best Top Fuel qualifying performance recently at Maple Grove Raceway by take the second position in the NHRA Keystone Nationals.
Leah will return to Nevada with her Gumout Top Fuel dragster at the NHRA Toyota Nationals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway “Strip” on Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Qualifications are scheduled Friday (Oct. 30) and Saturday (Oct. 31) with final eliminations set for Sunday (Nov. 1).
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Tom Blattler, Sport Dimensions, Inc., 317-525-5692
Kinnon Marshall, Sport Dimensions, Inc., 805-701-1216