Driver Leah Pritchett exploring new opportunities for 2016
MONROE, Ohio (Nov. 3, 2015) – Dote Racing, a competitive Top Fuel dragster team in the NHRA Mello Yello drag racing series since 2009, has announced today that the Ohio-based racing operation will take a hiatus from the sport in 2016.
In 2013, driver Leah Pritchett joined Dote Racing as the regular driver on the Top Fuel team and campaigned the majority of the 2014 and 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Series with Gumout as the primary sponsor.
In 2015, Pritchett and the Dote Racing team recorded their career best performances with a runner-up finish at the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., and qualifying second at the NHRA Keystone Nationals in Reading, Pa. In addition, Pritchett clocked her best elapsed time with the Dote Racing dragster at 3.73 seconds at Englishtown, N.J.
The Dote Family, a three-generation race team, started competing in the mid-80s with Lynn & Sue Dote purchasing a 1951 “Henry J” drag car. Mike Dote, the Dote’s son, and his wife, Connie, soon followed in his parent's footsteps in the straight line sport.
Mike, Connie and daughters, Camie and Joanna, began competing weekly. After fulfilling their bracket racing goals and building great family memories, the team decided to take their passion to the ultimate level, Top Fuel.
In 2009, the Dotes purchased a Top Fuel team and began competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Series.
“Our decision to take a hiatus from the sport comes on the heels of Gumout's decision to pursue their major marketing efforts in a different direction, outside of the NHRA,” said Mike Dote. “It is very difficult to walk away at this point, but ultimately we do not have the funds in place for a competitive 2016 season. We have made incredible progress on the track, and have Leah, one of the most talented and marketable drivers in the series at our wheel. It has been a tremendous experience for our whole family and the racing team to work with Gumout and the other ITW brands. We are proud to have raced at such a competitive level against some of the biggest and most accomplished names in drag racing. We want to thank everyone with our team, our sponsors, NHRA, Mello Yello and the outstanding NHRA fans.”
Pritchett, a 27-year-old California native, will be exploring new opportunities for the 2016 Mello Yello Season after impressive performances the past three years in Top Fuel.
“Working with the Dote Racing team has been a great experience for me, and I am beyond thankful to the Dote family for believing in me,” said Leah. “Mike, Connie, Doug (Kuch, crew chief), Rob (Flynn, tuner) and the entire team have been outstanding with me as a newcomer to Top Fuel three years ago. Beyond driving, I believe my responsibilities within Dote Racing have equipped me with an expanded skill set that will enable me to continue success on and off the track. This experience has been invaluable, and I wish them the best in the future. I am pursuing more drag racing opportunities including my continued work with Gumout. I’m very excited to see what the future holds for me in NHRA Mello Yello drag racing competition.”