Leah Pritchett NEWS
DSR to introduce fourth Top Fueler at upcoming Atlanta race with FireAde supporting 2016 Mello Yello winner Leah Pritchett
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 4, 2016) – Leah Pritchett will compete in the next NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in 10 days near Atlanta as the fourth woman to drive for Don Schumacher Racing when she pilots the FireAde Top Fuel Dragster.
It’s been a whirlwind year for the winner of the NHRA Top Fuel event title at this year’s second race when she joins the biggest team in professional drag racing and drives a fourth Top Fuel dragster that will be the eighth nitro team for DSR, which has won 14 NHRA world championships and 269 Mello Yello titles.
This development brings her nitro career full circle. The 27-year-old native of Redlands, Calif., who lives in Avon, Ind., earned her nitro Funny Car license with DSR eight years ago.
“I am thrilled to finally have Leah in the seat of a DSR racecar,” DSR owner and drag racing pioneer Don Schumacher said of the California State University of San Bernardino graduate.
“She showed me a lot when she tested with us and earned her NHRA license. But she is much more than a very good driver; she is an excellent marketer and outstanding representative of our sport.”
Pritchett, who is ranked eighth in Mello Yello points, also will drive DSR’s FireAde dragster in the prestigious U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend near Indianapolis. She is working with Schumacher to secure additional marketing partners to allow her to run a full 2016 schedule.
FireAde provides the world’s most advanced, innovative and environmental friendly firefighting, tank cleaning and dust control products. FireAde, a product of Fire Service Plus Inc., is based in Fayetteville, Ga., near Atlanta and was founded by chief executive officer Ron Thames.
“A huge thanks goes to Ron and FireAde for the belief they have in us and making this happen so we can keep racing,” Pritchett said.
After competing part-time in Top Fuel the past three years, she has ridden a 329-mph rollercoaster through this season’s first six Mello Yello races. She joined Bob Vandergriff Racing at the start of the season with a promise she would run the first full season of her career. But the unexpected death of Josh Comstock, 46, who was one of Vandergriff’s major sponsors led him to retire to spend more time with his family that led to the shutdown of BVR.
That decision was made after the race at Las Vegas but the perseverant Pritchett competed with a different team at the next Mello Yello event near Charlotte and was able to get BVR to one more event last weekend near Houston where the team led by crew chiefs Mike Guger and Joe Barlam advanced to the semifinals and she recorded the fastest run of her career at 329.18 mph.
Veteran tuners Guger and Barlam will join Pritchett at Atlanta along with some members of her BVR team combined with veteran nitro technicians who are longtime DSR technicians.
“If you would have asked a couple of weeks ago if I’d being running Atlanta I wouldn’t have bet too much on that happening,” Pritchett said. “When the door shut on all of us it was not a fend-for-yourself moment. Our goal was to continue to race together and because of that we were able to go to Atlanta.
“These last couple weeks with the support from so many people who have rallied around my team to keep my dream going has just been phenomenal.”
Schumacher decided it was time to bring out a fourth Top Fueler, initially as a part-time program, and make Pritchett his four female driver since opening DSR in 1998. Two of the previous woman to drive for DSR went on to win multiple NHRA world championships: Erica Enders in Pro Stock and Angelle Sampey in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Melanie Troxel won two Top Fuel titles for DSR.
“What we accomplished in Houston gives us an extra boost of confidence,” Pritchett said of her semifinals finish.
“It’s ironic that it comes full circle for me that I will be driving for Don Schumacher in a Mello Yello race. He was the first one to see my potential when I was a teenager and helped me get my first fuel license.
“To be able to run under his umbrella is a very proud moment for me.”
Fire Service Plus Inc. was established in 1998 by Ron Thames, president and chief executive officer. Since 1984, Thames’ products continue to revolutionize and change the firefighting industry. He has been awarded domestic and international patents and served on the U.S. President's small business council in an advisory capacity.
Fire Service Plus is a recognized global leader that consistently surpasses industry standards by manufacturing the most advanced, innovative and environmental friendly firefighting, tank cleaning and dust control products. These groundbreaking products have 30 years of pioneering research and development combined.
Our products, under strict quality controls are manufactured at the corporate facilities located in Fayetteville, Ga. Fire Service Plus utilizes cutting-edge chemistry including trademarked Green Agent Technology™ to deliver superior results. Fire Service Plus is a family owned company that provides personal attention to our worldwide customers.
Fire Service Plus supports a worldwide network of dealers with our state-of-the art-offices and manufacturing facility. This advanced 22,000-square-foot facility is capable of producing more than 24,000 gallons of finished product daily. The storage capacity and inventory is in excess of 100,000 gallons. This inventory coupled with a 24-hour emergency response guarantees 100% customer support.
Don’t fight fires … extinguish them!
ABOUT DON SCHUMACHER RACING
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered near Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight professional NHRA teams in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the 2012 and 2015 NHRA Top Fuel world champion Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster driven by Antron Brown, the Red Fuel/Sandvik Coromant dragster driven by 2013 world champion Shawn Langdon and the FireAde dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; and in Funny Car, two-time world champion Matt Hagan in the Rocky Boots/Mopar Express Lane 2016 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.
DSR has won 269 NHRA national event titles and 14 world championships.
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