Leah Pritchett NEWS
Phoenix Top Fuel winner Leah Pritchett to drive second race for DSR this weekend in Summernationals at Englishtown
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 8, 2016) - Leah Pritchett will compete in her second race with Don Schumacher Racing this weekend in the 47th annual NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.
Pritchett, who turned 28 two weeks ago, will drive the FireAde Top Fuel dragster that will be the fourth dragster and eighth team entered by DSR in the ninth event of the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
There were less than two weeks to prepare for her inaugural race with DSR in mid-May at Atlanta after Don Schumacher and FireAde owner Ron Thames agreed to field Pritchett in at least four races this year with the first at Atlanta, where Thames' Fire Service Plus Inc. and its FireAde 2000 personal fire suppression system is manufactured.
"It was amazing how hard everyone at DSR worked to make the Atlanta race happen," said Pritchett, who won this year's second Mello Yello event and arrives at Englishtown ranked 10th in Top Fuel points despite missing one race.
"Then, Don and Ron added Englishtown and our FireAde crew hasn't stopped working to get us ready for Englishtown," she said.
Mike Guger and Joe Barlam, who were Pritchett's crew chiefs to start the year with Bob Vandergriff Racing, remain with her and have completed outfitting the team's two new 18-wheel transporter rigs for the trip to Englishtown that gives the FireAde team newest 53-foot technical trailers in DSR's 20-truck fleet.
"Mike and Joe have been great," she said. "We've been using some of our old crew and all the DSR crew chiefs have been a huge help."
Pritchett drove last weekend for the independent Lagana Family Racing team at Epping, N.H. She qualified 10th in Top Fuel and advanced to the quarterfinals where she lost to DSR teammate and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher's U.S. Army team despite having a near perfect reaction time of 0.019 seconds at the starting line.
"We had a phenomenal weekend," she of her Lagana team. "We got down the track all four times in qualifying then beat Clay Millican in the first round. We both smoked the tires but I pedaled it and got it to hook up first.
"We only had 45 minutes to get the car ready for the next run against my new DSR teammate, Tony Schumacher. We were hustling and the last ones to get up to the line. I nailed it on the starting line and was ahead for most of the run, he caught me near the finish line."
Pritchett, a native of Redlands, Calif., and graduate of Cal State Santa Barbara, won her first Top Fuel title on Feb. 28, 2016, near Phoenix and a few weeks later marked a personal-best speed of 329.19 mph in a 10,000-horsepower, nitro-fueled dragster.
This was to be the year she had dreamed of and dedicated her life to. It was announced after the previous season that she would join Bob Vandergriff Racing's two-car team with funding for the entire season.
Pritchett, with Guger and Barlam, showed championship potential when they won the Top Fuel title at Phoenix.
But tragedy struck Vandergriff not long after the big win when his longtime friend and primary sponsor, Josh Comstock, died in his sleep at age 46 in April. That led Vandergriff to retire from the sport to spend more time at home with his family. It led to the team shutting down, and Pritchett's dream of running a full season was in jeopardy.
She also will compete for DSR with FireAde at least two more Mello Yello events: June 17-19 at Bristol, Tenn., and the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend near Indianapolis, which is the biggest NHRA race of the year.
She is the fourth woman to drive for Schumacher since opening DSR in 1998. Two of the previous women 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.
LEAH PRITCHETT: FireAde Last event (June 6 with Lagana Racing), Epping, N.H.: Qualified No. 10, lost in second round to Tony Schumacher
A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 4, lost in first round to Dave Connolly
Career at Englishtown: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 10th 8 1 0 1 2 4 0 0 8-7
CAREER 55 1 1 4 8 35 0 6 23-48
Best Time, Speed: 3.736 sec. (2015, Englishtown), 329.19 mph (2016, Houston), (both with Bob Vandergriff Racing)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES TOP FUEL STANDINGS
(Official through Epping, N.H., after 9 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS)
1. Doug Kalitta (3) 785 ----
2. ANTRON BROWN (2) 739 -46
3. Steve Torrence (1) 658 -127
4. Brittany Force (2) 623 -162
5. TONY SCHUMACHER 483 -302
6. Clay Millican 475 -310
7. JR Todd 473 -312
8. Richie Crampton 450 -335
9. SHAWN LANGDON 399 -386
10. LEAH PRITCHETT (1) 360 -425
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 pro¬duct 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 273 NHRA national event titles and 14 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing
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