By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
For the second straight year, Leah Pritchett won the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz. Like last year, Pritchett had to defeat Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster pilot Brittany Force to get the Wally.
This is Pritchett’s third career win – and the second at this facility. The other came two weeks ago at the 57th annual National Hot Rod Association’s Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif.
Pritchett powered her Papa John’s Pizza to a 3.705 at 328.22 mph pass. Force went 3.704 at 330.39 mph.
“I’m learning to do what it takes to get into that extreme, severe mindset of what it takes to do what we’re doing,” Pritchett said. “Honestly, I’m trying to keep up with my team for how well they’re doing and make them proud of me has a driver and do the job that is expected of a Don Schumacher racing team and I think we’re doing pretty okay with that.
“We’re blessed with the equipment and the talent capabilities of the people and everyone that it takes to make it. I’m happy I can hold up my end of the bargain.”
With the win, Pritchett becomes the first Top Fuel pilot to win back-to-back races since Gary Scelzi in 1997. To go along with the win, she was the event’s No. 1 qualifier and set a national record with a 3.658 pass during Friday’s qualifying session.
Following the first-round bye, Pritchett went through Clay Millican and Shawn Reed, before Force to add to her trophy case.