By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Papa Johns Top Fuel dragster pilot Leah Pritchett swept the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn. She set the quickest pass on Friday night at The Zoo.
She then picked up her fourth win of the season at the facility. She defeated her teammate Antron Brown in the final round.
Pritchett went 3.682 at 328.06 mph to get the Wally over Brown’s 4.001 at 246.35 mph in his Matco Tools dragster.
“Don Schumacher has given me the best team, in my opinion,” she said. “We keep continuing to prove that. I really like that these numbers and their work ethic and the consistency really backs it up when I say we have the best team because we have the best hot rod. We’re going to enjoy this win.”
Prior to this meeting, Brown held a 10-6 advance in previous rounds. This is the first-time that Pritchett has defeated Brown in the final round, as he now leads 2-1.
The three-time world champion had the starting line advantage. However, by the time the two cars reached by 330 feet marker, Pritchett had the lead and never gave it up over the course of the rest of the race.
Brown had problems as he hazed the tires early. This is Pritchett’s fifth win of her career.
“In order to be a champion someday, you’ve got to beat the champion,” she said. “We’re on our way, but we have a lot of work to continue doing. Antron is by far the measuring stick right now, and he always has been for me.”
With her four wins this season, she now ties NHRA legend Shirley Muldowney for the most nitro wins by a woman. She has seven races left in the season to break the tie.
“That’s something to be incredibly proud of,” she said. “She was an incredible racer. She was as tough as nails. It’s awesome to tie her.”
In addition, Pritchett, along with Funny Car winner Alexis DeJoria, are the first women to sweep the nitro class at an event.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” Pritchett said. “Alexis and I go back a long ways. I felt this is our race to win, this is our time to double-up. One of her crew members is the brother of one of my crew members, so it’s a double-up inside the family.”
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