By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Leah Pritchett, the pilot of the FireAde/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, snapped a 13-race winless streak for Don Schumacher Racing’s Top Fuel dragsters to win a race, dating back to last season. She won the NHRA Southern Nationals on Sunday at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.
Pritchett defeated Blake Alexander in the final round. Pritchett went 3.874 at 322.42 mph to get the Wally, while Alexander went -0.006 red.
“We were racing one round at a time,” Pritchett stated. “The conditions out there were varying all weekend long and that’s why my hats and kudos go off to Todd Okuhara [crew chief] for finding what was right and wrong and adjusting to it. Yeah, you want to win every race, but this one was very special in a lot of ways.”
This was Alexander’s first final round appearance in his Top Fuel career. In addition, Alexander reached the final round in his team owner Bob Vandergriff’s home track.
Alexander became the 28th driver to be in a Top Fuel and Funny Car final round. Plus, Pritchett driven for Vandergriff Racing before it folded a few years back when Bob Vandergriff lost his close friend and sponsor, costing Pritchett a ride before she would eventually find a ride with DSR.
The final round race was the first time these two drivers faced each other in Sunday eliminations. Despite Alexander going red, Pritchett launched hard off the line, then went into the groove down the track.
This is her first win of 2018. It is also her sixth career win.
Prior to Pritchett’s win, Pritchett was the last Don Schumacher Racing Top Fuel driver to win a national event, as she won at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn. Pritchett went 3.682 at 328.06 mph to defeat her teammate, Antron Brown, who went 4.001 at 246.35 mph.
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